NIFCA V-notching Scheme

 

What is V-notching?

V-notching involves removing a V shape piece of exoskeleton from the Uropod, the inner tail flap of female lobsters of reproductive size (usually above the minimum landing size 87mm carapace length). While a female lobster retains this v-notch she is protected from the local fishery by both national legislation (Statutory Instrument 2000 No. 874) and NIFCA Byelaw 3. Crustacea Conservation  which makes it illegal to land a v-notched lobster.

The History of the NIFCA V-notching Scheme

The NIFCA (then Northumberland Sea Fisheries Committee) V-notching Scheme began in 2000 and has been carried out every year since. NIFCA v-notch and release back into the sea, approximately 1,000 female lobsters every year totalling 19,450 lobsters since the scheme began.

Benefits of the NIFCA V-notching Scheme

During NIFCA’s Lobster Stock Assessment Surveys (March 2014 – March 2016), 4.64% of lobsters caught throughout the district, which were over the minimum landing size were v-notched. This means that 4.64% of the landable catch during this time period was protected by v-notching and this figure may now be higher due to the 2016 v-notching scheme when a further 1176 lobsters were v-notched.

The v-notching scheme has always received positive support and feedback from the fishing industry, with many attributing an increase in juvenile abundance increased in recent years, to the v-notching scheme (Duffill-Telsnig 2014). Many fishers also contribute to the v-notching scheme and voluntarily v-notch berried females whilst at sea.