Creel fishing: effort study

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

1. Introduction

To implement effective fisheries management in Scotland's inshore waters there is a requirement for better information on fishing effort within the static gear sector, in particular, those vessels fishing with creels. Fishing effort describes the amount of fishing gear used on a fishing ground over a given unit of time [1] . Measuring effort is important for assessing the environmental sustainability of fish stocks and the socioeconomic efficiency of fishing activity. In the case of the former, too much fishing effort increases the risk of overfishing, damaging the reproductive capacity of the stock and impacting on its long-term productivity. In the case of the latter, too much fishing effort will reduce 'catch per unit effort' ( CPUE) the catch rate per creel, which means each unit is not fishing at its optimal capacity reducing the social and economic returns per unit of gear in the water. To mitigate the risks of either scenarios it is important to understand the amount of fishing effort being deployed on different fishing grounds throughout the year.

This report presents data collected to address four questions on creel effort: 1) what fishing effort is currently being deployed in the Nephrops and crab and lobster fisheries in Scotland; 2) what is the spatial and seasonal distribution of effort in these fisheries?; 3) are fishers concerned about the sustainability of these fisheries? and; 4) what management approaches are required to improve the sustainability and performance of these fisheries?

Data were collected in four regions in Scotland by interviewing fishers about their current creel fishing activity and gathering their views on management. These data were analysed and results were presented to wider marine stakeholders at two one-hour workshops on fisheries management in order to solicit their views on future management.


Email: Estelle Jones,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Back to top