Sandeel fishing - proposed closure: consultation analysis

Analysis report on the responses to the consultation on proposals to close fishing for sandeel in all Scottish waters. The public consultation ran from 21 July 2023 to 13 October 2023.

Appendix 4: Campaign Responses

Based on a review of consultation responses there would appear to be some examples of campaign responses received.

There were more 9,815 letters received in relation to the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposals to close fishing for sandeel in all Scottish waters which were identical or similar in content; these appear to be from RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) supporters.

These letters argued for the importance of ceasing industrial sandeel fishing for the following several key reasons:

  • Protecting Seabirds: Seabirds face significant challenges from climate change, unsustainable fishing practices, avian flu outbreaks, and upcoming offshore energy developments. The proposal is seen as a crucial step to build resilience and protect these birds from mounting threats.
  • Critical Role of Sandeel: Highlighting the critical role of sandeel as a vital food source for marine wildlife and threatened seabirds, such as Puffins and Kittiwakes. Overfishing exacerbates the pressure on sandeel populations, compounding the challenges posed by climate change.
  • Addressing Climate Change Impact: Acknowledging climate change as a primary threat to sandeel, the consultation is welcomed as a means to address the additional pressure from industrial-scale overfishing.
  • Supporting Struggling Seabirds: Seabirds relying on sandeel for sustenance are struggling to find an adequate supply. Ending sandeel fishing is seen as a crucial intervention to provide these birds with a vital lifeline and enhance their resilience in the face of multiple threats.
  • Minimal Impact on Fishing Fleet: Emphasising that a closure would have minimal impact on the Scottish fishing fleet, while commercially targeted fish dependent on sandeel could potentially benefit from increased numbers.
  • Urgency for Seabird Protection: Stressing the urgency of taking ambitious measures to protect seabirds, especially given Scotland's status as home to over 70% of the UK's seabirds and 60% of the UK's seas.

In conclusion, the letters express gratitude for considering their consultation response and hopes for the swift implementation of a sandeel fishing closure, deemed as the single most impactful action to protect threatened seabird species in Scotland and the UK.



Back to top