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“Egg-cellent” news for the European lobster as England chooses to ban landings of egg-bearing females

Tuesday 19th September 2017

European or Common Lobster. Credit George Stoyle.European or Common Lobster. Credit George Stoyle.

Following a nationwide consultation on the prohibition of landing egg bearing (“berried”) lobster and crawfish in England the Government has announced that it will introduce a ban by October of this year.

The news has been welcomed by local conservation charity Yorkshire Wildlife Trust who added its voice to those supporting the proposal.

Pictured Bex LynamBex Lynam (pictured left), 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.”

Shellfish is a crucial commodity for commercial fishermen within Yorkshire, with the Holderness area considered to be the largest fishery for edible crab and lobster in Europe.

Of the 155 responses to the consultation 83% were in favour of a ban, with close to 50% of the responses from the commercial fishing sector.

One such respondee was Withernsea fisherman John White. On hearing the news he said: “I’m pleased this has finally been adopted nationally. We’ve been voluntarily v-notching (to identify and protect a known breeder from harvest) and returning berried lobsters for years to help protect our local stocks and this new measure should ensure the long-term sustainability of lobster fisheries.”

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. Where inspections are carried out at sea within English waters inspectors will decide what action is appropriate if berried lobsters or crawfish are found on-board. The ban 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.

Full details of the consultation outcome can be viewed online