More than 40,000 lobsters were v-notched in 2022, Bord Iascaigh Mhara has revealed, making it the highest recorded figure since legislation began in 1995.
622 lobsters weighing 410kg were v-notched in 2022 in Co Donegal.
V-notching is a conservation tool carried out by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) trained Regional Officers around the coast of Ireland. Its primary aim is to protect female lobsters, giving them an opportunity to spawn and replenish stock while they are v-notched. The process is simple and involves removing a v-shaped notch from one of the flaps (uropods) on either side of the central part of the animal’s tail (telson) when it is first caught. If caught again, v-notched lobsters cannot be retained or offered for sale but must be returned to the sea where they and their offspring contribute to future recruitment.
Ian Lawler, BIM Development Manager, applauded the efforts of fishers involved in this year’s programme, supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
“The 2022 v-notching programme was an exceptional year for all involved from the fishers who participated to the BIM regional staff who visited 94 piers along the Irish coast to v-notch lobsters throughout the year. It is a great collective effort that is enhancing the sustainability of a fishery that is the cornerstone of the Irish inshore sector.”
The 40, 339 lobsters (weighing almost 28 tonnes) released in 2022 represent over 302 million larvae that will be released each time the lobsters spawn.
Irish lobster is highly sought after in Ireland and in continental markets, particularly in France, Spain and Portugal within foodservice and for home consumption. Lobster is in particular demand at Christmas and during other key holidays.