Creel fishing: effort study

Report to assess the environmental sustainability of fish stocks and the socioeconomic efficiency of fishing activity.

Annex 2: Current Management Controls and Summary of Legislative Powers for Inshore Fisheries Management in Scotland

A summary of the main management controls covering brown crab, velvet crab and lobster is set out below:

  • These fisheries are not covered by EU total allowable catch or other such restrictions on the tonnage that can be landed.
  • There is an EU set restriction on annual fishing effort for vessels over 15 metres in length fishing for brown crab in ICES areas V and VI and VII. However, with the exception of Area VII, these provisions have not seen a practical impact on the activity of vessels.
  • The principle method of controlling landings is through minimum landing size regulations which are designed to protect juvenile animals.
  • Commercial fishing for brown crab, velvet crab and lobster is restricted to those vessels which have a shellfish entitlement attached to their fishing licence.
  • Provisions are also in place around the maximum landing size of female lobsters and a 'v-notching' scheme to protect egg-carrying females.
  • There are also local restrictions around the Scottish coast which apply temporal prohibitions on fishing activity.

A summary of the main management controls covering Nephrops creel fishing is set out below:

  • Principally, the Nephrops fishery is managed by an EU set Total Allowable Catch which limits the amount of Nephrops that can be removed each year. This limits the catch that each vessels takes.
  • Minimum landing size provision limits the size of Nephrops that can be landed

Legislative Powers

Scottish Ministers are responsible for the regulation of sea fishing around Scotland within 12 nautical miles and can introduce controls provided that the EU has not already regulated in the area. The main control mechanism for the management of inshore fisheries along with a summary of their scope are listed below:

Inshore Fisheries Act (Scotland) 1984

  • Extends to 6 nautical miles
  • Prohibit fishing for specified descriptions of sea fish
  • Prohibit fishing by specific methods
  • Ministers can state the dates to which prohibitions apply

Seafish Conservation Act 1967

  • Allows for the regulation of the size of sea fish that can be caught
  • Allows for the regulation of regulate of nets and other fishing gear that can be used
  • Prohibit fishing for certain sea fish in specific areas

Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967

  • Allows for the establishment of Regulating Orders - give powers of management over shell fisheries
  • Only one in Scotland (Shetland)

Commercial Licences

  • All commercial fishing vessels must be licensed
  • Conditions can be attached to licences
  • Marine Scotland only licences Scottish vessels

There is a general recognition that the current legislative powers surrounding inshore fisheries management in Scotland is outdated. The current framework allows for Statutory Instruments to be introduced after extensive consultation and scrutiny of management proposals. However, introducing new controls though legislation is usually a time consuming process and, on the whole, does not allow for regional variation.

Management controls can also be introduced by licence condition which is a more responsive than a Statutory Instrument under one of the orders listed above. However, these only apply to Scottish vessels and not visiting vessels from other countries.


Email: Estelle Jones,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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