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Regulation proposed for wild wrasse fishery

A consultation has been launched on proposals to introduce mandatory controls for the reporting and management of wild wrasse harvesting.

The small fish feed on invertebrates, including salmon lice, and are used as an environmentally-friendly solution to tackle lice on salmon farms.

Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Salmon farms across Scotland are dependent on the use of wrasse as a natural solution for salmon lice prevention but it’s equally important that the species itself is protected from the potential of overfishing. This is why we are proposing to introduce reporting and management procedures to ensure they are being fished sustainably.
“In May 2018, working with the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, we introduced voluntary control measures over wrasse harvesting and I’m confident these protocols are effective. If adopted, the new measures would make those controls mandatory and introduce new requirements on the reporting of fishing activity, which will ensure effective management of the fishery in the long term.

“I would encourage any interested parties to get in touch with their feedback on the consultation.”
Anne Anderson, Sustainability Director of Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said: “Following the successful pilot of voluntary measures, we welcome this consultation to consider how to strengthen and maintain sustainable wrasse fisheries.

“We continue to support the gathering of data which will provide greater depth of information and analysis. In turn, this will assist with the development of adaptive management for the fisheries.”