Publication - Progress report

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report

Published: 19 Aug 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

This report provides Marine Scotland with evidence on economic and social effects to inform a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for each possible NC MPA, and a Sustainability Appraisal for the suite of proposals as a whole.

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report
C.7. Commercial Fisheries

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

C.7. Commercial Fisheries

C.7.1 Introduction

This annex provides an overview of existing and potential future activity for the commercial fisheries sector in Scottish waters and outlines the methods used to assess the impacts of potential MPAs on this sector.

C.7.2 Sector Definition

For the purpose of this study, commercial fisheries relates to all commercial fishing activity within Scottish waters and includes the subsequent handling and processing of catches. In this study, commercial fishing activity includes wild salmon and sea trout fisheries.

C.7.3 Overview of Existing Activity

Location and intensity of activity

Fish catching activities

Scotland is one of the largest sea fishing nations in Europe. In 2010, the Scottish fleet was responsible for landing 61% of the total UK value and volume of fish with Scottish vessels landing 367,000 tonnes of fish worth £435 million (Marine Scotland, 2011); in 2011 the value of landings increased to £501 million.

Pelagic species (herring, mackerel) made up 51% by volume and 30% (£129 million) of the total value of landings made by Scottish vessels in 2010. Demersal species (including cod, haddock, and monkfish) made up 29% by volume and 35% by value of landings by Scottish vessels with a total value of £152 million. Shellfish landings (including Nephrops, scallops, and crabs) made up 20% by volume and 35% by value of all landings by Scottish vessels with a total value of £154 million, see Image C7.1.

Image C7.1. Quantity and Value of Landings by Scottish Vessels: Percentage of Each Species Type (2010)

Image C7.1. Quantity and Value of Landings by Scottish Vessels: Percentage of Each Species Type (2010)

(Source: Marine Scotland, 2011)

Mackerel is the most valuable species to the Scottish fleet at £113m and Nephrops is the second most valuable species at £77m (based on 2010 landings data); in fact, almost half the catch by value from Scottish waters was made up of these two species over the period from 2001 to 2010. Monkfish, haddock and scallops are the next most valuable species landed by Scottish vessels: in 2010 the value of these landings was £32.6m, £32.4m and £31.9m, respectively (Marine Scotland, 2011).

Figure C7 shows the annual average value of all landings (2001 to 2010) by species type (demersal, pelagic and shellfish) caught in Scottish waters for the inshore and offshore areas. This shows that shellfish is particularly important (from a value perspective) for all inshore areas and also for the offshore areas of the south-west, north-east and east regions. Demersal fishing is most valuable for the offshore areas of the north and north-west regions, whilst pelagic fishing is the most valuable species type for the offshore areas of the north-west and north regions.

Figure C8 shows the annual average value of landings (2007 to 2011) for over-15m vessels, for all gear classes in relation to the area of capture (based on analysis of vessel monitoring system ( VMS) information). The gear classes include: beam trawl, demersal trawl, Nephrops trawl, pelagic trawl, other trawl and dredges. This shows that the most valuable fishing grounds are near the coast in the west region, to the north and west of the Hebrides in the north-west region, and around the Shetlands in the north region. Much of this is dependent on catches of mackerel, the most valuable species to the Scottish fleet. Fishing grounds for mackerel can vary on an annual basis depending on the time of movement of the stock, catching opportunities (TAC), weather, marketing conditions and opportunities and the activity of other countries' fleets.

In 2010, 80% of the total value and 72% of the total volume of landings by Scottish vessels were landed into Scottish ports, a figure which has remained fairly constant since 2006.

The number of active Scottish vessels in 2010 was 2,150, which is the smallest fleet ever recorded; being 16% lower than in 2001.Over two thirds (69%) of the vessels were 10m and under in length, 12% were over 10m and under 15m, and 19% were over 15m in length ( Image C7.2).

Figures C9 and C10 (in preparation) give a national overview of the over flight (surveillance) data by vessel type and nationality. The majority of British vessels (75%) are closest to the coast, with Norwegian, French and Danish vessels being predominantly seen on the periphery of the British vessels. Most of the vessels, 72% are demersal trawlers with other trawlers and gear types accounting for a further 18%.

Image C7.2. Number of Active Scottish Based Vessels by Length Group as at 31 December 2010

Image C7.2. Number of Active Scottish Based Vessels by Length Group as at 31 December 2010

The majority (87%) of under-10m vessels were employed in creel fishing; 83% of vessels over 10m and under 15m in length were mainly employed in Nephrops trawl or creel fishing. 29% of vessels over 10m in length carried out Nephrops trawling as their main fishing method and 27% carried out demersal trawling. Around 96% of vessels employed predominantly in pelagic fishing methods were over 50m in length.

The under-15m fleet focuses mainly on shellfish within the inshore waters along the east and west coasts of Scotland. A large proportion (85%) of this fleet is under 10m in length. The over-15m fleet catches the majority of the demersal and pelagic species ( Table C7.1).

Table C7.1 Quantity and value of landings by Scottish based vessels by species type and vessel length (2010)

Species 10m and Under Over 10m and Under 15m 15m and Over
(tonnes) (£'000) (tonnes) (£'000) (tonnes) (£'000)
Demersal 98 146 70 1,493 105,079 150,167
Pelagic 606 430 3 2 188,534 128,808
Shellfish 10,575 34,937 11,223 28,771 50,583 90,408
Total Landings 11,278 35,514 11,925 30,265 344,195 369,383

The total of all landings into Scottish ports by Scottish, other UK and foreign fleets was 385,000 tonnes with a total value of £455 million. The top three districts in terms of both volume and value of landings were Peterhead, Shetland and Fraserburgh (Marine Scotland, 2011). Table C7.2 shows the volume and value of landings into the top three ports in Scotland by Scottish vessels in 2010, which collectively constituted 72% of all landings by UK vessels into Scotland by volume.

