Publication - FOI/EIR release

Marine Scotland - incidents of fisheries spatial management rules: EIR release

Published: 19 Jul 2019

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Published:
19 Jul 2019
Marine Scotland - incidents of fisheries spatial management rules: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01530
Date received: 26 Jun 2019
Date responded: 18 Jul 2019
Information requested

You asked for

  • The number of incidents reported to Marine Scotland of suspected or actual infringements (hereafter ‘incidents’) of fisheries spatial management rules, seasonal and permanent relating to the Inshore Fishing Order 2004 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2004/276/schedule/1/made) excluding those relating to MPAs provided in our prior request (FoI/19/01324) since 16 August 2015 until 25th May;
  • The number of reported incidents subsequently investigated by Marine Scotland which led to an enforcement action, and a breakdown of the type of any enforcement action taken (eg Fixed Penalty Notice, public prosecution);
  • Where enforcement action is taken, to state the name of the area (eg Loch Gairloch) which relates to each enforcement action being taken ;
  • The number of individual vessels these incidents relate to, including those reported to Marine Scotland between 16 August 2015 to 25th May;
  • The names of the MPAs in which these incidents have been reported, and the number of incidents reported at each MPA. (we presume this to mean relevant closed area, rather than MPA);
  • The number of incidents reported relating to fishing with a) trawling gear, b) dredging gear and c) creeling gear d) any other form of fishing;
  • The total number of such incidents occurring in each year, including and since 2015.
Response

I enclose a copy of the information you requested.

Points to note in terms of reports:

  • The information sought is not recorded specifically to identify numbers of suspected incursions for the Inshore Fishing Order SSI 276/2004.  The search results are therefore the result of keyword searches
  • The Marine Scotland Intelligence database is purged every year, to ensure that information that is no longer of use is removed and not kept for longer than necessary.  The last purge was at the start of June 2019 so no data prior to June 2016 is available;
  • Reports are seldom “real time” but often reported after the event so the prospect of immediate action is reduced;
  • A report does not mean or confirm that illegal activity of any kind has taken place, further investigation might be needed to confirm this;
  • A report does not mean or confirm there is even a vessel in the closed area, or in a certain section of the closed area, further investigation might be needed to confirm this;
  • Vessels might transit through some of the areas in order to access a port so there will be fishing vessels moving through the areas quite legitimately;
  • There is seldom a clear “line of sight” through a single report all the way to enforcement action.  This means that it is not usually possible to say that someone suspected something, that something was then reported, that led to an investigation, and there was a subsequent prosecution for that something originally reported.  This may be because something is generally reported after the event.
  • When an asset has been tasked to follow up reports it usually provides a mechanism for gathering further intelligence which might then form the basis of enforcement action and the original report itself is unlikely to form part of that enforcement action.
  • Reports feed into the risk assessment and tasking process and when an asset has been tasked it usually provides a mechanism for gathering further intelligence which might then form the basis of further enforcement action;
  • A single report might relate to multiple vessels, and multiple reports may all relate to the same event or a single vessel. 
  • Some reports may either misidentify the activity of the vessel or the method of fishing it is suspected is being engaged in.
  • Reports received are taken at face value and accuracy cannot be verified until followed up at a later stage.

The number of incidents reported to Marine Scotland of suspected or actual infringements (hereafter ‘incidents’) of fisheries spatial management rules, seasonal and permanent relating to the Inshore Fishing Order 2004 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2004/276/schedule/1/made) excluding those relating to MPAs provided in our prior request (FoI/19/01324) since 16 August 2015 until 25th May.

The number of reports of suspected infringements in respect of the Inshore Fishing (Prohibition of Fishing and Fishing Methods) (Scotland) Order 2004 covering the period where data is available is 22.

The number of reported incidents subsequently investigated by Marine Scotland which led to an enforcement action, and a breakdown of the type of any enforcement action taken (eg Fixed Penalty Notice, public prosecution)

As already mentioned above in the “points to note”, there is seldom a clear “line of sight” from a single report all the way through to enforcement action.  This means that it is not usually possible to say that someone suspected something, that something was then reported, that led to an investigation, and there was a subsequent prosecution for that something originally reported.  This may be because something is generally reported after the event.

Where enforcement action is taken, to state the name of the area (eg Loch Gairloch) which relates to each enforcement action being taken

Formal enforcement action in terms of penalty was undertaken in 2 cases.  Both of these relate to Loch Gairloch.

The number of individual vessels these incidents relate to, including those reported to Marine Scotland between 16 August 2015 to 25th May.

There were 17 identified fishing vessels reported for suspected infringements covering the period for which data is available.

A report does not mean or confirm that illegal activity of any kind has taken place, further investigation might be needed to confirm this; and

A report does not mean or confirm there is even a vessel in the closed area, or in a certain section of the closed area, further investigation might be needed to confirm this.

The names of the MPAs in which these incidents have been reported, and the number of incidents reported at each MPA; and

The number of incidents reported relating to fishing with a) trawling gear, b) dredging gear and c) creeling gear d) any other form of fishing

The information sought is not recorded specifically to identify numbers of suspected breaches of  the Inshore Fishing Order SSI 276/2004.  Also, unlike MPA’s, the areas noted in the 2004 Order do not have names and therefore no specific intelligence heading.  The search results are therefore the result of keyword searches.

A report does not mean or confirm that illegal activity of any kind has taken place, further investigation might be needed to confirm this; and

A report does not mean or confirm there is even a vessel in the closed area, or in a certain section of the closed area, further investigation might be needed to confirm this.

Closure

Number of Incidents

Gear

Year

Ballantrae Bank

1

Trawl

2017

Firth of Clyde

2

Trawl (1), Pots (1)

2017, 2018

Southern Inner Sound

6

Trawl (2), Dredge (3), Unknown (1)

2016 (2), 2017, 2018 (2), 2019

Loch Gairloch

7

Dredge (7)

2016, 2017, 2018 (5)

St Andrew’s Bay

3

Dredge (3)

2017 (2), 2019

St Abbs - Eyemouth

3

Trawl (1), Dredge (2)

2018 (3)

 

22

 

 


The total number of such incidents occurring in each year, including and since 2015

The information sought is not recorded specifically to identify numbers of suspected incursions for the Inshore Fishing Order SSI 276/2004 and unlike MPA’s which have a specific intelligence heading.  The search results are therefore the result of keyword searches.

Data is only held for as long as it is necessary and appropriate.   Therefore, data is available from June 2016.   The total number of reports of suspected infringements in each year are:

Year

Number of Incidents

2016

3

2017

6

2018

11

2019

2


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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

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