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brownCrabandGraph A license is required to fish for crabs in Scotland and entitles fishermen to make unlimited landings. Daily landing restrictions apply to vessels not holding such a licence. A minimum landing size of 150 mm and 65 mm carapace width applies for edible crab and velvet crab respectively over most of Scotland. It is illegal to land edible crabs carrying eggs, and there are restrictions on the landing of parts of crabs (eg claws).

In addition to national legislation, the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 provides for the management of certain shellfish stocks (including crabs) at the local level within Regulating Orders. At present Shetland is the only area with a Regulating Order covering crab fishing. New regional inshore management groups are being established in Scotland which will be able to recommend measures tailored to local areas.

Landings information is gathered by the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency. Over the last 30 years or so, landings have increased markedly particularly in the Hebrides and Orkney. The increase has been largely driven by the development of new offshore fisheries.