Table C7.2 Landings into the top three Scottish ports (2010)

Landings Data Peterhead Shetland Fraserburgh
Volume (tonnes) 168, 000 91,000 28,000
Value (£) 140 million 82 million 46 million

Pelagic species accounted for 50% of the value of landings into Peterhead whilst 41% were demersal species and 9% were shellfish. Pelagic species were also the majority of landings into Shetland at just under two-thirds of the total value; demersal species represented 28% and shellfish 7%. In contrast, the landings in Fraserburgh were dominated by shellfish at nearly two-thirds of the total value; demersal species accounted for nearly a quarter and 14% were pelagic species (Marine Scotland, 2011).

Fish processing activities

Two distinct sub-sectors make up the processing industry: the primary processors involved in the filleting and freezing of fresh fish for onward distribution to fresh fish retail and catering outlets, and the secondary processors involved in brining, smoking, cooking, freezing, canning, breading, battering and the production of ready-to-eat meals for the retail and catering trades. There are also units carrying out a mixture of these two, known as mixed processors.

The north-east region is the most important supply region of fish to the primary and mixed processing sectors. Mixed processing units form the majority of the processing industry in this region, followed by primary processing units. Those processors based in the Grampian region purchase 65% of their supplies from within Grampian (Brown, 2009).

Economic value and employment

In 2010, 367,000 tonnes of fish with a first sale value of £435 million were landed in the UK from Scottish waters. This figure includes all fish caught by UK vessels in Scottish waters and fish caught by non-UK vessels in Scottish waters and landed in the UK (Marine Scotland, 2011). Estimates which consider the direct employment in the fisheries sector and indirect economic activity produced as a result of the demand for goods and services by the fisheries sector (for example, supplies such as ice, nets, boxes, fuel and maintenance and chandlery supplies to fishing vessels, packaging and electricity for the processing industry) provide an indication of the overall importance of the fishing sector to the economy as a whole. Fisheries-related employment is highly concentrated into relatively few areas, and for these areas the fisheries sector is considerably more important than for Scotland as a whole.

Fish catching activities

Scotland has 8.6% of the UK population, but landed 61% by value of the total fish catch in 2010. Scottish vessels made up 33% of the number of vessels in the UK fishing fleet, 59% of the capacity (GT) of the fleet and 48% of the power (kW) of the UK fleet (MMO, 2011). In 2007, it was estimated that the total effect on employment (taking account of 'knock-on' or indirect expenditure effects through the economy) of the fish catching industry alone in Scotland was 10,472 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs. This activity represented £303 million (or 0.4%) GDP i.e. the value of the country's income generated mostly in terms of profits and wages (BPA, 2008).

The number of fishermen employed on Scottish based vessels was 5,218 in 2010, which is 0.2% of the labour force in Scotland, and represents a decrease of 22% since 2001. 4,257 of these were regular, 909 were part-time and 52 were crofters. Fraserburgh has the highest number of fishermen in employment at 789 fishermen, followed by Ayr with 559 and Shetland with 448. The largest number of part-time fishermen is found on vessels administered by Shetland (217), see Table C7.3.

Although commercial fishing makes a relatively low contribution to Scotland's overall GDP and the production and processing of fish directly accounts for about 1% of employment (3% in rural Scotland), it is a particularly important socio-economic activity in remote coastal regions in Scotland (UKMMAS, 2010). For Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland district the employment in fishing as a percentage of the labour force was the highest at 3.81%. Argyll and Bute district was next at 1.27%, followed by Aberdeenshire at 0.96% (Marine Scotland, 2011).

Table C7.3 Number of fishermen employed on Scottish based vessels, by district (2010)

District Regular Part-time Crofters Total
Eyemouth 148 45 - 193
Pittenweem 120 43 - 163
Aberdeen 94 58 - 152
Peterhead 400 24 - 424
Fraserburgh 671 118 - 789
Buckie 192 51 - 243
Scrabster 168 0 - 168
Total East Coast 1,793 339 0 2,132
Orkney 277 132 - 409
Shetland 231 217 - 448
Stornoway 350 73 17 440
Total Islands 858 422 17 1,297
Kinlochbervie 44 0 - 44
Lochinver 21 1 1 23
Ullapool 274 11 - 285
Portree 167 34 34 235
Mallaig 110 9 - 119
Oban 242 23 - 265
Campbeltown 231 28 - 259
Ayr 517 42 - 559
Total West Coast 1,606 148 35 1,789
All districts 4,257 909 52 5,218

(Source: Scottish Sea Fisheries Stats, 2010)

Seven of the top ten most profitable fleet segments operate in the North Sea and off the West coast of Scotland (UKMMAS, 2010). Key factors affecting the level of profits are fuel costs and the cost of access to fishing opportunities (for example, the cost of leasing additional quota). Vessels using more fuel-intensive fishing methods, such as otter trawl and beam trawl segments, experienced the biggest increases in fuel expenditure, while less fuel-intensive methods, such as seining and passive gear segments, experienced relatively modest increases. In 2007, the proportion of earnings spent on fuel ranged from 26% for large trawlers to 7% for smaller vessels (UKMMAS, 2010).

