Sark considers live wrasse export ban

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Channel Island looks to move to a total ban.

The BBC reports that Sark is set to become the first place in the British Isles to ban the export of live wrasse.

Many farms are using cleaner fish such as wrasse or lumpfish to clean lice off farmed salmon in Scotland, as an all-natural (and effective) alternative to chemicals.

But now Sark – a tiny Crown dependency which was given to an Elizabethan nobleman on the condition he keep it free of pirates 450 years ago – is looking at a total ban on exports of the fish. Until 2008, Sark was governed by a feudal constitution.

Sark’s Agriculture, Environment & Sea Fisheries Committee wrote that: “As stocks of live Wrasse fall, people are looking further afield for stocks. At present Sark is only covered by the requirement to have a health and safety certificate for the state of the fish exported; this being issued by Defra. The wrasse are the cleansing department for locally caught fish so if stocks dwindle, the health of the local fish is affected. Below is the proposition to amend the 1996 Ordinance to ban the export of any live species of Wrasse from our 0 to 3-mile territorial limit.”

Sark Shore fishing guide Roger Knight told SalmonBusiness over a phone call that: “There was just one person doing it. He had around 300 pots (that could catch one at a time), which clocks up over time. The wrasse are a valuable commodity but nobody knows what’ll happen if you remove the fish. We’ve got a big healthy population of them down here.”

When asked if Sark’s parliament (Chief Pleas) would follow through with the ban, Knight said: “Things move fast around here if they need to.”