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Creel Fishing Effort Study

Creel Fishing Effort Study

Thursday, August 31, 2017

ISBN: 9781788511834

Measuring fishing effort is important for assessing the environmental sustainability of fish stocks and the socioeconomic efficiency of fishing activity. This report presents results from interviews carried out in four regions in Scotland with fishers on their current creel fishing activity targeting shellfish, their views on management and two stakeholder workshops on future fisheries management.

Executive Summary

The aim of this work is to define the type and volume of effort being deployed to help inform future management proposals. The survey interviewed 198 creel vessel skippers from four regions, two on the west and two on the east coast of Scotland. The regions on the west coast were selected based on the presents of multiple marine users and those on the east coast due to user conflicts within and between fishing sectors.

Around 10% of the 198 surveyed vessels had high fishing capacity (deploying 2,500 creels), around 30% used medium capacity (deploying around 900 creels) and the remaining 60% had low capacity (deploying between 200-500 creels). The amount of creels deployed was highest for the Nephrops fishery, who use light weight prawn creels but was also high for the crab and lobster fishery on the east coast with a few vessels deploying up to 2,300 of the combined crab and lobster creels.

There was a clear view that current management needs to be reviewed, if not a direct request for management intervention. Most fishers highlighted the need for a flexible system that reflects the hazards and natural complexity of the marine environment, but also regulations tough enough to deal with rule breaking. This report makes two key conclusions: 1) creel fishing is, predominantly, a local issues and any future management should be tackled at the local level, and; 2) Effort monitoring should continue and total effort deployed in Scottish inshore waters quantified.