Wrasse – Further Update & What You Can Do

During the last couple of weeks more information has been obtained by Devon and Severn IFCA regarding the emerging Live Wrasse Fishery.

It is not illegal to target LIVE wrasse – there is no commercial minimum size or catch limit

Wrasse are required in the farms  at a recommended rate of 1 wrasse to every 20 salmon to control sea lice – in lieu of chemical treatment, which was used in Norway up until a resistance to the treatment built up in 2007/2008 [there was also concern with the chemicals effect on the environment].

The salmon farms are involved with programs “to make themselves self sufficient in  farmed wrasse ” –  The question is WHEN? – this has been said for some time.

There is a relatively small existing commercial interest in wrasse for the table and a larger one for their use as bait for the crab pots.

The mortality rate during transport has apparently been improved

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Wrasse – Update

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Over the last few weeks the DSIFCA officers have been collating what little information is available from the exploitation of live wrasse fisheries in Norway, Ireland, England and Scotland.

As a result, in order to bring in some control of the emerging live wrasse fishery in our area, a consultation document has been issued to holders of potting permits within our area.

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Commercial Wrasse Fishing Crisis


This is a shocking report on how Scottish salmon farmers are decimating our local wrasse stocks.

Special report by our fisheries officer John May.

Recently I attended a meeting of the DSIFCA Bye Law review committee, of which I am an elected member.

The main purpose of the meeting was to finalise details of the committee’s recommendation to ban all forms of netting within estuaries in our area, excepting sand eel seines with restrictions.

Following this there was a brief presentation from the officers regarding the commercial wrasse fishery, that I as a recreational angler found alarming.

The wrasse has no commercial minimum size and no protection on quota.  I remember in the past seeing piles of good sized wrasse caught by nets, being chopped in half for pot bait at Salcombe. I assume that still happens?


The new threat is from Scottish salmon farms, who are looking for huge amounts of live fish to use in the farms to combat disease, assumedly by eating the parasites?

The initial information feedback is mind boggling, but probably conservative.

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