Inshore fisheries and coastal communities

Policy actions  2 of 4

Reducing gear conflict and marking static gear

Gear conflict

As the intensity of use of the marine environment has increased, occurrences of fishing gear conflict at a local level has 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 taskforce on gear conflict was established to examine if the current arrangements for dealing with gear conflict were fit for purpose. The taskforce concluded its examination and reported to Ministers in Summer 2014.

The Report on Gear Conflict was discussed by the Inshore Fisheries Management and Conservation stakeholder group at a September 2014 meeting, where members supported Marine Scotland’s aim to hold a public consultation on options to help improve the reporting and resolution of gear conflict.

Consultation and outcome

As a result, the consultation on measures to tackle gear conflict in Scottish inshore waters was launched on 14 November 2014.

The consultation report 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.

Static gear marking

We published best practice guidance for marking static fishing gear that sets out safe and effective marking practices in August 2018.

The guidance is applicable to gear deployed within 12 nautical miles of Scottish baselines and aims to reduce accidental gear conflict and entanglement of propeller shafts, as gear that meets the standards set out will be more visible.

In addition, Marine Scotland has introduced the Marking of Creels (Scotland Order) in June 2020 which bans the use of equipment not manufactured for the purpose of marking fishing creels. This outlaws the use of inappropriate items such as milk cartons, netted footballs or similar items. Poorly marked creels can result in safety issues and contribute to gear conflict. This legislation is only applicable to Licensed Fishermen however in the interest of reducing gear conflict we would advise Unlicensed Fishermen to also adhere.

The Marking of Creels (Scotland) Order also requires licensed fishermen to mark their creels with the PLN of the deploying registered fishing vessel. These measures came into force on 20th June 2020.

More info on static gear marking.

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