Fishing vessels from the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) have welcomed the introduction of a new handbook aimed at helping them to protect endangered, threatened and protected species of skates and rays.
The handbook has been produced by Seafood Scotland and will help vessels to fulfil the requirements of their MSC programme.
According to Jess Sparks, environmental and technical manager for Seafood Scotland “We produced the handbook to help fishermen improve their identification skills for the various species of skates and ray which they encounter, to have a better understanding of their biology, and to appreciate their environmental status. It will also help them to fulfil their landing and recording requirements for these species, some of which are protected through fisheries legislation, or by EU and international agreements.”+
The handbook provides guidance for the handling and release of skate and ray species and explains that large specimens are powerful and may cause harm to themselves or the crew if they are not handled correctly when being returned to the ocean.