20
Dec
12

Row escalates over SNH’s decision to authorise clam traps

The controversial clam trapEarlier in December we blogged about SNH’s decision to authorise the use of clam-type traps under the 2013 General Licences, despite the concerns of a number of organisations that these traps are likely to cause injury to non-target species, especially raptors (see here).

This story has now been picked up by the BBC (see here). According to this article, at least two organisations (SSPCA and RSPB) have called on SNH to reconsider its decision on clam traps. Judging by the comment attributed to SNH’s Licensing Manager, Ben Ross, a U-turn looks unlikely:

We will commission objective research on these traps; if the research shows they pose unacceptable risks, we will then prohibit them“.

Surely this is the wrong way around? You do the research to assess their suitability BEFORE you decide to approve their use, not afterwards!

But that’s not the end of the story. When we first blogged about SNH’s decision to approve these traps, we also raised concerns that SNH had appeared to ignore the recommendations made to them by all groups except those with an interest in game-shooting (blog article here). We asked blog readers to contact SNH and ask to see ALL the consultation responses they’d received, so that we could assess which groups’ recommendations had been accepted and which had been ignored. This was a successful tactic – in a letter to consultees yesterday, SNH wrote this:

Following our response letter to the consultation we received a number of information requests for us to publish all responses that we received to the consultation. This email is to let you know that we are legally obliged to provide this information and as such will be publishing it on our website either later today or tomorrow……..As we have received a number of requests for the information, we will make the responses available on our website“.

So well done and thank you to those of you who made the effort to send an email request to SNH. We look forward to seeing the consultation responses published on the SNH website later today.

Let’s also not forget that the written answers are due tomorrow in response to MSP Claire Baker’s parliamentary questions about the use of these clam-type traps (see here).

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