This chapter draws on a review
of the legal framework, summarised in the previous
chapter, and a series of case studies (described
in an Appendix) that examined
examples of shoreline species collection management
in the UK and overseas. The major management options
for minimising the impacts of shoreline species
collection on nature conservation features that
were identified through these reviews and their
advantages and disadvantages are briefly summarised
in a table. The table below provides a slightly different
perspective, by matching collection activities with
the potential management options available. More
detailed information on each possible management
options, their effectiveness, and the potential
management problems associated with implementing
them appears in the following sections.
Impacts and management options
- Damage to habitat and non-target species,
including bird disturbance.
- Safety problems and other conflicts to
shore and water users.
- Stock depletion unlikely to be serious,
but potential impact on commercial stocks
by removing undersize specimens.
- Educational programme (through tackle
shops and angling press) to promote code
of conduct for boulder turning.
- Voluntary agreements for regulation of
crab shelter numbers and locations.
- Options for control under Sea Fisheries
byelaws include permanent or rotational
closure of areas to collection, Several
or Regulating Orders, bag limits, and licensing
- Minimum sizes apply for some species.
Could be extended to others.
- Damage to habitats and species.
- Some populations of long-lived and slow-reproducing
molluscs may be of nature conservation importance.
- Collection may conflict with commercial
fisheries, where not controlled by Several
- Digging may cause amenity or safety problems
for other shore users.
- Educational programme to promote code
of conduct for bag limits, minimum sizes,
and/or zonation of activity.
- Razor fish collection for commercial gain
prohibited by local authority lease-holder
in south-west Wales.
- Options for control under Sea Fisheries
byelaws may include permanent or rotational
closure of areas to collection, controls
on gear used, Several or Regulating Orders,
bag limits, minimum sizes, and licensing
- Potential conflict with nature conservation
(non-target species and habitat damage).
- May conflict with fisheries operations.
- May cause damage to vessels and coastal
- May be incompatible with some amenity
uses and harbour operations.
- Codes of conduct, promoted through tackle
shops and angling press.
- Voluntary agreements with recreational
and commercial users.
- Regulating extent of baitdigging (through
permanent, seasonal or temporary zonation,
licences, and/or bag limits).
- Prohibition or regulation of commercial
bait digging only.
- As a last resort, prohibition of bait
digging by one of a number of nature conservation
agency, fisheries, local authority and harbour
authority byelaws, where the activity impinges
on these organisations responsibilities.
- (Bait digging is unregulated by legislation
targeted at this activity.)
Many of the case studies examined
and summarised in Appendix II illustrate attempts
to address management issues after species collection
had been identified as a serious cause for concern,
sometimes unsuccessfully or effective only after
some false starts. One of the best examples of management
(Maine, USA) relies on a legislative framework not
available in the UK. It must be stressed, however,
that although many of the case studies refer to
management problems, these are mostly isolated examples
that have affected only a very small number of sites.
In the vast majority of UK sites, species collection
is either not an issue or is already managed
effectively, if informally, through voluntary agreement
or code of practice. By their very nature, such
examples of good management practice are not usually
well known (no problem: no publicity).
Where attempts to resolve conflicts
between species collection and other interests have
had a poor track record, whether through use of
codes of conduct, bag limits, conditional licensing
schemes, or zonation of activities, the case studies
indicate that this is usually due to one of the
- Difficulty in communicating with the collectors,
because they are neither part of the local community,
nor members of a readily identifiable national
or regional group. Saunders et al. (1998)
indicate that only 10-25% of all sea anglers are
members of the National Federation of Sea Anglers
or National Federation of Anglers and their member
- A lack of resources put into education, policing,
and, where necessary, enforcement locally and
It is very important that these
factors are considered and addressed in all cases
where management of shoreline species collection
activity is considered desirable (regardless of
the management option selected) if a successful
outcome is to be achieved.
When considering management options
for managing shoreline species collection (particularly
for bait), it is useful to consider the types of
individuals that are likely to be undertaking this
activity and how they may be consulted over proposals
and/or informed of management measures in place.
These are listed below in very broad categories
(note that these definitions only illustrate extremes
along a spectrum of activity and that many commercial
collectors also take bait for personal use).
- Commercial collectors, who regularly use and
manage the same area of local shore
in order to provide regular supplies of bait to
retail outlets. These individuals are usually
identifiable, and may be encouraged to form a
local user group for the discussion
of bait collection issues.
- Experienced bait collectors, based in the area,
who collect for personal use, are part of a local
users group, and/or members of one of the existing
national or regional angling organisations.
- Inexperienced, local or visiting bait collectors,
who only take bait a few times a year for personal
use, are inexperienced (inefficient or careless)
or unconcerned with the sustainability of marine
resources, may live a long way from the area,
and do not belong to a user group or organisation.
- Commercial collectors, whether local or visiting
the area, who may have taken up commercial bait
digging for a short period only, be inexperienced
and inefficient, and/or have no concern for local
This range of user groups will
pose constraints on the effectiveness of several
of the available management options. Implementation
of voluntary codes or agreements by the last two
groups listed above is likely to be most difficult
to achieve. Where visiting anglers take bait, or
collectors travel long distances to bait beds, it
is extremely difficult to contact them through local
education or interpretation initiatives. A national
campaign, utilising tackle shops and angling press
would be more helpful. Additionally, it is possible
that a few bait collectors are simply not concerned
with local environmental issues.
Unsuccessful attempts to use either
voluntary forms of agreement or complex compromise
arrangements for regulating incompatible activities
have in the past tended to escalate towards the
most straightforward method of control: simple exclusion
of all collectors from problem areas. This draconian
solution has the merit of being easy to understand,
and relatively easy to police and enforce on site.
It does, however, have serious limitations, including
the diversion of collection effort to other unmanaged
areas, potentially leading to more serious problems
elsewhere, and very expensive legal fees if challenged
by collectors in court. As such, it should only
be considered as a solution of last resort.
Enforcement of legal controls on
shoreline species collection has sometimes been
hampered by the rather cloudy legal position of
the public right to collect shoreline species. There
is also an overall unwillingness on the part of
authorities to resort to the expense of a prosecution
(and subsequent appeals) to test the law. Recent
judgements in case law have still not fully resolved
the legal position.
Participation in local management
Closure of bait beds
Prohibition of commercial bait
Development of regional bait
collection management strategies