Fishing industry warns against cuttlefish size rules

Cuttlefish in a box packed with ice
Cuttlefish is a type of squid popular in European markets

Fishing industry leaders in Cornwall have expressed concern over the proposed introduction of a minimum landing size for cuttlefish.

The species, which is a type of squid, is popular in European markets.

The fishing industry says new rules would lead to wastage and damage the industry.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says it is considering a management plan for cuttlefish, as there is currently none in place.

'Low stock levels'

According to the Marine Conservation Society, there are "indications that populations are too small and fishing pressure is too high" in the English Channel.

Reported landings in 2021 were 2,616 tonnes in the UK, considerably below the five-year average of 4,531 tonnes, which it said "may be due to low stock levels".

The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)

Defra is being urged to agree other methods of stock control such as rotating the fishing grounds, which the fishing industry says would be more effective and acceptable.

Chris Ranford from the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, said: "This is the whole point of actually working with the fishing industry, to come up with good ideas, practical ways to manage the fishery.

"The industry wants to do it.

"It's got its own ideas and ways of doing that, and minimum landing size isn't one of them."

An aerial shot of a fishing boat at sea
One fishing spokesman said minimum landing size were not the answer

Paul Trebilcock, managing director of Cornish trawler owners WH Stevenson said a proposal for a minimum size was "crazy".

He said the difference between a legal and an illegal cuttlefish at 24cm (9.4 in) long was barely noticeable, and throwing back dead cuttlefish made no sense.

South Devon MP Anthony Mangnall said he was confident that he could persuade the government to drop the minimum landing size idea, which he described as “the wrong thing to do”.

The government is expected to make a decision on the cuttlefish management plan before Christmas.

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