Marine Scotland are holding a consultation about electrofishing for razor clams in Scotland. This practise is illegal under EU law and the government would seek a derogation to allow the practise.
The Scottish Government paper states
Regardless of the method of fishing, it is clear that the level of fishing activity and removal rate of razor clams needs to be carefully aligned with the available resource in order to maintain a sustainable fishery. The authors recognise that appropriate stock assessments will necessarily form the main objective of any follow up work conducted in future studies.
SSACN are not aware of any further Scottish studies on this so it looks like a case of allowing the activity and worrying about the environmental impact later. Ironically the Scottish Government’s above paper quotes a study from 2011 which suggests:
“Razor clams are highly mobile and the ability of individuals that live on the edge of a fished ground to rapidly move into a depleted bed following fishing activity can lead to an overestimate of the abundance of the species and its ability to recover. This can lead to intense and sustained fishing effort of known fishing grounds as has been observed in Spain (1980s), Portugal (1990s) and Ireland (2000s) where profitable razor clam fisheries have been depleted (Fahy 2011). Once depleted, studies on Irish populations have shown that razor clam stocks are very slow to recover” (Fahy 2011).
We ask; Why would the government even consider allowing the activity without more research?
We urge people to respond to the consultation (see link above).