Scilly’s IFCA To Gather Data On Lobster Stocks

lobster potAn ambitious project to tag and track lobsters within a six mile radius of the islands will take place next month.

The islands’ Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority is working in partnership with their Cornish counterparts to record the growth and movement of the undersized shellfish.

The IFCA will commission commercial fishing vessels to try and tag as many lobsters as possible during a five-day window. 5000 tags, which look like needles, have been ordered from a specialist provider in the United States.

Some inshore sea fisheries authorities in the UK have carried out the work over a three year period but here there’ll probably be just one year of monitoring, although the tags are good for three cycles of the lobsters’ moulting.

Sea fisheries officer Doug Holt says the aim is to find out whether our lobsters are sustainable. There’s always the risk that the data may suggest that they are not and that could lead to calls for protection, but Doug feels that’s unlikely.

He believes that classifying local lobsters as sustainable will benefit fishermen and retailers.

Fishermen will be encouraged to feed back information on tagged lobsters that they catch to the IFCA. A number of islands’ businesses have put up prizes for respondents, as an incentive.