Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries
A large amount of fisheries legislation has been inherited by the Welsh Ministers over recent years. As a result, a large scale review is taking place, as set out in the Wales Marine and Fisheries Strategic Action Plan.
The crustacean fisheries are the mainstay of the Welsh fishing industry, with £3.8 million worth of crustaceans landed into Wales in 2012. Given the importance of the crustacean fishery, this is one of the first fisheries to be considered, and a review of management provisions is currently taking place.
A consultation was held earlier in the year and I have given serious consideration to the wide range of issues raised in those responses. I have decided to proceed to amend the legislation for managing the Welsh crustacean fishery.
In recognition of concerns expressed by the industry, I intend to phase in the increase in minimum size for lobsters to minimise the impact on the industry in North Wales where a significantly lower minimum size currently applies. Further, I have decided to delay the ‘berried hen’ prohibition to allow for further work on this issue to be undertaken and allow for further consideration of the issues raised.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.