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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-15293: Andy Wightman (Lothian)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 27 March 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what criteria were used to determine the maximum number of vessels licensed to fish in the razor clam electrofishing trial (a) overall and (b) in each trial area.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 26 April 2018

Applications for the razor clam electrofishing trial were assessed by a cross-Departmental panel, which involved Marine Scotland, the Health and Safety Executive and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Applications were scored against published criteria that were concerned with vessel safety, economic impact, the safety of diving operations and experience in scientific research.

The criteria and scoring system were explained in the application form for the trial, which may be viewed here: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Sea-Fisheries/management/razors/trialapp . The scoring system is described at Annex C of the form.

The scoring system allowed for a maximum of 36 points. Vessels that achieved a score of 16 or more have in general been offered a place on the trial, except in cases where there were considered to exist in relation to particular vessels contemporary and substantial concerns connected to safety. A maximum of 28 vessels will take part in the trial, subject to successful vessel inspection. This total number is similar to the number of vessels that have participated in this fishery in the recent past, and is considered a reasonable upper limit.

Vessels have been allocated to trial areas according to the preferences stated in their application form. The Scottish Government will keep under review the distribution of vessels across trial areas, and the total number of vessels in the trial.