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Hebrides News


A proposal to trial new creel fishing management measures in an area around the Outer Hebrides is being considered by the Scottish Government.


If it goes ahead the scheme proposal would look at limiting the number of creels that vessels may operate down the east coast of the islands.


Increasing numbers of creels are being set every year for the past two decades in the waters around the Western Isles 20 years.


At the same time catch rates are declining with the knock-on effect of fishermen laying more creels in order to maintain total catches.


Views are being sought from the Western Isles on proposals to explore the alternative approach to managing inshore fisheries.


Overall five different proposals to test new management arrangements in Scottish coastal waters have been brought forward for public consultation.


The Scottish Government is consulting over which two should proceed to a live pilot scheme.


The area from Bayble to Mingulay and around the Sound of Harris is thought to be overfished so the scheme would set a maximum permitted figure for creel numbers based on vessel size.


The initiative would also prevent gear being placed on the seabed to stop others from fishing. It is believed that in some instances several thousand creels are being placed on the ground and hauled irregularly.


Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Our inshore waters are important to our rural economy and are the source of some of our best seafood which is why it is crucial that we consider new and innovative ways of managing them through this consultation.


“We received proposals from right around the Scottish coast so it’s important that we now give communities in the Highlands and Islands the opportunity to have a say on how they can make the most of their waters.


“This consultation will make sure we are taking forward the most credible trials so that we can have the right evidence, experience and understanding for future inshore fisheries strategies.”


Proposal to test new creel fishing management measures in Hebrides

4 December 2017