A wildlife conservation charity is praising “egg-cellent” news for lobsters after the Government decided to ban landings of egg-bearing females.
Following a nationwide consultation on the prohibition of landing egg bearing (berried) lobster and crawfish in England, the Government has announced it will introduce a ban by October.
The ban will apply to any berried lobster or crawfish caught within English waters by a British or Scottish fishing boat; or landed in England by such, wherever it was caught. Enforcement of the ban will take place either at the point of landing or at sea.
It will also apply to any lobster or crawfish that can be shown to have been carrying eggs when it was fished.
Special kits will be used that can detect whether eggs have been removed after they have been landed.
Shellfish is a crucial commodity for commercial fishermen in Bridlington, with the East Coast area considered to be the largest fishery for edible crab and lobster in Europe.
The news has been welcomed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
Bex Lynam, North Sea Marine Advocacy Officer at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, played a lead role in producing a consultation response on behalf of the Trust.
She said: “This is a great fisheries conservation win. It protects the reproductive stock and creates a level playing field for all fishermen fishing in UK waters.
“This is particularly good news in Yorkshire where the data on lobster stocks shows their status to be over exploited. It’s essential the stock is sustainably managed in order to preserve the fishery for future fishing generations.”
Local fisherman John White said: “I’m pleased this has finally been adopted. We’ve been v-notching (to identify and protect a known breeder from harvest) and returning berried lobsters for years to help protect our stocks.”
The consultation can be viewed online at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-the-landing-of-egg-bearing-lobsters-and-crawfish-in-england