The issue of new minimum landing sizes (MLS) for lobsters has been raised with the head of Marine Scotland and two Scottish Government Cabinet Secretaries.
This follows a meeting Kate Forbes MSP had with west coast fishermen.
Earlier this year, as part of a two-year measure, Marine Scotland increased the MLS to 88mm, which prompted creel fishermen on the Isle of Skye to raise the matter with Kate Forbes. In year two, the MLS rises to 90mm – which local fishermen believe will hinder their trade.
Creel fishermen say they would like to see the same MLS of 87mm – which is the ideal plate-sized lobster – applied to the whole of Scotland.
Kate Forbes MSP promised to speak to Graham Black, director of Marine Scotland, Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, and Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, on behalf of west coast fishermen with information about the impact of the new MLS on their livelihoods.
She said: “A roomful of Skye fishermen met with me last year to highlight the proposals for new minimum landing sizes (MLS) for lobsters on the west coast. At the time, I raised it with Marine Scotland.
“A number of fishermen have contacted me again to say that they have more information about the impact of different MLSs on the west coast, and I promised to raise their concerns with Marine Scotland again.
“I have been told by some of the creel fishermen that big lobsters have never been in plentiful supply around Skye due to the type of ground and therefore it is more difficult to source lobsters with the new MLS.
“As the MLS is set to increase again next year, it is important that I raise these issues with the Scottish Government because next year’s additional increase to the MLS will only exacerbate any current issues.
“Ultimately, it is vitally important that we support creel fishermen as much as possible, because their livelihoods sustain communities."