Quota trading has emerged as an economic activity, which allows vessels to carry on fishing beyond their existing quota allowance. Since 2001, many vessel owners have increasingly purchased or leased additional quota in order to remain in business. The increased expenditure on quota leasing has been particularly acute in the North Sea and West of Scotland demersal trawl fisheries for fin-fish (UKMMAS, 2010). Following the introduction of Days at Sea (DAS) regulations in 2003, a market for the purchase of DAS has also developed. It is estimated that some owners of vessels in the North Sea and West of Scotland demersal segments spent up to £20,000 on purchasing days at sea in 2006 (UKMMAS, 2010).

Fish processing activities

The processing and preserving of fish and fish products in Scotland provided a value of £255 million and a turnover of £898 million in 2007 (Baxter et al., 2011). Table C7.4 shows the number of employees employed in fish processing and retail activities in Scotland in 2009 and 2010.

Table C7.4 Employment in fish and shellfish processing and retail in Scotland

SIC, 2007 Full-time Employment Part-time Employment Total Employment
2009 2010 2009 2010 2009 2010
Processing and preserving of fish, crustaceans and molluscs ( SIC 10200) 6,439 6,365 762 846 7,198 7,217

(Source: ONS, 2011)

In Annan and Fraserburgh, the fish processing sector was by far the main contributor to fisheries-related employment. This industry accounts for more jobs than the catching sector and provides employment for women in an otherwise male-dominated labour market. In the Grampian region, 86% of fish processing employees were female in 2008, a rise of 11% since 2004 and the highest proportion in the UK (Brown, 2009). In 2007, employment in fishing, processing and aquaculture activities by travel to work areas varied from 2% of the total employment in the East and North East to 5-10% in the West (Baxter, et al 2011).

Historic trends

Fish Catching Activities

The decline in the fishing industry (catching and processing) has been significant over the past two decades. The 2007 workforce in Scotland was approximately half that employed in the early 1970s (UKMMAS, 2010). However, total fishery landings and employment in the fishing industry have been fairly stable since the mid 2000s.

Fishing activity changes in response to a number of factors: scientific advice; the location of fish; policy measures such as catch limits (quotas), limits on fishing effort (days spent fishing multiplied by the power of the vessel), the need for possible closures and decommissioning schemes; and profitability.

Fishing effort has decreased significantly since the 1990s due to continuing restrictions on fishing activity in order to promote stock recovery (Baxter et al. 2011). EU controls on Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and fishing effort and decommissioning of vessels in the UK are likely to have contributed to reductions in total fishing effort in the international demersal fisheries of around 30% or more over the past eight years in the North Sea, West of Scotland and Irish Sea (UKMMAS, 2010). The UK whitefish demersal trawl fleet was reduced by around 15% in size by the two decommissioning schemes in 2001 and 2003, with a particularly large impact on the Scottish fleet (UKMMAS, 2010).

Fish Processing Activities

The reduction in landings has had a major impact on the fish processing industry. The number of fish processing units in the UK decreased by 25% between 1995 and 2000 alone, although total employment in the industry increased by 15% over the same period. Since 1995, Grampian has experienced a 10% decline in the number of units, principally in companies with 25 or fewer employees.

The decline in landings has had a particular impact on primary processors where there has been a shift away from primary processing towards secondary or mixed processing units. Since 2004, the number of demersal-only processing units has decreased by over 30% and employment has more than halved. Mixed species processing accounted for about 45% of the industry's processing units and provided around 58% of total employment in the UK in 2008 (Brown, 2009). The proportion of units processing only shellfish increased in recent years which may be a result of the increased volumes of shellfish landed by UK fishing vessels in recent years.

Future trends

Fish Catching Activities

The fisheries sector is currently, and is likely to remain, important to many rural areas in Scotland. Fisheries are potentially impacted by both environmental and anthropogenic factors, including:

  • Climate change effects (warming seas), which may result in the decline of stocks of cold-water species, such as cod, in waters around the UK as the stocks move northwards. However, new opportunities for warmer-water species may emerge as these species extend northwards into UK seas. Existing more southerly stocks such as red mullet, John Dory and bass may also experience improved productivity in years with higher average sea temperatures (UKMMAS, 2010);
  • Anthropogenic effects such as permanent structures, dumping at sea, oil and chemical spills, and the effects of the fisheries themselves, which may impact on the habitats where the fish live; and
  • Profitability and political effects, as detailed below.

There are a wide range of factors influencing the financial performance of individual businesses: some are internal to the business (such as strategic decision making, assets and skills), while others are external (and include sectoral competitiveness, the management framework, market conditions and fuel prices). These interact to determine the actual business performance (Scottish Government, 2010).

Landings of fish subject to UK quotas set under the EU Common Fisheries Policy ( CFP) generally reflect changes in the quota set, therefore, in the future as species-specific quotas are raised or lowered, this will have an impact on the amount of that species landed. This is difficult to predict and will depend on the recovery and sustainability of individual species as well as the details and implementation of CFP reform in 2013, including the implementation of a discards ban.

Fisheries management will continue to focus on bringing down rates of exploitation to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) targets. The majority of scientifically-assessed stocks continue to be fished at rates well above the levels expected to provide the highest long-term yield (UKMMAS, 2010), therefore, there is increasing downward pressure on the levels of exploitation allowed. It is likely that pressure to reduce discarding will increase, though without allowing overall catch to rise. Management measures will need to reduce bycatch and discards, and be more responsive to changing patterns of fish migration and movement (Baxter et al. 2011).

