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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-16853: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 23 May 2018

To ask the Scottish Government how many on-board compliance inspections Marine Scotland has conducted each month as part of the scientific trial of electrofishing for razor clams, also broken down by how many boats have failed the inspection, and how often after their initial inspection can boat owners expect their craft to be further inspected.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 5 June 2018

The scientific trial commenced on 1 February 2018. Vessels selected to participate are required to undergo an inspection by Marine Scotland to ensure that each vessel and its operation fully meets the criteria for the trial. There have been 17 such inspections (5 in February, 7 in March, 4 in April and 1 in May) and each of these vessels have now received a derogation allowing them to commence fishing. Vessels are not failed on initial inspection and operators are given the opportunity to address any identified shortcomings prior to any derogation being issued, the time taken to address operational issues varies from case to case.

Marine Scotland Compliance deploy resources based on regular risk assessment. Since the start of the trial there have been 6 boardings of razor vessels at sea and 13 inspections following landings undertaken by Marine Scotland Compliance. These numbers do not indicate a heightened risk. However inspections would be increased if intelligence received warranted it or if infringements were detected.