Ireland’s hotels and restaurants are being reminded by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) of the role they play in supporting full compliance with national seafood regulations.
Since 1st January 2015 regulations have been in place governing the maximum and minimum sizes for lobster that can be harvested for sale in Ireland, while regulations already exist regarding the minimum sizes of crab and whelk. The regulations are amongst a series of conservation measures to support the long term sustainability of Ireland’s inshore fisheries.
Under the new regulations only lobsters with a carapace¹ between 87mm and 127mm can be sold. Irish brown crabs must measure a minimum of 130mm while whelks must measure more than 45mm along their long axis and 25 mm across their broad axis.
The independent regulator, which is responsible for the enforcement of sea-fisheries and seafood safety law, is also urging the hospitality industry to be vigilant where crab claws or toes are offered for sale without crab bodies by primary catchers. As well as being an animal welfare issue the illegal practice of declawing of crabs can mask undersized catches where the bodies of the crabs are not available to measure.
Dr Susan Steele, Chair, SFPA said: “We are asking hotels and restaurants to be fully aware of the provenance of the seafood they source. They are responsible for the size compliance of the animals they sell so they should satisfy themselves that they meet all national regulations. Where they are offered only crab toes or claws, we would urge them to ask about the remainder of the animals. Mass processing of crab toes/claws after landing can only take place in an approved establishment and all produce from that establishment should come with an approval number.”
She added: “Ireland enjoys a reputation worldwide for its seafood, which features prominently on the menus of many hotels and restaurants across the country. Sustainable management of our valuable inshore fisheries is essential to protect this reputation and ensure fish for future generations. The hospitality industry has an important role to play and we are asking for their full support and compliance with these national regulations.”