Infringements detected by Fishery Offices & Marine Assets: EIR release

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

Information requested

1.  In cases where fisheries related infringements were detected by either Fisheries Offices or Marine Assets, please provide a numerical breakdown disclosing the Country of each offending vessel's Master residence.

2. If the information requested above is not specifically recorded, please provide a breakdown of each Country to which the form of infringement detection notice as described above was sent to.

Finally, I take note from a response (202100204295) from Mr Kevin Veitch, Private Secretary to Mairi Gougeon MSP, the following statement- 'On any given day, it is worth noting that the UK fishing fleet accounts for approximately 80% of vessels actively fishing in Scottish waters. During the calendar year 2020, the split of boardings of UK vessels relative to boardings of non-UK vessels was about 70/30 (UK / non-UK).' Can you please clarify the following:-

3. How the 80/20 split is calculated, is the total number of fishing vessels contained within the UK/Scottish fleet used in this calculation, i.e fishing vessels registered under 8m in length right up to the largest pelagic trawlers versus the quantity of foreign registered vessels actively fishing in Scottish waters at any one time?

4. How is this 80/20 split maintained on a dynamic basis, i.e- during winter periods when smaller Scottish registered vessels are not at sea for lengthy periods due to weather, or vessels are not put to sea until a specific fishery season commences?


Question 1 & 2

We do not record flagships separately as they are legally UK vessels.

It is common to send enforcement letters to agents addresses where the masters country of residence may not be available. The number of enforcement letters sent to masters of UK vessels with addresses outside the UK in 2019 was;

Spain – 3
Lithuania – 1
Latvia – 3
Isle of Man – 1
(although residents of the Isle of Man may be British Citizens, it is not part of the UK, so I have included this here).

We chose 2019 as the sample year as it is the last complete year prior to the COVID pandemic.

Question 3

The 80/20 is a split of “Active” vessels. Active vessels are those that are not in port, are at sea with a speed of less than 5 knots which is indicative of fishing activity. This calculation is based on data provided by the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) which is fitted to all fishing vessels both UK registered and non-UK registered over 12 metres operating within Scottish Waters. There is very little, if any activity by non-UK under 12 metre vessels in the Scottish zone.

Question 4

The table below shows the percentage of vessels actively fishing (over 12m below 5 knots) in Scottish Waters for the current year 1/1/2021 to 31/7/2021:

  % of Vessels actively fishing in Scottish Waters  
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul   Avg
UK (%) 77 78 81 82 80 80 84   80
Foreign (%) 23 22 19 18 20 20 16   20

We board/inspect vessels on a risk based approach, taking into consideration intelligence that has been provided as well as intelligence gathered during the course of our operations, meaning there are no hard and fast guidelines on the nationality of the vessels we board/inspect. The nationality split (UK/Non- UK) will fluctuate throughout the year depending on the risks and intelligence we receive and gather.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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