Reform of the CFP in 2013 may result in significant changes to the aims and objectives of the policy with a consequent effect on management. The outcome of this reform process cannot be predicted with any certainty but it is likely that EU fisheries will be managed on a more regional basis and fishermen may be more directly involved in the management of the fish stocks. (Baxter et al. 2011).

The certification of sustainable fisheries by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) may bring marketing advantages in a climate of increasing public and commercial awareness of sustainability issues, and where there is a desire to source fish and shellfish from environmentally-responsible businesses. Currently, there are six Scottish fisheries with MSC certification, although the certification for the mackerel fishery is currently suspended (MSC website):

  • Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) North Sea haddock - this fishery was certified as sustainable in October 2010. It is located in the North Sea (IC ES Sub-Area IVa, b) and contains 192 vessels using seine and trawl methods;
  • Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group Ltd Atlanto Scandian herring - this fishery was certified as sustainable in March 2010. It is located in the IC ES Sub-Area I, IIa, IIb, V and XIV and contains 25 vessels from the Scottish RSW pelagic trawl fleet;
  • Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group Ltd (S PSG) North Sea herring - this fishery was certified as sustainable in July 2008. The Scottish fleet mainly exploits the Buchan sub-stock of herring located in the central and Northern North Sea within the EEZ of the EU and Norway;
  • Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group Ltd (S PSG) western component of North-East Atlantic mackerel - this fishery was certified in January 2009 and includes 21 Scottish-owned and operated large refrigerated seawater pelagic mid-water trawl vessels. The certification was suspended in 2012 due to the failure of countries exploiting the stock to agree on allocation of quotas that do not exceed the TAC set for the stock;
  • S PSG West of Scotland herring pelagic trawl - this fishery was certified in April 2012 and includes 28 vessels fishing with pelagic trawl;
  • SSMO Shetland inshore brown and velvet crab, lobster and scallop fishery - this fishery was certified in March 2012 and includes creel and pot fisheries for brown crab and velvet crab, and scallop dredge fishery for king scallops, within 6nm of Shetland.

Planned and possible future offshore renewables development in Scottish seas has the potential to affect the distribution of fishing activity and the value of fish landings in the future. A recent socio-economic assessment carried out for potential future offshore wind, wave and tidal energy development ( ABPmer & RPA, 2013), estimated possible reductions in landings values of between £3.6m to £19.3m (Present value costs discounted over assessment period (2014 to 2035, 2012 prices). Planned and possible oil and gas development may also interact with commercial fishing activity at some locations, but the spatial footprint of such development is likely to be smaller than for offshore renewables. Decommissioning of oil and gas structures, particularly in the North Sea may create new fishing opportunities over the period of the assessment.

Fish Processing Activities

The availability, quality and conservation of fish stocks are major concerns for the processing industry. Landings of pelagic and demersal species have continued to decrease over the last decade, therefore, there is a lower volume of these species available to the processing industry (Brown, 2009). By contrast there is a larger volume of shellfish available to processors. No industry can continue unchanged while its major raw materials become less readily available. Firms engaged in some secondary processes or other diversification, are best placed to achieve financial stability in the near future. The process of rationalisation, which has been witnessed in recent years, will result in fewer bigger firms which are more likely to be geared up for obtaining supplies via direct routes and from overseas.

Wild Salmon and Sea Trout

Scotland is famous for its wild salmon Salmo salar and sea trout Salmo trutta. These fish spend several years in rivers, migrate to sea then return as adults to spawn. Marine migrations in salmon are generally more extensive than those of sea trout (Baxter et al. 2011).

All salmon fishing and sea trout fishing rights in Scotland, including in the sea, are private, heritable titles, which may be held separately from any land. They fall into one of three broad categories:

  • Fixed engine fisheries - are restricted to the coast and must be set outside estuary limits;
  • Net and coble fisheries - generally operate in estuaries and the lower reaches of rivers; and
  • Rod and line fisheries - generally operate within rivers and above tidal limits.

There are 45 fishing stations in mainland Scotland: East coast - 22; North coast - 5; and West coast and islands - 18.

Salmon and sea trout fishing takes place within estuaries or on the coast, and no management measures or cost impacts are anticipated for wild salmon and sea trout fisheries as a result of the establishment of potential MPAs in Scottish waters.

C.7.4 Assumptions on Future Activity

The baseline review did not identify any clear future trends for commercial fisheries. Total fishery landings and employment in the fishing industry have been fairly stable since the mid-2000s. Species-specific quotas may be raised or lowered according to stock status and scientific advice, and stock size may change over time, but this is difficult to predict and a species- and area-specific analysis of this type, which would require bio-economic modelling to predict the response of individual fleet métiers and stocks to management measures under the Reformed CFP, is beyond the scope of this study. As a result of the lack of conclusive evidence on any clear direction for future trends, it has been assumed that the location and intensity of commercial fisheries activities do not change significantly over the period of the assessment. This assumption is consistent with that adopted for the Marine Conservation Zones ( MCZs) in England which assumed the spatial distribution and value of landings would remain constant over the 20-year timeframe of the assessment, due to the lack of micro-scale forecasts of future activity (Finding Sanctuary et al., 2012).

C.7.5 Potential Interactions with MPA Features

The principal impacts to proposed Nature Conservation MPA features from commercial fisheries activity relate to habitat damage as a result of mobile gears being drawn across the seabed. This principally relates to dredges and trawls (otter trawl for whitefish and Nephrops and beam trawl). Demersal seine nets are also drawn across the seabed and may cause damage to sensitive features, but the scale of impact is generally less than for trawled gear. Some particularly sensitive features, such as seamount communities, coral gardens and deep-sea sponge aggregations (vulnerable marine ecosystems) may also be vulnerable to the use of demersal static gear such as nets, lines and pots. Other biogenic features in inshore areas such as serpulid aggregations may be sensitive to pots being set on them, and they may also be dragged across the seabed when hauled.

