September 2017: Cornwall IFCA live wrasse fishery guidence

Over the last two years a new fishery for live wrasse has emerged in Cornwall. The wrasse, which are exported live to Scotland, are used as cleaner fish to manage sea-lice in salmon farms. Sea-lice infestation on salmon reared in sea cages is a worldwide problem which has traditionally been managed with organophosphorus pesticides. An alternative solution has been to introduce other species of sea fish into salmon cages to pick off and feed on the sea-lice that are attached to salmon scales.

We are aware that there has been considerable interest in and concerns raised about this new fishery. Currently in Cornwall there is a very limited number of small vessels actively engaged in this emerging fishery. Cornwall IFCA has been working closely with Southern IFCA and Devon and Severn IFCA, as well with the fishermen, the buyers and the salmon farm operators who are the eventual customers for these fish. Over the past 18 months Cornwall IFCA has undertaken a considerable programme of research into this fishery. A report on the first year’s research will be presented to the December Authority meeting of Cornwall IFCA, with recommendations for the development of management options in the very near future.  

In the interim Cornwall IFCA has agreed the following guidance for the commercial exploitation of live wrasse.  This guidance is a voluntary code agreed with the industry and forms the first step towards managing this fishery.  As the process for developing management options progresses, there will be a wider programme of informal consultation with all stakeholders interested in this fishery and these species. 

Click here to view the live wrasse fishery guidance.
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