Hand picking


Stone-turning by hand or with the use of levers at low tide is used extensively for the collection of hidden peeler and soft shell crabs (usually Carcinus maenus, but also small edible crabs Cancer pagurus and other species). Although bait collection codes promote the return of boulders to their original position in order to minimise environmental damage, a large number of collectors are unaware of the code or chose not to practice this methodology. Some commercial collectors report having to spend long hours replacing boulders to repair damage left after visits from less experienced collectors (Roland Sharp pers. comm.). In some sheltered mixed habitats, stones are also turned for the collection of ragworms (sometimes combined with bait digging, as in the Menai Straits). In those areas where rocks are not numerous on the shore (i.e. sheltered muddy estuaries) collectors place tiles onto the sediment to attract crabs for collection from these artificial sites. This activity is covered in section 3.5.

Many collectors also pick mussels Mytilus edulis and winkles Littorina littorea and occasionally a few other species from rocky shores for food or for bait.

Quigley and Frid (1998) review collecting activities (mainly for C. maenus, C. pagurus and L. littorea) upon rocky intertidal reefs in Berwickshire and North Northumberland. McKay and Fowler (1997 a and 1997 b) review collection of mussels and winkles in Scotland.

Impacts of hand picking for bait on fauna, habitat and other shore users

Opportunities for mitigating the impacts of hand picking for bait