C.7.6 Assumptions on Cost Impacts for Scenarios

It is assumed that the impact of commercial fisheries activities on MPA features will be managed through a range of fisheries-related measures or under Marine Conservation Orders where necessary:

  • Inshore Fishing Orders (0-6nm);
  • Several and Regulating Orders for a range of shellfish species;
  • Marine Conservation Orders;
  • CFP measures (beyond 6nm and offshore sites).

Three scenarios ('lower', 'intermediate' and 'upper') have been developed to capture the possible costs of proposed MPAs to the sector, on a site-by-site basis. The main cost impact to the sector that has been quantified is the value of landings from the proposed MPA area that would be lost if the proposed MPA were to be designated under the different scenarios, assuming all landings, derived from the affected area and gear types, are lost.

The management measures were identified on a feature-by-feature basis within each site, and feature extents were differed between the three scenarios where there was uncertainty in feature extents (see Appendix B).

Management measures by feature for each scenario for offshore proposed MPAs were identified by JNCC in a series of 'Management Option summaries for the Impact Assessment' documents (versions 0.6, dated 17 April 2013), and further developed by the study team, where necessary. For the inshore proposed MPAs, SNH identified the likely management option (none, reduce or remove the pressure) for different gear groups ( e.g. demersal active/mobile gear, static gear) and the likely extent of management based on feature distribution and known management measures, for most features. The SNH-identified options were interpreted and used for the 'intermediate' scenario in each proposed MPA, with lower and upper scenarios developed to take into account the range of possible management measures. For some scenarios for a small number of sites, where the large number of features in some proposed MPAs (particularly inshore MPAs) would have resulted in a complex mosaic of management measures for different gear types, this has been simplified for the purposes of assessment, and also reflects management measures that would be possible to implement in practice. Lower scenarios were developed for offshore sites where JNCC had not identified a lower scenario.

The assumptions on management measures under the different scenarios have been developed by the study team for the purposes of the assessment of potential cost impacts to encompass the range of value of landings that may be affected and do not pre-judge any future site-specific management measures. The actual management measures that will be applied in NC MPAs will be developed through a further process of stakeholder consultation on a site-by-site basis, and may differ from the assumptions on management measures used in this assessment.

Where SNH/ JNCC management advice indicated a 'partial closure' to certain gear types across a feature, the impact has been assessed as 50% of the value of landings from those gear types from across the feature. In practice, implementation of a 'partial closure' may be more or less than 50%, and the exact extent of it would be developed on a site-by-site and feature-by-feature basis in consultation with the industry.

Management measures were applied to specific gear types based on evidence regarding feature sensitivity to the pressures caused by those gear types. The following gear categories were used in the assessment, based on categories provided by Marine Scotland:

  • Whitefish trawls;
  • Whitefish seines;
  • Nephrops trawls;
  • Nephrops seines;
  • Beam trawls;
  • Other trawls;
  • Other seines;
  • Pelagic trawls and seines;
  • Nets;
  • Lines;
  • Dredges;
  • Pots;
  • Other.

Mobile demersal (bottom contact) gears include whitefish trawls, whitefish seines, nephrops trawls, nephrops seines, beam trawls, other trawls, other seines and dredges. Static demersal gears include nets, lines and pots.

Examples of the type of management measures applied under the lower, intermediate and upper scenarios are detailed below. Specific management assumptions for each scenario are defined in the MPA Site Reports (Table 4, Appendix E).

Lower Scenario

  • Management measures by feature may range from:
    ˉ No additional management measures required;
    ˉ Reduction in pressure where fishing activity interacts with sensitive/high risk features;
    ˉ Zoned management (prohibition of fishing activity that interacts with sensitive/high risk features only in the areas within a proposed MPA where those features are present).

Intermediate Scenario

  • Management measures by feature may range from:
    ˉ No additional management measures required;
    ˉ Zoned management (prohibition of fishing activity that interacts with moderately sensitive/moderate risk features only in the areas within a proposed MPA where those features are present), and may allow fishing to continue across a portion of the feature area;
    ˉ Closure to certain gear types where fishing activity interacts with moderately sensitive/moderate risk features, either across the feature extent or across the whole MPA area.

Higher Scenario

  • Management measures by feature may range from:
    ˉ No additional management measures required;
    ˉ Zoned management (prohibition of fishing activity that interacts with moderately sensitive/moderate risk features only in the areas within a proposed MPA where those features are present);
    ˉ Total closure across whole proposed MPA extent.

The assessment may anticipate that there will be no cost impacts on the sector under some scenarios; this does not preclude the future adoption of management measures for these sites. Management measures may be required, for example to limit further expansion of fishing effort, which would not result in any reduction in the value of landings under the assessment methodology used here. Additionally, even where management measures are assessed in this study, it may be possible to implement them, in consultation with the industry, in such a way that cost impacts to the industry are minimised or reduced.

C.7.7 Assessment Methods

C.7.7.1 Loss of the Value of Landings

Where required, it is assumed that the following costs may be incurred:

  • Spatial restriction of activities - site specific determination.

Assessment of the cost to the commercial fisheries sector of spatial restriction of fishing activities is in terms of the loss of the value of landings from the area to be closed to fishing (by gear type).

