By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Coveney Launches Review of Crawfish Conservation Measures

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today asked BIM to conduct a review of the present conservation measures for crawfish and to bring forward recommendations by 29 July 2011.

The Minister said "The present prohibition on landing crawfish below 110mm in length is presenting difficulties for Irish inshore fishermen, as smaller crawfish are preferred by continental European markets.  A wide range of  technical conservation measures are in use internationally and I want to see if we can find a management strategy for this species that will allow Irish inshore fishermen to compete in international markets, while stabilising the stock and ensuring its long term sustainability and bringing to an end undesirable by-catch".

The review is to be conducted by BIM, in conjunction with the Marine Institute and in consultation with crawfish fishermen and their representatives.

Note for Editors

Two conservation measures for crawfish are presently specified in law.  Under S.I. 232 of 2006, crawfish below 110mm in length may not be taken or landed by an Irish vessel and must be returned immediately to the sea.  The S.I. also prohibits the sale, transport or trans-shipment of such undersize crawfish.  EU law (Regulation 850/98) specifies a minimum landing size (MLS) of 95mm.  The EU Regulation allows Member States to set higher national MLS for conservation purposes.  The Irish MLS of 110mm was first set in 2001, replacing an earlier national MLS of 100mm set in 1999. In addition, under S.I. 233 of 2006, fishing for crawfish in certain specified protected areas off the coasts of Galway and Kerry using nets is prohibited. Despite these conservation measures, the decline of the crawfish stock, which commenced in 1990, has continued unabated.  In addition, the use of tangle nets to fish for crawfish outside of the protected areas sometimes results in undesirable by-catch of non-target and possibly protected species.  This issue may present particular difficulties in bays designated as Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive.

The full terms of reference of the review are presented below.

Review of Crawfish technical Conservation Measures

Terms of Reference

Having regard to:

(1) the negative and declining state of the crawfish stock;

(2) undesirable by-catch of non-target and possibly protected species from the use of nets by some fishermen in fishing for crawfish;

(3) the apparent market preference for smaller crawfish; and

(4) the range of technical conservation measures for crawfish used internationally;

BIM is requested is conduct a review, in conjunction with the Marine Institute, and in consultation with crawfish fishermen and their representatives, of the present technical conservation measures for crawfish, i.e.

a) the minimum landing size of 110mm (Crawfish (Conservation of Stocks) Regulations 2006 S.I. No. 232 of 2006); and

b) the prohibition on the use of nets to fish for crawfish in certain specified locations off the coasts of Kerry and Galway (Crawfish (Fisheries Management and Conservation) Regulations 2006 S.I. No. 233 of 2006);

and to make recommendations to the Minister by 29 July 2011 on the most appropriate strategy and/or technical conservation measures to address the issues specified at (1) to (4) above.

In framing its recommendations, BIM shall ensure that its proposals provide at least the equivalent or a higher level of protection to the reproductive potential of the stock, as provided by the present measures, and that a high level of compliance can be assured within available resources.

Date Released: 24 May 2011