Publication - Consultation responses

New controls in queen scallop fishery: summary of consultation responses

Published: 18 Aug 2017
Marine Scotland Directorate
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

The consultation concerned the fishery in ICES divisions VIa (north coast of Northern Ireland and western Scotland) and VIIa (Irish Sea).

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New controls in queen scallop fishery: summary of consultation responses
Analysis Of Consultation Responses, Part 2: Additional Management Options For Consideration In The Medium To Long Term

20 page PDF

533.9 kB

Analysis Of Consultation Responses, Part 2: Additional Management Options For Consideration In The Medium To Long Term

This section summarises responses to the second part of the consultation, which sought views on longer term management options that the queen scallop working group did not agree on for immediate introduction. It was felt however that stakeholders' views should be gathered on their potential use, in order to better inform future management considerations for the fishery.

Proposal 4: Effort Restrictions

Views were sought on whether controls to manage the level of fishing activity (effort) should be introduced and, if so, what management approach should be taken, in response to indications that effort in the queen scallop fishery is currently at too high a level. The consultation stated that, if effort restrictions were to be introduced, this would be in addition to entry restrictions and should apply to all size classes of fishing vessel.

13. Do you agree that effort controls should be introduced in the queen scallop fishery?
Option # of responses % of responses
a) Yes 33 100%
b) No 0 0%

Respondents were unanimous in their support for this proposal, believing that the stock was under increasing pressure, and allowing effort to remain uncontrolled would put it at further risk. They also agreed that effort needed to be controlled in addition to restricting entry, and that any controls should apply to all vessels:

"Effort controls are key to securing the future of the fishery, and are long overdue - unless a balance is struck between effort and the resilience of stocks to remain sustainable, the stock will become depleted." [Individual respondent]

"Even limiting numbers does not mean effort is lowered as the qualified boats would just fish more. Also I doubt if the numbers will be low as there is too much vested interest and influence so effort control would be needed." [Individual respondent]

"At present the only effort controls are the Western Water regime for the over 15m vessels. While this class of vessel has the greatest impact on the stocks there is a need to control the number of days for other classes of boats when fishing for a pressured stock." [Manx Fish Producers Organisation]

14. If Yes, which of the following is preferred for development as a future effort management option in the queen scallop fishery?
Option # of responses % of responses
a) Days at Sea scheme. 15 56%
b) Temporal fishing restriction, e.g. no weekend fishing, no night fishing. 12 44%

Respondents were split on a preference for how effort should be managed, with a small majority favouring a Days at Sea scheme as they believed it would offer more flexibility. They felt temporal restrictions would constrain the activity of smaller vessels which was subject to weather conditions, while weekend or overnight bans would make fishing offshore uneconomical for larger vessels:

"Weather often dictates the fishing patterns of vessels so a weekend ban would be unfair on the smaller boats who can only go fishing in certain conditions. It would be fairer to have a days at sea regime so that the fishermen can make their own decisions." [Manx Fish Producers Organisation]

"Weekend and overnight bans aren't good for this fishery as need time and frequent landings to make any money." [Individual respondent]

Those who supported temporal restrictions felt that they would be easier to enforce and more effective at reducing effort than a Days at Sea scheme, which they did not think had worked well elsewhere:

"Days at sea does not work as can be seen by the failure of Western Water days to control the pressure on the queenie stocks. Temporal restriction such as 12 hour fishing days will immediately reduce effort." [Individual respondent]

"This is a better option for taking pressure off stock." [Individual respondent]

"Easier for fishery protection patrols to police." [Individual respondent]

Proposal 5: Introduction of Quotas for the Queen Scallop Fishery

Views were sought on whether a quota system should be introduced, which would be used to control the quantity of queen scallops that can be taken from the fishery. The consultation stated that determining an appropriate quota would require stock assessment, which has not yet been conducted for the whole fishery.