This was assessed quantitatively:

  • For UK over-15m vessels ( i.e. for which VMS data are available):
    ˉ Value of landings from the area to be closed, based on annual average landings value adjusted by effort from VMS data for the years 2007 to 2011. The VMS-based landings estimates were calculated by allocating recorded landings in a day between all VMS fishing pings on that day, where a 'fishing ping' has been defined as one where the average speed since the previous ping is greater than zero and up to and including 5 knots for all gear types (including static gear). The effect of this is that the recorded landings by static gears have been allocated between a rather smaller number of pings than would otherwise have been the case, but no information on the landings has been lost. VMS ping data were extracted by Marine Scotland and are estimates of landings value by area of capture. The total annual landings values for each gear type were uprated to 2012 values using GDP deflators and averaged over five years for the final analysis.
  • For UK under-15m vessels ( i.e. for which VMS data are not available):
    ˉ The value of landings from the IC ES rectangles that overlap with the feature area for the years 2007 to 2011 (uprated to 2012 values and averaged over five years), with the value from each IC ES rectangle pro-rated according to the percentage of overlap, by gear type. The spatial resolution of value of landings at IC ES rectangle level is not satisfactory for the purposes of assessing management measures across specific feature extents, but these data have been used as they are the official landings data. The IC ES rectangle data for the under-15m length group may include cases where information on the vessel length and/or administrative port is missing from landings returns, and therefore may over-estimate impacts to the under-15m sector, particularly for some offshore sites. Provisional ScotMap data by gear type have been used to ground-truth the estimates from the IC ES rectangle data, to identify where the IC ES estimates are over- or under-estimates, based on the spatial distribution of the average annual earnings from ScotMap within an IC ES rectangle, and on whether ScotMap indicates that a gear type is used within a proposed MPA or not. Where available, locality-specific information on fishing locations of the inshore fleet, e.g. from fishing activity maps, and information on known management measures, also informed the analysis.
  • For non-UK vessels:
    ˉ Value of landings data for non-UK vessels are not available for vessels that land into non-UK ports. Such data would have to be obtained from the flag states' fisheries authorities. The scope and timeframe of the project does not allow for this to be comprehensively undertaken. VMS ping data held by Marine Scotland for foreign vessels fishing in Scottish waters for 2012 were analysed to provide an indication of the number of vessels active in each proposed MPA. Likely gear types were identified by linking vessel identifiers to the EU Fleet Register database, using the most recent entry in the Fleet Register for that vessel. Vessels may have more than one gear type, so it was assumed that the most recent primary gear type as identified in the EU Fleet Register was used. No information on gear type was available for non-EU countries (specifically Norway, Faroe Islands and Greenland), and was missing for some EU vessels from the EU Fleet Register. The number of vessels affected by each MPA, by country, has been identified under non-quantified costs, based on known gear types ( i.e. the number of vessels active within a proposed MPA area, for the gear types expected to be affected by management measures); and the number of vessels possibly affected has been identified for countries where gear type information was not available.
    ˉ French authorities provided data on vessels active in some proposed MPAs. These data were used to provide additional context and scale of potential impacts on the French fleet. It was not possible to undertake a quantitative analysis as data were not available spatially to allow assessment against feature extents, nor broken down by gear type. Information is therefore provided in the description, and under 'non-quantified costs'. These data were provided for the years 2008 and 2011, the only years available from their information system at the time.

For UK VMS data (>15m vessels), it is not permitted, for reasons of confidentiality, to disclose data on annual landings values for fewer than five vessels. This has meant that for some sites which are fished by less than five vessels >15m (Barra and Hebrides Terrace Seamount, North-east Faroe Shetland Channel and Rosemary Bank Seamount) it has not been possible to disclose annual average landings. However, information on annual GVA has been presented for these sites, because these estimates have been derived using gear specific multipliers such that it is not possible to back-calculate to determine annual average landings. For other sites, estimates of annual average landings broken down by gear type are presented where this is not disclosive. This has sometimes required aggregation of affected gear types to avoid inappropriate disclosure.

C.7.7.2 Estimating the Impact of Lost Landings on Gross Value Added ( GVA) and Employment

The potential costs of designation on the commercial fisheries sector are different in nature from those faced by most other sectors. For most sectors the potential costs of designation reflect potential increases in operating costs ( e.g. additional costs of applying for licences, additional survey costs). For commercial fisheries, however, the potential cost of designation is a loss or displacement of current (and future) output, caused by restrictions on fishing activities required to protect vulnerable and sensitive MPA features. Any decrease in output will, all else being equal, reduce the GVA generated by the sector; this is the direct effect. If the decrease in output reduces this sector's demand on their suppliers, there will also be knock-on effects on those industries that supply commercial fishing vessels ( e.g. diesel suppliers, equipment suppliers, boat manufacturers and repairers and transport providers); this is the indirect effect.

Estimating the potential impact of a decrease in output ( i.e. lost landings) on the commercial fisheries sector and its downstream supply chain, has therefore involved assessing the:

  • direct effect - the reduced contribution of the commercial fisheries sector to the Scottish economy in terms of GVA;
  • indirect effect - the knock-on effects on downstream suppliers of the sector in terms of GVA;
  • direct and indirect impact on employment - the reduction in employment in the commercial fisheries sector and its downstream supply chain.

Estimating the Direct Impact on GVA

The potential direct reduction in GVA due to the potential reduction in the value of landings has been estimated by applying fleet segment-specific ' GVA/total income' ratios to the value of landings affected. The GVA ratios have been calculated using data on total income and GVA from the Sea Fish Industry Authority Multi-year Fleet Economic Performance Dataset (Seafish, 2013). The GVA ratios are presented in Table C7.5 below.

