Ireland (north and south) is reportedly a source of a significant quantity of the wild-caught bait imported to the UK. Most of this is dug from east coast estuaries. There are currently no regulations for the collection of bait, but the subject has been raised in connection with the management of marine SACs and SPAs in Ireland. National Parks and Wildlife, Duchas, the Heritage Service, report that the ‘harvesting by hand of sea urchins, winkles and other marine invertebrates’ within designated sites has been proposed as a Notifiable Action. If implemented, this would mean that written permission would be required from the Minister before such operations could be undertaken. The Department of the Marine and Natural Resources has determined that a foreshore license would be required for mechanical harvesting of bait worms. No such harvesting currently takes place. Efforts to control the collection of sea urchins under marine fisheries legislation have run into difficulties in the past because Irish marine legislation does not include echinoderms within its definitions of marine fish and shellfish.

Acknowledgements: Liz Sides, National Parks and Wildlife, Duchas, the Heritage Service, and Dan Minchin, Marine Institute, Fisheries Research Centre, Dublin.

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