Razor Clam action praised

Politicians have praised police action in tackling illegal razor clam fishing in the waters of Luce Bay.

Last week, The Galloway Gazette reported that a month long joint operation between the police and Marine Scotland compliance successful halted a group of vessels suspected of fishing with electricity in a bid to potentially harvest over 3200,000 worth of razor clams.

Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I am delighted that some action has finally been taken to curb this illegal activity. It is one that I have raised previously with enforcement authorities to no avail, but it is right that they have now listened to the concerns of local communities and finally taken decisive action. I hope that this will send a sharp message to those who seek to plunder local waters for their own gain without any thought of the effect on the marine environment and prevent any further activity.

At the same time, this exercise highlights the potential for a shellfish ‘industry’ along the Solway coast, and I would again appeal to Marine Scotland to work with local interests to create a sustainable fishery within which the harvesting of cockles, razor clams and other species could play a major part in providing substantial home grown employment in this Region.”

Scottish Government Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead added: “The use of electricity as a fishing method is currently prohibited under EU law. Marine Scotland works as part of a multi-agency approach to combat the illegal practice of electro-fishing.

“The maximum level of fixed penalty has been raised from £2,000 to £10,000 and Marine Scotland has new powers to seize objects suspected to be in use for commercial sea fishing, including generators, cables and probes potentially being used for electro-fishing. I welcome the news that the joint-agency approach has helped deter this illegal act, with no razor clams being caught in Luce Bay using illegal methods during the period of this operation.”