LETTER: Little lobsters

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From Ms Georgina Hobhouse

Sir: Regarding Scott Hughes's examples of seemingly ridiculous rules and regulations emanating from Brussels (Section Two, 2 February), the catch and marketing of wild lobsters is indeed regulated with a minimum size. Far from being a "bizarre regulation" invented by Eurocrats, however, this is a measure designed not to protect the consumer, but to protect the lobster species.

The theory is that by ruling that nothing below the length of 85mm (this is not total length but the shell length of the main body) should be "landed", the fishery will be protected and small lobsters, which are normally caught alive and unharmed, can be returned to the sea to grow a little more and, hopefully, reproduce.

It is actually arguable that the minimum size of 85mm is not large enough, as it seems that very few female lobsters as small as that have actually yet produced eggs: the female carries her eggs for nearly a year, and in these waters I have never yet seen an undersize female lobster with "berries". In fact, at the moment many lobster fishermen on the west coast of Scotland are voluntarily adopting a minimum landing size of nearly 100mm.

Yours faithfully,

Georgina Hobhouse

Isle of Colonsay, Argyll

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