OFFICERS from Ireland’s Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) confiscated nine lobsters from a vessel's keep cage in Kinsale, Co Cork, on Friday October 12.
Eight of the lobsters were v-notched, one was undersize and all were berried or egg-bearing. The officers embarked on an early morning sea patrol from Kinsale using an SFPA RIB patrol craft. All of the lobsters were taken and returned to the sea alive. The keep cage where the lobsters were found was identified as being associated with a local vessel and a case file will be prepared and forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Irish lobster stocks are protected by a minimum landing size of 87mm. There is a strong network of fishermen's associations and co-ops who contribute significant time and effort into conservation schemes and their good work ensures the continuation and availability of a viable lobster fishery. A key conservation element is the v-notch scheme where a small mark is cut into the tail of any female lobster found – once marked in this way, it is illegal to land, possess or sell such a lobster. A certain percentage of the population is therefore protected for breeding, thus boosting egg production and in turn recruitment to the stock.
Micheal O'Mahony, Board Member of the SFPA, said: "The responsible management of our lobster stocks by local cooperatives and fishermen has protected the fishery from depletion through over-exploitation. Lobster fishermen are protecting their livelihood for tomorrow by protecting the lobster resource today. It is important that the misbehaviours of a minority of lobster fishermen in terms of catching and keeping undersize and immature fish is stopped and the SFPA is committed to playing our part in supporting the excellent efforts being made by responsible fishermen by continuing to conduct these inshore sea patrols."
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