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Sea-Fisheries Officers Return Undersize and V-notched Lobster to Sea

12th October 2012
Sea-Fisheries Officers Return Undersize and V-notched Lobster to Sea

#lobster – Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers from the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) confiscated nine lobsters from a vessel's 'keep' cage in Kinsale, Co Cork this morning, Friday 12th October. Eight of the lobsters were v-notched, one was undersize and all were berried or egg-bearing. The officers embarked on an early morning sea patrol from Kinsale using an SFPA RIB patrol craft. All of the lobsters were taken and returned to the sea alive. The keep cage where the lobsters were found was identified as being associated with a local vessel and a case file will be prepared and forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Our lobster stocks are protected by a minimum landing size of 87mm. There is a strong network of fishermen's associations and Co-ops who contribute significant time and effort into conservation schemes and their good work ensures the continuation and availability of a viable lobster fishery. A key conservation element is the v-notch scheme where a small mark is cut into the tail of any female lobster found - once marked in this way, it is illegal to land, possess or sell such a lobster. A certain percentage of the population is therefore protected for breeding, thus boosting egg production and in turn recruitment to the stock.

The SFPA works consistently with the inshore sector to ensure compliance with fisheries regulations, for example, a "Guide to Compliance for the Irish Inshore Fleet" was developed between the SFPA in conjunction with key stakeholders in 2010 – this is a concise guide that summarises the principal requirements that apply to Irish fishing vessels under 15 meters operating in Irish inshore waters. The continuing provision of essential information supports the SFPA and industry in their work towards building a culture of compliance. This partnership approach benefits both the fishing industry and the SFPA and underpins the day-to-day efforts of fishermen to protect their livelihoods by complying with legislation that conserves fishing stocks for long-term sustainable exploitation. It is consistent with the SFPA's legal remit to promote compliance with and deter contraventions of sea-fisheries law and food safety law.

Micheal O'Mahony, Board Member of the SFPA said: "The responsible management of our lobster stocks by local cooperatives and fishermen has protected the fishery from depletion through over-exploitation. Lobster fishermen are protecting their livelihood for tomorrow by protecting the lobster resource today. It is important that the misbehaviours of a minority of lobster fishermen in terms of catching and keeping undersize and immature fish is stopped and the SFPA is committed to playing our part in supporting the excellent efforts being made by responsible fishermen by continuing to conduct these inshore sea patrols."

Published in Fishing
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