Scilly’s IFCA Holding Open Day Next Week

matt lethbridge sea fisheries vessel 2The team monitoring Scilly’s lobster and crayfish populations want you to attend a presentation to hear why their work is important for our islands’ economy.

On Monday 15th December, IFCA staff will answer questions on their shellfish-tagging project, which monitors the growth and movement of the species.

The project aims to determine whether the crustacea caught around Scilly are sustainable. And that approval could help fishermen command a higher market price.

Daisy Kelly-Fletcher from Scilly’s IFCA says the organisation is “fairly confident” that our European lobster fisheries in the islands are sustainable.

But they’re also looking at crayfish stocks, which are declining nationally.

Daisy says the volunteers go out with the commercial fishermen and tag any undersized lobsters or crayfish that are caught and thrown back. The fishermen then log any tagged crustacea that are recaught.

The work on crayfish is the first study of those shellfish since the 1960s and there’s a theory that they could travel hundreds of miles unlike lobsters, which are territorial.

There’s been a lot of support for the project, with eleven student volunteers coming from various universities in the southwest.

In next week’s session at the Wesleyan Chapel there’ll be demonstrations of how they track the shellfish and a chance to see some live crustacea in the new touch tank.

The event isn’t just for fishermen or people with their own pots. Any islander is welcome to attend between 11am and 2pm.