Scilly’s Fishermen Reject Introduction Of New Gear Limit Byelaw

fishing boat 2Scilly’s commercial fishermen have rejected a proposed new byelaw that they themselves suggested.

IFCA Officer Steve Watt says the decision was taken at last week’s Fishermen’s Association meeting to put the plans on the “back burner.”

Commercial operators had wanted to limit the number of pots that hobbyists could use to around six.

But Steve said a survey over the summer showed that hobbyists were only using five pots on average anyway, and it doesn’t seem to be as big a problem as first thought.

It’s a complete “volte-face” says Steve, after the fishermen called for a limit of just two pots a few years ago.

They felt that a legal limit was no longer needed while the voluntary agreement is working.

The Fishermen’s Association had also sought to limit the number of commercial pots to around 600 to 800 per boat.

That wouldn’t affect Scilly’s current operators, who use a maximum of 400 pots, says Steve.

It was intended to “keep out” mainland boats, he says, which can carry up to 1,000 pots, while still allowing any younger local fishermen to enter the industry and expand their operations.

Steve says they could bring in the restrictions in the future if there’s an “invasion” of mainland shell fishermen.

The fact the Association have changed their mind is “absolutely fine” says Steve, adding that it will save him some work. It can take up to two years to bring in a new byelaw, he says.

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