Ray of hope for vulnerable species

SHARKS, skates and rays have been given greater protection in Scottish waters.

Scottish Government laws came into force yesterday covering 26 species including angel sharks, tope sharks, common skate and undulate rays.

The Sharks, Skates and Rays (Prohibition of Fishing, Trans-shipment and Landing) (Scotland) Order 2012 means they have protection over and above that provided under EU legislation, prohibiting anglers from landing the species.

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Fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Some of these species are critically endangered and this legislation will mean that we have gone above and beyond EU legislation to offer greater levels of protection.”

Ali Hood, director of conservation for the Shark Trust, said: “A legacy of unregulated fisheries worldwide has heavily impacted on a number of populations, with certain species found in Scottish waters now critically depleted.”

Mike Park, chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, said: “It is right that we take all steps possible to protect vulnerable species and groups of species. Bringing recreational sea angling into line with restrictions currently imposed on commercial fishers makes a great deal of sense.”