Consultation on landing controls for the Scottish crab and lobster fisheries

Closed 20 May 2016

Opened 26 Feb 2016

Feedback updated 20 Jan 2017

We asked

For views in a consultation on a range of proposals aimed at improving the sustainability and management of Scotland’s key shellfish stocks.

You said

There were 119 respondents to the consultation, consisting of 93 private individuals and 26 organisations. A range of constructive comments were provided by respondents, which have been analysed in the outcome report.


We did

As a result of the consultation process, new management measures will be introduced into the crab and lobster fisheries as outlined in the outcome report.

Results updated 20 Jan 2017

This report is the outcome of Marine Scotland’s Consultation on Landing Controls for the Scottish Crab and Lobster Fisheries, which took place from 26 February 2016 to 20 May 2016.

The report provides a summary of the responses to the questions posed in the consultation, and provides an analysis of the views received. Areas of consensus and divergence are highlighted, and next steps are provided.

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Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Scotland’s fishing industry is an important part of rural life, making a valuable contribution to the economy, and is woven into the country’s culture and heritage. Fisheries are at the heart of the Scottish Government’s aims to create more, better paid jobs in a strong sustainable economy, and to build a fairer Scotland through tackling inequalities and empowering people and communities.

Scotland’s brown crab, velvet crab and lobster fisheries are of great importance to many of our coastal communities with landings worth £32 million being recorded in 2014.

However, around much of the Scottish coast, these stocks are estimated to be fished at levels close to or above the FMSY  proxy (FMSY  is the fishing mortality consistent with the largest average yield that can continuously be taken from a stock under existing environmental conditions).

The Scottish fishing industry has expressed growing concern at the health of these fisheries and called for their management to be improved. Through their local management bodies, the island communities of Orkney, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland have already introduced individual management arrangements for their crab and lobster fisheries. Marine Scotland is seeking views on landing controls that it proposes to introduce throughout the rest of the Scottish coast.

These measures are as follows:

  • increasing the minimum landing size for brown crab to 150 mm carapace width
  • increasing the minimum landing size for velvet crab to 70 mm carapace width
  • prohibiting the landing of berried (egg bearing) velvet crab
  • increasing the minimum landing size for lobster to 90 mm carapace length
  • decreasing the maximum landing size for female lobster to 145 mm carapace length
  • introducing a maximum landing size for male lobster of 145 mm carapace length
  • prohibiting the landing of 'crippled' lobsters (those missing one or both claws)
  • introducing prohibitions on sale and carriage to match any landing prohibitions that are implemented on a uniform basis across the entire Scottish coast


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Why your views matter

The purpose of this consultation document is to seek the views of those with an interest in the crab and lobster fisheries in Scotland, in order to inform policy decisions. The consultation will last for 12 weeks, commencing on Friday 26 February 2016 with a deadline of Friday 20 May 2016 for responses.

The views and suggestions received in consultation responses will be analysed and fed into the decision making process. Final decisions on the issues under consideration will also take account of a range of other factors, including any other available information and research evidence.

The Scottish Government may make the responses to this consultation paper available to the public and to the Scottish Parliament. We will acknowledge responses and may publish an analysis of the responses after the consultation.


  • Marine and Fisheries