Creel fishing: effort study

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

2. Approach and Survey Sample

Data for this report were obtained from two sources, interviews with static creel fishers and feedback from stakeholder workshops. The interviews with creel fishers were undertaken on the west coast in October to November 2015 and, after requests by industry, extended to the east coast in June to September 2016. The regions surveyed are shown in Figure 1. The regions on the west coast were selected based on the presents of multiple marine users and those on the east coast due to user conflicts within and between fishing sectors.

Lists of all active vessels registered in the four regions were created using the Fisheries Information Network ( FIN), Scotland's central database for fishing activity, and sent to regional fishery offices to review and exclude any vessels not operating at the time of survey. These revised lists became the target list for each regional survey and the aim was to get as close to a census as possible.

Figure 1: Map of survey regions. Region 1 - Achilitibuie to Gairloch (North West); region 2 - Oban to Isle of Mull (South West); region 3 - Buckie to Gourdon (North East); and region 4 - Arbroath to Eyemouth (South East)

Figure 1: Map of survey regions. Region 1 – Achilitibuie to Gairloch (North West); region 2 – Oban to Isle of Mull (South West); region 3 – Buckie to Gourdon (North East); and region 4 – Arbroath to Eyemouth (South East)

Table 1 presents the target population and the achieved survey sample by: number of vessels; landed weight, and; total catch value in 2015. Each interview was undertaken at the quayside with the vessel skipper. The survey collected data on fishing effort, fishing patterns, views on management and lastly each fishing ground and its associated fishing effort were mapped in ArcGIS. Interviews lasted between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Table 1: Target population and achieved sample by vessel number (#), landed weight (tonnes) and landed value (£) in 2015

# Vessels Landed weight (tonnage) Landed value
Regions Target Surveyed % Target Surveyed % Target Surveyed %
1. North West 48 31 65 945 450 47 £2,652,534 £1,354,115 51
2. South West 74 41 55 659 477 72 £2,910,867 £2,043,498 70
3. North East 250 82 33 1,715 1,315 77 £5,152,380 £3,963,801 77
4. South East 164 44 27 1,497 750 50 £5,498,483 £2,892,856 53
Species Target Surveyed* % Target Surveyed* % Target Surveyed* %
WoS Nephrops 100 55 55 369 283 77 £3,320,293 £2,626,997 79
NS crab/lobster 314 126 40 1,823 1,325 73 £7,111,566 £4,661,925 66
WoS crab/lobster 85 39 46 1,255 390 31 £2,327,578 £780,308 34

*These figures total more than the 198 sampled vessels as some vessels took part in more than one fishery. These figures reflect the amount of vessels taken into account in the analysis of each fishery.

The second data set came from two, one-hour stakeholder workshops held at the Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference in Inverness on the 27-28 th April 2017. Due to available time these workshops focused on future management in the crab and lobster fisheries only on both the west and east coasts. The other key fishery, the west coast Nephrops creel fishery, was not discussed. Stakeholders were asked to pre-register for the workshops and each session had around 30 participants from a range of backgrounds including active fishers, industry associations, fishing representatives, community groups and environmental non-government organisations. At each workshop a 20 minute presentation on the results of the fishing effort survey ( Section 3) was followed by a 20 minute round table discussion on particular topics and then 20 minutes group feedback. The topic discussions focused on four areas: 1) suitable legislation to support crab/lobster fisheries management; 2) implementing appropriate management in the crab and lobster fishery: 3) integrating inshore fishing with wider marine spatial management, and; 4) responding to changing consumer demands and market opportunities.

The findings from the data are summarised in five sections, addressing the questions outlined in the introduction and are as follows:

  • Section 3 presents creel effort from the two survey periods from a sample of vessels ( n = 198) and the spatial and seasonal distribution by fishery ( Nephrops and crab/lobster) and coast (East and West Scotland)
  • Section 4 presents catch and effort reporting methods and updates to the current system to improve long term data collection
  • Section 5 presents fishers' ( n = 198) views on the fisheries and their opinions on management
  • Section 6 presents the views from wider stakeholders from the two one-hour workshops on crab and lobster fisheries management
  • Section 7 summarises the key findings from all sections


Email: Estelle Jones,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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