Under consideration PE2110: Protect wild wrasse stocks

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to develop and introduce a statutory Fisheries Management Plan focussed on protecting wild wrasse stocks in Scottish waters, beginning with a data-collection exercise and introduction of precautionary fishery management measures ahead of the next fishing season commencing in May 2025.

Background information

Wild-caught wrasse are used as cleaner fish to tackle lice in aquaculture facilities. They are caught in creels and landed or sold directly to salmon farms. Data is available for those landed, showing peaks and declines consistent with local extirpation.

Wrasse are associated with rocky reefs and other Priority Marine Features under the Habitats Directive Annex 1, creating a requirement to properly manage the wrasse fishery in or near these sites.

Wrasse are long-lived and territorial predators, with unusual reproductive patterns. This makes them vulnerable to over-catching, and opening a fishery for them without baseline data and a fisheries management plan is inappropriate and against the terms of the 2020 Fisheries Act. Local extirpations affect other wild fish species, both target and non-target. Action was promised to better protect wild wrasse beyond the limited 2021 measures, perhaps in line with better practice in English waters, but nothing has been forthcoming.

  • Created by Charles Millar
  • Considered from 25 June 2024
  • Petitions can collect signatures until the petition has been closed

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