North Sea and West of Scotland landing obligation statistics: EIR release

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

Information requested

"Any data Marine Scotland holds regarding compliance activities on the Landing Obligations in the North Sea and West of Scotland.

How many compliance checks related to the Landing Obligations have been conducted in the North Sea and West of Scotland (combined or separately) since the implementation of the legislation? If appropriate, could you please provide the year they occurred.

Have any breaches of this legislation been detected in the North Sea and West of Scotland and if so, how many?"


The legislation in question is EU 1380/2013 and came into force in December 2013.

It is important to understand that our tasking of vessels is risk based and that at any one time there will be numerous risks being considered. This means that our officers will board a vessel with a broad range of risks in mind, rather than simply go on board to check compliance with a single risk such as the landing obligation. The landing obligation will of course be one of the risks officers will consider, but along with that will be other risks such at technical conservation (usually net) offences, logbook offences, boarding ladder offences and others. It is therefore not possible to say how many compliance checks in respect of the landing obligation have been conducted as it depends on the risks at that time and the assessment that officers make as they go aboard, and even then it is one of a broad range of risks being considered rather than a single reason for boarding and checking.

You will recognise of course that to prove a breach of the landing obligation, officers need to witness the discarding of fish taking place. While this generally does not happen within sight of our officers, there have been 17 recorded instances of this having taken place since implementation of the legislation.

  • 2018 - 1
  • 2019 - 1
  • 2020 - 1
  • 2021 - 8
  • 2022 - 6

From these 17 cases, we have a record of 10 having been referred to the Enforcement Standards and Operational Assurance (ESOA) team for further consideration. Of this there has been a total 3 warning letters issued; and 6 fixed penalty notices issued of values 4 x £2000 and 2 x £10,000.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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