Saturday 20 January 2018 04:59:52 PM

New Wildlife Crime Leaflet To Protect The Common Skate
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A new leaflet was launched today to raise awareness about the Common Skate and to remind recreational sea anglers that it is a protected species in Northern Ireland.

Part of the ongoing ‘Watch out for Wildlife Crime’ public awareness campaign by the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime NI (PAW NI) the new guidance aims to better protect our Common Skate.

Common Skate is an endangered species and is protected in Northern Ireland out to six nautical miles.  While once abundant, it has become very rare in UK shallow seas and in European waters.

It is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly take, injure or kill Common Skate and sea anglers must not deliberately target Common Skate.  The maximum penalty on summary conviction for such an offence is a fine of £5,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.

Speaking at today’s launch of the new leaflet at the Coastal Zone in Portrush, Marine Scientist at DAERA Dr. Joanne Hanna said: “The new leaflet on the Common Skate is a great opportunity to raise awareness about this protected species. With the support of recreational sea anglers we hope that this magnificent fish will continue to return to its former haunts around Northern Ireland.”

PSNI wildlife liaison officer, Emma Meredith, welcoming the launch of the leaflet said: “We take all reports of wildlife crime seriously and are pleased to be working with our partners within the PAW group. This is a wonderful initiative to raise awareness about this species.”

PAW NI is a group which helps statutory and non-government organisations to work together to combat wildlife crime. The objectives of PAW NI are to:

* raise awareness of wildlife legislation and the impacts of wildlife crime;

* help and advise on wildlife crime and regulatory issues; and

* make sure wildlife crime is tackled effectively.

The Department has been the chair/secretariat of PAW NI since its formation in 2007 and PSNI is the vice chair.  With over 20 members and an estimated wider audience, through the members’ followers, of well over 250,000 people, PAW NI has a significant reach across Northern Ireland.

More information on the work of the PAW can be found at:

http://www.gov.uk/government/groups/partnership-for-action-against-wildlife-crime#scotland-wales-and-northern-ireland

Information on Marine Wildlife licensing for anyone involved in schemes/projects for Common Skate is available on the DAERA website at:

http://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/marine-wildlife-licensing

To report a wildlife crime for Common Skate please call DAERA on: 02890 569262 or the PSNI on 101.