15. Do you support the principle of developing a long-term quota system for the queen scallop fishery?
Option # of responses % of responses
a) Yes 21 64%
b) No 12 36%

A majority of respondents supported this proposal, believing that it would be a good method for managing the fishery and beneficial for the stock. Several respondents also agreed that a quota system would need to be informed by evidence gathered through stock assessments:

"Quotas are now part of the wider fishery management across all stocks so why not for queen scallops to make control measures more enforceable." [Individual respondent]

"Although a quota system is highly reliant on accurate stock assessments and evidence base, this method is a good form of stock management." [Individual respondent]

Those opposed to quotas gave different reasons for doing so. These included: negative experiences with the system used in the Isle of Man; that it would favour larger vessels; and that other measures were sufficient to manage the fishery:

"Experience so far of the model being used in the IoM is negative, and needs much more catching sector input to make it meaningful. Therefore extending that across the Irish sea is not desirable." [Scottish Fishermen's Federation]

"No as this favours large vessels fishing 24 hours a day not affected by weather as much as smaller vessels who may fish more sustainably over a longer period of time." [Individual respondent]

"There should be no set quota and especially not individual quotas. If you have the other restrictions in place to control effort then you should not need quotas." [Individual respondent]

Proposal 6: Introduction of Closed Areas for the Queen Scallop Fishery

Views were sought on whether spatial management (i.e. closed areas) should be used in the queen scallop fishery. The consultation suggested how this could be used to protect areas inhabited by high density populations of adult or juvenile queen scallops, or habitats where juveniles were likely to settle to grow.

16. Do you support the principle of developing spatial management options (closed areas) for the queen scallop fishery?
Option # of responses % of responses
a) Yes 25 78%
b) No 7 22%

A majority of respondents supported this proposal, with several citing the Isle of Man as a good example of using spatial management. However, it was remarked that the planning process for introducing closures would need to be supported by scientific evidence, and would have to consider the possibility of displacement to other areas:

"Totally - these have been used to great effect in the Isle of Man who are using an ever-expanding closed area system to good effect." [Individual respondent]

"Spatial closures should be part of a management plan but should be flexible and based on robust science and evidence. Spatial closures must however take displacement of fishing effort in to consideration." [Individual respondent]

Those opposed to this proposal believed that closed areas were not working in Isle of Man, saying they were difficult to enforce and had caused displacement. They also felt that the science currently available wasn't adequate for planning any closures:

"We have them on the Isle of Man and there is no evidence that they work. Also they displace effort to everywhere else." [Individual respondent]

"Spatial management is a great theory but too much guess work involved, effort controls are the best way to enhance the fishery." [Individual respondent]

Proposal 7: Introduction of Gear Specific Management in the Queen Scallop Fishery

Views were sought on whether the two main methods of fishing for queen scallops - dredge and otter trawl - should be managed separately, with specific measures being developed for each gear type.

17. Do you support the principle of developing equivalent, gear-specific management options for the queen scallop fishery?
Option # of responses % of responses
a) Yes 24 77%
b) No 7 23%

A majority of respondents supported this proposal, with most believing that the two methods required separate management but that vessels should be able to fish using either method. However, a number of responses also called for net-only fishing areas, or for dredge activity to be prohibited entirely:

"As the 2 types of gear are so different it seems sensible to have separate management options. However, you should be able to switch between the 2 types of fishing as many vessels use both methods, within a given year, to target queenies. If you qualify overall for access to the queenie fishery it should not be on the basis of either net or dredge, nor should you have to make a choice at the beginning of a given period." [Manx Fish Producers Organisation]

"Net area fisheries only zones, it's been my experience that well managed fisheries that have lasted several years can be destroyed in no time quite quickly by a large nomadic dredge boat fishery." [Individual respondent]

"Nets not dredges should be used. Targeting with dredges destroys the benthos and increases bycatch. Nets reduce this." [Individual respondent]

Those opposed felt that gear-specific management was unnecessary as other measures would be sufficient and apply to vessels regardless of fishing method used. There were also concerns that it could constrain gear innovation:

"I don't really see where this is leading. Effort control should cover all really if a boat has 18 dredges that's their choice but the curfews on fishing and MLS are the same for all." [Individual respondent]

"Modifications can be made without State interference to improve and innovate for efficiency and effectiveness. Imposing design constraints might quash innovation and cause displacement without due cause." [South Western Fish Producer Organisation Ltd]


Email: Marine Scotland, Inshore Fisheries,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
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