#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed has signed a statutory instrument to increase the minimum conservation reference size for razor clam in the North Irish Sea.
This new measure, which was initiated by local fishermen, comes into effect on 1 July 2018 and means that the minimum landing size for razor clam in the North Irish Sea will be 125mm.
Razor clams are typically fished in the area extending from Howth to Dundalk Bay.
“I welcome the introduction of this measure, particularly as it was proposed and developed by inshore fishermen seeking to protect the sustainability of this important fishery,” Minister Creed said.
“I am pleased the Inshore Fisheries Forums are engaging with conservation issues in the inshore sector, and I would like to thank the forum members for their support in bringing this proposal forward.”
The new conservation measure follows an extensive consultation process involving the National and Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums and a public consultation earlier this year.
It also goes beyond the mandatory standards set by European regulations, and is being touted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as another step towards sustainability for the stock.
Industry members see the conservation size increase as a way of protecting smaller razor clams, which may help the razor clam stock to become more sustainable in the long term while also increasing its value.
In 2016, the value of razor clams fished in Irish waters was over €5.7 million. While they do not feature highly on Irish menus, razor clams are in favour in China and Spain.