Restrictions On Landing Bigger Lobsters In Scilly Could Be On The Cards

A young lobster

A young lobster

More juvenile lobsters were released in Scilly’s waters on Monday. And there could be new size restrictions on landing them for professional and hobby fisherman.

For the past few years the National Lobster Hatchery at Padstow has brought over the lobster hatchlings to bolster the islands’ own stocks, which should ensure our supply is sustainable.

A team from the mainland handed over a batch of 1,150 babies to Tim Allsop, who placed them underwater to the East of Gugh.

This is the first time baby lobsters have been taken to this area. They’ve been dropped around the back of Bryher, at St Martin’s and near Gap Point previously.

IFCA officer Steve Watt says the impact of the earlier releases is now being noticed, with reports from commercial fishermen that they’re catching lots of undersized lobsters this year.

He says the crustaceans can move across a wide area. They recently found a lobster over 5km from where it was tagged.

There are restrictions on taking undersized lobsters, but Steve says he’d like to follow Ireland and Scotland’s lead and prevent islanders from landing ones that are bigger.

He wants a byelaw that would mean a lobster over 130mm would have to be put back, because it is likely to be a good breeder.

That would apply to both commercial and hobby fishermen, says Steve, and shouldn’t really affect catches too much because lobsters of that size are rarely landed.

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