Inshore fisheries and coastal communities

Policy actions  3 of 4

Protecting shellfish in inshore waters

Landing controls for the crab and lobster fisheries

New landing controls for the Scottish crab and lobster fisheries came into effect on 25 February 2018.

These measures have been brought into force following a public consultation that took place during 2016.

The Specified Crustaceans (Prohibition on Landing, Sale and Carriage) (Scotland) Order 2017.

Scallop conservation measures

New conservation measures for the Scottish King scallop fishery came into force on 1 June 2017:

Measure 1: Minimum Landing Size Increase

  • the minimum landing size (MLS) of King scallops was increased from 100 mm to 105 mm. This applies to all areas of Scotland apart from:
  • the Irish Sea south of 55°N (where the MLS remains at 110 mm)
  • Shetland, which has distinct management arrangements under the Shetland Regulating Order (where the MLS remains at 100 mm)

Measure 2: Dredge Number Restrictions

  • vessels fishing inside 12 nautical miles of the Scottish coast will have to ensure that either:
  • any tow bar deployed is no more than 7.5 metres in length and is capable of carrying no more than 8 dredges per side


  • they have a remote electronic monitoring system installed that will allow Marine Scotland Compliance to inspect the number of dredges being used. Vessels with a system will be able to fish with up to 8 dredges per side in the 0-6 nautical mile area, and with up to 10 dredges per side in the 6-12 nautical mile area.

These management measures are the outcome of the Consultation on New Controls in the Scottish King Scallop Fishery 2014 which took place from 9 October 2014 to 26 January 2015. An analysis report was published in July 2015.

The consultation was informed by A Review of the Scottish Scallop Fishery. This was a report undertaken by Poseidon Consultants that considered:

  • structure and performance of the fleet
  • health of stocks
  • current management and regulation
  • environmental effects of the fishery

Solway cockles

January 2016 update:

As part of our commitment to re-opening the cockle fishery on the Solway, we had drawn up proposals for a further, extended, cockle management study to test in practice the suitability of control measures and to enable Marine Scotland to consider cockle fishing activity at a limited commercial scale.             

During consultative meetings in 2012 and 2013, we agreed with local stakeholders that the fishery will only be re-opened under strict management controls and only if a scientific stock survey confirms there is sufficient abundance to support a fishery. Unfortunately, our recent cockle stock survey has found that, after taking into account the requirements of the local bird life, the cockle biomass is insufficient to enable any commercial fishing at present. 

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