Development and Management of Crab Fisheries in Shetland, Scotland

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    Shetland is an island community forming the most northerly part of Scotland.
    From the late 1950s a commercial fishery for the edible crab (Cancer
    pagurus) developed rapidly in Shetland, fueled by new markets and by a
    transfer of fishing effort from more traditional fisheries. The 1970s saw a
    steady decline in crab landings due to a transfer of fishing effort back to
    demersal fisheries. The last two decades, however, have seen a fairly steady
    increase in crab landings, which reached almost 600 t in 1997. This new
    growth resulted primarily from an increase in the number of purposebuilt
    crab-fishing vessels. Today almost 70% of the Shetland fishing fleet
    targets crabs and lobsters. Most of these vessels are under 10 m in length
    and most are operated by one man, often on a part-time basis. In the last
    decade crab catches have been supplemented by the previously unexploited
    velvet crab (Necora puber) and shore crab (Carcinus maenas).
    The steady increase in crab catches and fishing effort during the 1980s
    and 1990s gave rise to considerable local concern about the sustainability
    of this fishery. In 1995, the local fishermen’s association and a number of
    other interested local organizations came together to seek legal powers to
    manage the local fisheries for crabs and other shellfish species. These
    powers were eventually granted by the Scottish Government in 2000,
    making Shetland the first community in Scotland granted powers to manage
    a local fishery. Initial management measures focus on controlling levels
    of fishing effort, and a scientific program is being established to provide
    managers with necessary information on the status of shellfish stocks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCrabs in Cold Water Regions
    Subtitle of host publicationBiology, Management and Economics
    Place of PublicationFairbanks, Alaska
    PublisherUniversity of Alaska Sea Grant
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)1-56612-077-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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