Sustainable Sunday’s – V-Notching

Sustainable Sunday’s is a new series where we are looking into sustainable fishing methods and giving you tips on how to live more sustainably. We’ll be covering a variety of topics from how to pick the right fish, to looking at how fishermen are helping to secure our seas for the future. 

In today’s blog we’re going to be looking at V-notching.

V-notching is a great way for fishermen to look after our lobster stocks – If a fisherman finds a ‘berried hen’ (a female with eggs) he can cut a V shape into the tail and return her to the sea. When another fishermen finds her, he knows shes a breeding female due to this ‘V’ marking in the tail and has to return her to the sea. This V cutting can last a few years (longer than she would be holding her eggs) until she moults it out; hopefully by this point she will have more eggs on her and can be re-V-notched!

Tips for Fishermen:
If you’re a fisherman that would like to start V-notching, we recommend getting in touch with your local IFCA – they might be able to supply you with V-notch clippers or you can buy them for around £16 online . Alternatively use sharp scissors/pen knife to create the V. Make sure to create the V in the 2nd or 4th uropod on the tail fan, avoiding the centre as this can damage their digestive tract and only v notch just before the lobster is returned to the water to avoid blood loss. 
You may find this video useful:

And if you would like to read more have a look here:

Tips for consumers:
If you ever buy a lobster, either from a fisherman or a restaurant and its tail has been destroyed it can be a good idea to refuse the lobster and question the tail. Sometimes a V-notched female may have been landed illegally, and by destroying the tail it is a way to cover it up. You may be making your supplier aware of this issue too.

If you would like any more information on V-notching then please get in touch!