The Seafish dataset contains financial, economic and operational performance indicators for approximately 30 UK fleet segments for the period 2005-2012 and provides total income and GVA estimates that are specific to individual fleet segments and gear types. The figures presented in Table C7.5 below are mean values of GVA/total income for each gear type, over the period 2007-2011. This period is consistent with that used for the landings data.

Table C7.5 GVA as a percentage of total income, by gear type, 2007-2011

Broad gear type GVA as a percentage of total income, 2007-2011
Whitefish trawls 40
Nephrops trawls 46
Beam Trawls 36
Other seines 48
Dredges 43
Nets 54
Pots 48
Lines 43

(Source: Study team's calculations, based on Seafish, 2013).

It is clear from Table C7.5 that there are significant differences in the proportion of GVA/total income generated across the different gear types. This illustrates the importance of applying gear-specific estimates as opposed to sector-wide estimates.

Estimating the Direct and Indirect Impacts on GVA and Employment

The potential direct and indirect impacts of a reduction in output on GVA and employment has been assessed by applying the relevant multipliers from the Scottish Government's Input-Output Tables and Multipliers. These provide a complete flow of the goods and services in the Scottish economy and details the relationship between producers and consumers and the interdependencies of industries. The industry linkages are summarised as Type I and Type II Output, Employment, Income and GVA Multipliers and Effects. Type I multipliers sum together the direct and indirect effects while Type II multipliers also include induced effects.

The Scottish Government has recently revised its Input-Output Tables and Multipliers for Scotland (May 2013). The latest tables and multipliers relate to 2009. These are the first Scottish tables to implement the change to the new Standard Industrial Classification ( SIC) of Economic Activities 2007. This classification change was effective from 1st January 2008 and represents a major revision of the classification system, motivated by the need to adapt the classifications to changes in the world economy. A major reworking of the Scottish Input-Output systems was required to produce tables using the new SIC (2007) Input Output Categories. Under the 2007 SIC, sea fishing is classified as 'Marine Fishing and Freshwater Fishing' (Division A, group 03, class 03.1).

The relevant 2009 Type I GVA multipliers and employment effects that have been applied are presented in Table C7.6 below.

Table C7.6 Marine Fishing and Freshwater Fishing: Type I and Type II GVA Multipliers and Employment Effects (Scotland 2009)

Sea Fishing Industry (3.1) GVA Multiplier Employment Effect
Type I 1.5 15.5

(Source: Scottish Input-Output Tables, 2009, published May 2013).

The GVA Multiplier is expressed as the ratio of the direct and indirect GVA change to the direct GVA change, due to a unit change in Final Demand. By applying the multiplier to the estimate reduction in GVA for the industry, it is possible to estimate the reduction in GVA for the economy as a whole. It is important to note that designation of the possible MPAs would not result in a reduction in the final demand for fish. Rather, by restricting fishing activity it would reduce the volume of fish landed and constrain the ability of Scottish fleet to supply the demand. If there is a genuine fall in the supply of Scottish fish, it can be assumed that the reduction in output is 'similar' to a fall in Final Demand. This assumes that the price of fish does not increase to offset the reduction in the value of landings.

The Employment Effect shows the direct plus indirect employment change to a direct output change due to a unit change in Final Demand. By multiplying the reduction in output ( i.e. value of landings affected) by the Employment Effect for the sector, it is possible to estimate the direct and indirect reduction in employment that would result from the potential reduction in output). Another supply chain that is relevant in assessing the potential economic impact of designation is the supply of fish by commercial fishing vessels to fish processing facilities, hotels/restaurants and the wholesale and retail trades. Management measures that restrict commercial fishing activity have the potential to reduce the quantity of fish and shellfish landed locally at Scottish ports and hence to reduce the supply of locally-landed catch to these industries.

The potential cost of designation on the fish processing industry has been estimated in terms of the value of potential landings lost, by port of landing. Again, these have been assessed on a gear-specific (to the extent disclosure restrictions allow) and feature-by feature basis. The potential impacts on GVA and employment in the fish processing sector, from a reduction in the volume of locally landed fish, have not been assessed. This reflects the fact that:

  • Designation would not reduce the final demand for fish. With no change in final demand, it can be assumed that fish processors will attempt to offset the reduction in locally-landed supplies by importing a greater volume of imported fish; and
  • Estimating the reduction in GVA and employment in this sector would also estimate the reduction in the commercial fisheries sector as an indirect effect, and hence would result in double counting.

All of the quantified impacts on the commercial fishing sector (whether in terms of value of affected landings, GVA or employment) assume that all affected fishing activity is lost, that is, that there is no adaption within the site or displacement of fishing activity to other grounds. This represents the worst-case impact and in reality, vessel owners are likely to try and adapt within the site ( e.g. by changing gear type or target species), if that is possible, or, search for alternative fishing grounds in an attempt to maintain profitability. It is difficult to forecast the scale and nature of adaption or displacement of fishing activity that would occur and hence estimate, even qualitatively, the extent to which this would offset the reduced value of landings generated by MPA designation. This will depend on an array of different factors, for example:

  • the availability of alternative fishing grounds;
  • whether vessels change gear type and target species;
  • the relative catch rates and associated profitability of the new fishing grounds; and
  • the effect on other vessels fishing in these grounds.

