Qatar Airways: Book Flights & Travel the World
Book flights & Fly with Qatar Airways. Receive exclusive air fares and travel the world with an award-winning airline.

Organised gangs get huge profits from illegal shellfish trade

Razor clams. (Photo: Stock File)

Click on the flag for more information about United KingdomUNITED KINGDOM 
Monday, September 15, 2014, 02:10 (GMT + 9)
Scotland Police warn that illegal fishing of shellfish is profiting eastern European offenders, who make up to GBP 65,000 (USD 105,434) a day.
According to police reports, divers working for organised crime gangs are electrifying the seabed off the coast of Argyll and selling the illegally harvested razor clams on the black market in Asia, The Scotsman reported.
A detective responsible for Argyll, Bute and West Dunbartonshire explained that the practice was difficult to stop as unlicensed boats destroyed evidence of electro-fishing, which has been illegal since 1998, over the side of the boat when police approached, Daily Mail informed.
The police had evidence that these offenders have a generator on the boat and deploy electrodes and probes on to the seabed and run them along the seabed, between 10 and 15 metres deep. The electricity stuns the razor clams and divers walk behind the boat scooping the clams up.
'Many of the divers are known to be of eastern European origin and there is concern that they are being exploited and their personal safety is in danger - because of the proximity of electricity in water. There is a major concern that we will be faced with fatalities in the waters off Argyll and Bute,' Police Scotland remarked.
It has been estimated that illegally active fishing boats are taking between 500-600 kg of razor clams a day, while a comparable fishing boat on a legitimate fishing trip might recover between one and two kilos a day.
As a measure to stop this illegal and dangerous practice for divers and consumers, a multi-agency operation run from Oban, involving Police Scotland, Marine Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council and the Health and Safety Executive, has been launched to clamp down on electro-fishing for razor clams off the coast, Herald Scotlandreported.
Besides, last month new measures were introduced to tackle the illegal fishing method, including new licensing means vessels inspections by Marine Scotland officers to ensure equipment capable of electro-fishing is not installed.
At the launch of the measures, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Electro-fishing for razor clams remains illegal and may endanger those working in the industry as well as stocks of razor clams and the wider environment.”
“We need strong scientific evidence on the impact of electrofishing on the wider marine environment before we will consider supporting any bid to relax European laws that prohibit it," Lochhead concluded.
Shellfish farmed in unclassified areas are deemed unfit for human consumption and cannot enter the food chain. Consumers who eat illegally harvested products may suffer nausea, blindness and in severe cases respiratory paralysis or death.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *