Gear conflict is not an endemic issue in Scottish waters but as the intensity of use of the marine environment has increased, locally-significant occurrences have increasingly come to the attention of Marine Scotland. Gear conflict can occur both within and between fleet sectors and is not conducive to the aim of ensuring fisheries are well managed.
A Task Force on Gear Conflict was established by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment to examine if the current arrangements for dealing with gear conflict were fit for purpose. The Task Force concluded its examination and reported to Ministers in mid-July 2014, and the Report on Gear Conflict was discussed at IFMAC on 30 September 2014, where members supported Marine Scotland’s aim to hold a public consultation on options to help improve the reporting and resolution of gear conflict.
As a result, the consultation on measures to tackle gear conflict in Scottish inshore waters was launched on 14 November 2014 and ran for 12 weeks, closing to responses on 6 February 2015. A report Promoting Best Practice for Inshore Fisheries: a consultation on measures to tackle gear conflict in Scottish inshore waters was published in December 2015 with a suite of measures aimed at enhancing both reporting and recording in order to prevent incidents occurring, and to improve deterrence against deliberate acts of gear vandalism and theft.
Marine Scotland has set up a four week online dialogue page to allow fishermen to comment and/or add ideas, and Marine Scotland to respond, on a draft proposal regarding potential new requirements for static gear within 12 nm. In addition to this dialogue, it is planned that East Coast, West Coast and Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland working groups will meet in May to discuss the draft.
Please register on the dialogue page via this link: Marking of static gear within 12 nautical miles.