From Alan Deeming, East Cowes:

I read, with interest, the informative article by Andy Butler on Lumpsucker fish. (CP 05-02-21).

Unfortunately, it gives the incorrect impression that wrasse are no longer used as cleaner fish in salmon farms.

Having decimated wrasse stocks around other coasts of the UK, a few years ago, attention was directed to stocks in the western English channel.

Current information from the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (which regulates fishing in our area) shows that the number of live wrasse removed from just its own area of responsibility to be 32,825 in 2018, 42,295 in 2019 and 34,299 in 2020.

It is likely that much higher quantities were additionally being removed from inshore waters between the SIFCA western boundary and the far south west of Cornwall.

Bureaucracy means that all those wrasse have to be killed after a year or so and have to be replaced by fresh ones.

The figures are even more shocking when one realises that they don’t include the numbers of wrasse that are retained dead for use as pot bait by commercial fishermen.

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