The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change (DEHCC) has implemented a temporary ban on Common Octopus fishing as from yesterday to May 31, inclusive.
This follows on from last year’s successful implementation of a temporary fishing ban in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW).
The measure has been discussed and agreed in consultation with the Fishing Working Group set up under the Marine Protection Regulations, where all the fishing associations are represented.
This year’s initiative extends the prohibition to six weeks and introduces a new conservation measure whereby the maximum catch limit will also be restricted to five kilograms per person or vessel per day for a period of two weeks after the fishing prohibition ceases.
The maximum catch restriction will therefore be enforced from the June 1 to the June 14.
“The objective of the temporary prohibition is to protect Common Octopus at a time when they are laying eggs, and so improve breeding success,” a Gibraltar Government statement read.
“The measure builds on the introduction in 2014 of a minimum weight (1.5kg) for Common Octopus caught in BGTW.”
“ Scientists from the Department expect that the measure will result in an increased number and size of Common Octopus found in Gibraltar’s coastal waters,” the Government added.
The Department’s Environmental Protection and Research Unit will be regularly patrolling Gibraltar’s coastline to ensure the prohibition is adhered to.
Other species, including Grouper species and the Common Sea Bass, will also be subjected to similar conservation measures, in consultation with the Working Group, as part of the DEHCC’s wider Marine Conservation Strategy for BGTW.