We are in the middle of the Swedish lobster fishing season. That means lobster pots on pretty much every dive site. Shitloads of lobster pots actually, especially in the first weeks of the season.
So its really refreshing to see live, free lobsters in between all the pots. And so far this season I haven’t been harassed by fishermen accusing me of stealing lobsters and pots when diving. Yeay.
Good fishing spots are also good dive sites. Divers do not take lobsters or mess with anyones pots. We do however a lot when it comes to opening and salvaging lost pots, making sure they are not ghost fishing. So please fishermen, can we just share the good spots?
Lobster fishing is an old tradition on the Swedish west coast, and unfortunately, the lobster population is threatened. To turn this around the Swedish authorities made the following changes to the rules from 2018:
- Pots per sport fisher reduced from 14 to 6
- Pots per commercial fisher reduced from 50 to 40
- The diameter of escape opening increased from 54mm to 60mm
- The minimum size increased from 80mm to 90mm
It will take time to see effects of these actions. So far the only visible effect is less pots on the dive sites.
Norway has made similar changes, and then some. Studies has shown that larger lobster are more reproductive, and Norway has also set a maximum size to save the large ones. Norway is also way ahead of Sweden when it comes to dealing with ghost nets and pots.
With appropriate tools and incentives in place, fishermen and divers together can make a real impact in maintaining a sustainable lobster population.
Norway developed a genius app for reporting lost fishing equipment. The app lets fishermen report lost equipment with the position. Then the divers know where it is, and the government and financial institutions have put in place incentives for dive clubs to salvage lost equipment.
This is a brilliant solution contributing to reduce ghost fishing and recycle usable fishing equipment.