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New Landing Controls for the Crab and Lobster Fisheries

New landing controls for the Scottish crab and lobster fisheries came into effect on 25 February 2018. They are as follows:

  • A minimum landing size for Brown/Edible crab (Cancer pagurus) of 150 mm carapace width (except the Shetland Islands)

  • A minimum landing size for Velvet crabs (Necora puber) of 70 mm carapace width

  • A minimum landing size for lobster (Homarus gammarus) on the west coast of Scotland, from Cape Wrath to 55 degrees north latitude, of 88 mm carapace length (increasing to 90 mm carapace length from 25 February 2019)

  • A maximum landing size for female lobster of 145 mm carapace length (except the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands)

  • A prohibition on the selling or offering for sale of Velvet crab measuring less than 70 mm carapace width

  • A prohibition on fishing boats carrying Velvet crab measuring less than 70 mm carapace width

  • A prohibition on the landing of berried (egg-bearing) Velvet crab

These measures have been brought into force following a public consultation that took place during 2016. For more information about the consultation process and its outcome, please see the following:

Landing controls for the Scottish crab and lobster fisheries - both new and existing ones - are further detailed in the following section.

Landing Controls in Effect from 25 February 2018

Unless otherwise indicated with an [*] the following controls are contained in The Specified Crustaceans (Prohibition on Landing, Sale and Carriage) (Scotland) Order 2017.

Click on the maps and diagrams for larger images.

Brown/Edible Crab (Cancer pagurus)
Minimum landing sizes Map
  • 140 mm – Shetland Islands[*]
  • 150 mm – rest of Scotland
Edible crab map
How to measure Diagram
Width of the carapace, perpendicular to the antero-posterior midline of the carapace edible crab diagram
Velvet Crab (Necora puber)
Minimum landing size Map
70 mm Velvet crab map
How to measure Diagram
Width of the carapace, across the broadest part of the back (excluding spines) velvet crab diagram
Other controls
  • It is prohibited to sell, or carry on board a British fishing boat, a Velvet crab measuring less than 70 mm
  • It is prohibited to land a berried (egg-bearing) Velvet crab
Lobster (Homarus gammarus)
Minimum landing sizes Map
  • 90 mm – Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, Outer Hebrides
  • 88 mm – West Coast from Cape Wrath to 55°N*
  • 87 mm – rest of Scotland
*from 25/02/18 to 24/02/19, then 90 mm from 25/02/19
Lobster MLS map
Maximum landing sizes for females Map
  • 155 mm – Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands
  • 145 mm – rest of Scotland
Lobster MaxLS map
How to measure Diagram
Length of the carapace, parallel to the midline, from the back of either eye socket to the distal edge of the carapace lobster diagram
Other controls
  • It is prohibited to sell, or carry on board a British fishing boat, a lobster measuring less than 87 mm
  • It is prohibited to land a ‘crippled’ female lobster (missing one or both claws) caught in the inshore waters of the Outer Hebrides
  • It is prohibited to fish for or land a lobster that bears a v-notch, or that has been mutilated to obscure a v-notch[*]
Crawfish (Palinurus spp.)
Minimum landing size
95 mm[*]
How to measure Diagram
Length of the carapace, from the tip of the rostrum to the midpoint of the distal edge of the carapace crawfish diagram
Other controls
It is prohibited to fish for or land a Crawfish that bears a v-notch, or that has been mutilated to obscure a v-notch[*]
Green Crab (Carcinus maenas)
Minimum landing size
70 mm (Orkney Islands)
How to measure Diagram
Width of the carapace, perpendicular to the antero-posterior midline of the carapace (including spines) green crab diagram
Spider Crab (Maja squinado)
Minimum landing sizes
  • 130 mm – male Spider crab
  • 120 mm – female Spider crab[*]
How to measure Diagram
Length of the carapace, along the midline, from the edge of the carapace between the rostrums to the posterior edge of the carapace spider crab diagram

Further information

Downloadable documents:

Title:Landing Controls for Crab and Lobster
Description:Information on new landing controls for the Scottish crab and lobster fisheries
File:Crab-lobster landing controls - information poster [PDF, 1822.5 kb: 22 Feb 2018]
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File:Crab-lobster landing controls - maps leaflet [PDF, 1134.6 kb: 28 Mar 2018]
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