Date lodged: 6 February 2018
To ask the Scottish Government how many applications there have been for razor fishing licenses in each year since 2007, and how many of these were (a) accepted and (b) rejected.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 20 February 2018
Razor fish licences were first introduced in 2014, to combat risks of illegal electro-fishing. The application process allowed for vessels to be inspected to seek to confirm that vessels were equipped only to conduct legal methods of fishing, at the point of inspection. Prior to 2014, fishing for razor fish was conducted under the general authority of the sea fisheries licence.
In 2014-15, 45 applications were received. 33 were successful, 12 unsuccessful.
In 2015-16, 50 applications were received. 46 were successful, 4 unsuccessful.
In 2016-17, 59 applications were received. 58 were successful, 1 unsuccessful.
2016-17 licences, which were originally scheduled to expire on 31 March 2017, were extended for one month and then, in relation to certain licences, until 31 January 2018, when all licences lapsed. These extensions were made to allow for preparations to be undertaken for a scientific trial of electro-fishing for razor fish. This trial commenced on 1 February 2018 which, following an open application process, initially involves 26 UK registered fishing vessels.