Moves to preserve stocks after fewer lobsters landed after landings decreas

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Despite fishing efforts increasing in Jersey’s waters, the number of landings has dropped from 268 tonnes in 2011 to 193 tonnes last year.

A similar trend has been seen in Normandy, and a review is currently under way because of concerns over the numbers.

However, marine and coastal manager Paul Chambers has said there is no cause for panic and the current review is a precautionary measure.

He said: ‘The same trend is being seen in Normandy and, while the lobster fishery remains viable, concern has been expressed by local and regional managers and fishing representatives.

‘This year fisheries officers and fishing representatives have been examining the fishery to identify issues and model the effect of potential solutions. No decisions have been made yet and all options remain on the table, including the minimum size.

‘No fishery is static and all management measures must be periodically reviewed to ensure they are operating effectively and fairly for both the fishery and the underlying species’ stock.

‘Jersey is currently undertaking a full review of its lobster management but any revision must be evidence-based and the recommendations workable and effective.

‘The current review is looking at all management measures, including changes to the minimum size, and has had input from scientists and fisheries managers in other European countries.

‘Its objective is to ensure that the local lobster fishery can continue to be profitable and sustainable in the distant future.’

Lobster fishing in Jersey has come under the spotlight recently, with a number of fishermen going before the courts for exceeding the minimum catching size.

Mr Chambers added that without a thriving lobster stock, the Island’s fishing industry would struggle, as lobsters accounted for a significant portion of the fishing fleet’s income.

‘Lobster is Jersey’s most valuable commercial species, with landings accounting for around half of the fishing fleet’s annual income.

‘Almost all Jersey fishing vessels are partially or wholly dependent on the lobster fishery. Without a healthy lobster stock, the Island’s fishing industry will collapse.

‘Managing and exploiting that stock sustainably is therefore vital, not just to the Island’s commercial fishing fleet, but also to the many people that recreationally fish for lobster.

‘It is important that we give all our fished stocks the best chance possible, and that means sticking to the regulations and especially the minimum size. When it comes to sustainable fishing, size does matter.’

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