Electric razor clam fishing could be made legal

A consultation on making it legal to use electricity to fish for razor clams has been launched.

Picture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL

The Scottish Government consultation seeks views on whether it should seek an exemption or relaxation from European Union (EU) legislation which bans electrofishing - fishing using a low electric current.

Under the proposals, specified forms of electrofishing would become legal.

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Electrofishing for razor clams involves shocking them in the seabed so they rise up and are more easily collected by divers.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Marine Scotland has undertaken comprehensive research on the impact of electrofishing on the surrounding environment and the catch, and have concluded that it is a relatively benign way of harvesting razor clams.

“Electrofishing is currently illegal in Scotland and Marine Scotland compliance has taken a range of measures to tackle this illegal activity.

“Enforcement has proved to be very difficult and changes need to be made to either make it easier to enforce the current law or, if electrofishing is to be legalised, to ensure any electrofishing is undertaken safely and sustainably in a properly-regulated environment.

“As a result of this advice and extensive consultation with the industry, we have now decided to consult on proposals to amend the current law to allow electrofishing to be a legal method for catching razor clams.”

Everyone with an interest is urged to contribute their views by September 30.