Options for managing intertidal species collection activity

Management option Advantages Disadvantages
National code of conduct for bait collection
  • Primarily intended to influence the conduct of collection activities, e.g. by voluntary agreement on methodology of collection and informal bag limits. Potentially an extremely important and valuable means of bait collection regulation.
  • Should reduce conflicts with other users.
  • May improve yields.
  • May be self-regulating.
  • Already promoted by several user groups.
  • Must be supported by resources and personnel for education and promotion, on and off-site, particularly for those who are not members of national user groups.
Local/regional code of conduct
  • Potentially an important and valuable means of bait collection regulation. As above, aims may include reducing conflicts (by changing methodology or zoning activity), and improving quality and quantity of stocks.
  • User groups already promote several such codes, often within an estuary management plan or SAC forum.
  • May be self-regulating.
  • Difficult to implement if some collectors are not members of recognised user groups participating in the local management forum, or are based outside the area.
  • Requires significant resource input for on and off-site education and promotion.
Participation of collectors in local management plans
  • The management plan process for MNRs, Estuaries, SACs or other areas provides an unmatched opportunity for discussing and resolving apparent or actual conflicts between intertidal species collection and other coastal uses. It may promote sound management, through any of the techniques listed here.
  • Resources required for long-term commitment to participation in the plan.
Prohibition or licensing of commercial bait collection activities
  • Commercial bait collection is a potential source of conflict among bait collectors and between collectors and other users. It is not part of the public right to fish, but widely tolerated and provides an important source of bait for many anglers.
  • Commercial bait collection may be licensed formally by landowners (who may not, however, regulate competing non-commercial collection activities). A very few collectors have rights to collect bait commercially in specified areas.
  • Extremely difficult to enforce ban because of the difficulty of proving commercial collection in court.
  • Loss of commercial supplies and rising retail bait prices may result in increased recreational bait collection activity and conflict with other users in many locations (collectors may supply retail outlets over a very large area).
Bag limits
  • Intended to conserve stocks and reduce impacts by limiting activity, particularly commercial collection.
  • Generally acceptable to recreational collectors.
  • Very difficult to enforce, even with resources for education and policing.
  • May increase collection effort.
  • No discrimination is possible; all applicants must be issued with licences and conditions applied equally.
  • The application licencing process ensures that all licence holders are informed of management issues and requirements.
  • Successful implementation requires significant resources for education, administration and enforcement.
  • May be voluntary or backed by legislation. Could consist of:
  • permanent exclusion zones (to protect core areas of reserves, recreational beach quality, coastal structures, commercial or recreational shipping infrastructure etc.) or
  • temporary, rotational zonation. The latter is likely to be more acceptable to anglers (because larger quantities of target species may be collected as areas are rotated).
  • Permanent exclusion is more effective because easily understood and cheaper to administer and manage.
  • Rotational zonation is more difficult to enforce and will not protect habitats, coastal structures, or long-lived species.
Closed seasons
  • May prevent damage to bait stocks or other wildlife at vulnerable periods, such as breeding or migrating seasons.
  • Peak bait demand occurs during lugworm breeding and bird migration/ overwintering season.
Closure of bait beds
  • If voluntary agreements fail, complete prohibition of collection at a site is easier for managers to administer and enforce than any other management option.
  • Closure must not completely stop bait collection in an area, but ensure that alternative sources remain accessible.
  • Closure of a bait collection site will increase pressure on stocks and may cause conflicts at sites up to 100 miles away. Requires careful assessment of the effects of closure before introduction.
Improving retail sources of bait
  • Increasing quantities of bait are now available through retail suppliers derived from farmed stocks of native species.
  • Imports of native bait species take place from Ireland and the Netherlands. Such imports are of great importance for angling and if good quality should reduce pressure on local stocks, but should be from sustainably managed stocks.
  • Imports of non-native species (e.g. from Japan or Korea) are illegal and must actively be discouraged among retailers.
  • Import of unmanaged, unsustainable commercially dug worm stocks from other areas is undesirable.
Fisheries legislation
  • Most shellfish already fall under the remit of Sea Fisheries Committees/MAFF and Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department (SERAD).
  • Other species may be added.
  • Fisheries legislation and byelaws are a well-established means of controlling fisheries activities, with Fisheries Officers responsible for policing and enforcement.
  • Limited resources for fisheries management will make enforcement of regulations for non-commercial collection or addition of new species to statutes an extremely low priority.