There are also costs associated with adaption and displacement (such as the costs of developing new gear types and changing gears, increased fuel costs from longer steaming times, changes in costs and earnings patterns of individual vessels, possible additional quota and days at sea costs) and in some cases there may be a lack of suitable alternative fishing grounds. Displacement can also generate conflict between vessels displaced to a new site and vessels previously fishing in that site (or indeed reduce conflict if some gears are prohibited); as well as causing environmental impacts through targeting of new areas. In light of the difficulties involved in assessing the scale of adaption/displacement of fishing activity and the associated costs, these aspects have not been quantified.

C.7.8 Limitations

  • The extent to which displacement of activity will occur (rather than loss of the value of landings) is uncertain. The quantification of cost impacts to the sector assumes that all affected fishing activity is lost. In reality, it is likely that some displacement would occur. The cost estimates presented for this sector, therefore, represent worst case estimates.
  • The quantification of cost impacts to the sector is restricted to UK vessels, as comprehensive data on non-UK vessels were not available to allow quantification of impacts on a feature-by-feature basis. Impacts on non-UK vessels were assessed qualitatively and in terms of the number of vessels likely to be affected by proposed management measures.
  • Spatial resolution of data on under-15m vessels is not sufficient for an accurate assessment of cost impacts to this fleet segment, and the 'under-15m' length group may include cases where information on vessel length and/or administrative port were missing on landings returns, particularly for offshore sites. Gear-specific estimates of landings from ScotMap data have been used to check IC ES rectangle landings-based estimates, however, due to the provisional nature of the dataset, and the low level of coverage in some regions, ScotMap data have not been used to estimate the value of landings affected under the scenarios.
  • VMS-based estimates of the value of landings may over- or under-estimate the costs to the sector.
  • To avoid inappropriate disclosure, some annual average loss of landings figures cannot be presented and for others, affected gear types have been grouped.
  • The requirements for management measures are uncertain, and the management measures assessed under the scenarios do not reflect the actual management measures that may be adopted on a site-by-site basis following further consultation.
  • As the value of future landings cannot be forecast, it is assumed that the value of landings are constant over time. The average value of landings per year estimated for each MPA is therefore assumed to be the same in each of the 20 years covered by the IA. In reality, it is likely that the value of landings in each MPA will fluctuate over time and hence the estimated loss in landings may underestimate or overestimate the true future value of landings. As the GVA and employment estimates are based on the value of affected landings the same limitation applies.
  • Although the Sea Fish Industry Authority Costs and Earnings Survey (Seafish, 2013) represents the best data available to estimate GVA on a sector-specific basis, the data have some limitations. For example, the total income, operating profit and crew share data includes income earned by fishing vessels from sources other than fishing ( e.g. towage activities, selling quotas and days at sea). The VMS estimates do not include non-fishing income and this mismatch may overestimate or underestimate the impact on GVA for some fisheries. Non-fishing income, however, tends to be a fairly insignificant proportion (0%-10%) of total income.
  • The multipliers used to estimate the indirect GVA impacts and the direct plus indirect employment effect, that could be generated from the estimated reduction in the value of landings, relate to 'Marine Fishing and Freshwater Fishing' and not the specific gear types affected. They may, therefore, underestimate or overestimate the impacts. The multipliers - which are national multipliers - have been applied at the MPA level and regional/port level to estimate the economic impacts by MPA and by region/port. Local and regional multipliers are not available and hence the application of national multipliers may overestimate or underestimate the impacts. Finally, application of the multipliers also assumes that a reduction in output is similar to a change in Final Demand and that there is no rise in the price of fish to offset the reductions in the value of landings.

C.7.9 References

ABPmer and RPA, 2012. Socio-economic baseline reviews for offshore renewables in Scottish waters. Volume 1: Main text. Report R.1905, September 2012.

ABPmer & RPA, 2013. Developing the Socio-Economic Evidence Base for Offshore Renewable Sectoral Marine Plans in Scottish Territorial Waters.

Baxter, J.M., Boyd, I.L., Cox, M., Donald, A.E., Malcolm, S.J., Miles, H., Miller, B., Moffat, C.F., (Editors), 2011. Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for the national marine plan. Marine Scotland, Edinburgh.

British Ports Association (BPA), 2008. 'Scottish Ports Committee Ports In Scotland "Delivering Value".

Brown A., 2009. 2008 Survey of the UK Seafood Processing Industry. Published by Seafish. 104 pages.

Finding Sanctuary, Irish Seas Conservation Zones, Net Gain and Balanced Seas, 2012. Impact Assessment materials in support of the Regional Marine Conservation Zone Projects' Recommendations. Annex H7.

JNCC, 2011. Stanton Banks Site of Community Importance (SCI) Common Fisheries Policy ( CFP) MA IA1 fisheries management workshop minutes. Available at

Marine Scotland, 2011. Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2010. Published by Marine Scotland, The Scottish Government, September 2011 DPPAS11957 (08/11). 92 pages.

Scottish Government, 2010. Future of Fisheries Management in Scotland.

Scottish Government, 2011. Salmon Fishery Statistics - 2010 Season. Topic Sheet No. 68 v2. 4 pages.

Scottish Government, 2012a. Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2011. Available at

Scottish Government, 2012b. Scottish Annual Business Statistics 2010. Available at

Scottish Government, 2013. Input-Output Tables and Multipliers for Scotland, 1998-2009. Available at

SeaFish, 2013. Seafish Multi-Year Fleet Economic Performance Dataset. Sea Fish Industry Authority.

UKMMAS, 2010. Charting Progress 2 Feeder Report Productive Seas. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on behalf of UKMMAS (Eds. Saunders, J. and McKie, J.). United Kingdom Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy. 472 pages. Available online: