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Fishing for Razor Clams in Scotland

Following on from the Marine Scotland paper “Electro-Fishing for Razor Clams” published in October 2014, this area of fishing has attracted significant and often adverse media coverage.                 

It is acknowledged that dredging the sea-bed can be hugely destructive to the environment and positive reports from other jurisdictions supported commercial fishing by way of electro fishing methods.  Following this, a consultation period was then announced in August 2016 and following representations, the Razor Clams Prohibition of Fishing Land (Scotland) Order 2017 has now been implemented with effect from 1 February 2018. 

The impact of same is that any commercial fishing and landing of razor clams within Scotland is prohibited, beyond those authorised within a trial, except for the purposes of scientific investigation or hand fishing where this does not exceed 30 razors a day.

Given the lucrative markets particularly in the Far East for this species and the allegations of criminal gangs working illegally in the market for seemingly large profits, this legislation is to be cautiously welcomed in safeguarding the rights of legitimate skippers and owners.

Within its trial, the Scottish government is offering  successful applicants the right to obtain permits and to land such catches commercially.

Initial responses from those seeking to be accepted onto the trial suggest that this is not being made an easy or transparent process.

For those either interested in applying to be considered in the trial or who have been unsuccessful in such applications, it is important that matters are professionally reviewed to ensure a fair process is being followed. 

If you wish guidance on the 2017 Order or on any issues related to the Scottish Government trial, please contact either Martin Sinclair or Fiona Cheyne.   

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