Environmental factors affecting prawn fishery
The decline of prawns the in Fladens fishery appears to be due to environmental and biological factors
Marine Scotland has published a report outlining the environmental factors affecting the key Fladens prawn fishery in the North Sea.
The Cabinet Secretary urgently requested Marine Scotland to look into the problem of a lack of prawns in the North Sea – landing figures for the first four month of 2013 show a decrease of 52% on the same period last year, an 11-year-low following on from a poor year in 2012. The situation is the same on the West Coast, but to a lesser extent so far.
Author of the report, Marine Scotland scientist Nick Bailey, said that populations of Nephrops fluctuate as a result of factors affecting the production and survival of young Nephrops and that it is not clear precisely why the current decline has occurred.
“In addition to this decline, recent unusual environmental conditions appear to be limiting the emergence of the Nephrops from the burrows in which they live, this in turn is limiting the opportunities for a fishery. The reasons for this are unclear but this may be because of lower than usual water temperatures or prolonged spells of severe weather in the winter which have affected the hydrodynamics of the region”, he said.
Scotland’s Fishing Minister Richard Lochhead said, “Environmental phenomena which disrupt fishing activities occur from time to time and so it is hoped this will be a short-term problem, but it is an anxious wait for our fishermen to see if the prawns ‘come on’ and the situation improves for them in the near future.”
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