Publication - Progress report

Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Volume 5 Number 17: ScotMap Inshore Fisheries Mapping in Scotland: Recording Fishermen's use of the Sea

Published: 19 Dec 2014
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

ScotMap provides spatial information on the fishing activity of Scottish registered commercial fishing vessels under 15 m in overall length. Information is provided on areas in which they fish, and to provide associated information on their fishing vessel

36 page PDF

1.8 MB

36 page PDF

1.8 MB

Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Volume 5 Number 17: ScotMap Inshore Fisheries Mapping in Scotland: Recording Fishermen's use of the Sea
4. Consultation/Validation Meetings

36 page PDF

1.8 MB

4. Consultation/Validation Meetings

Draft mapped outputs from ScotMap and analyses of interview coverage were presented at a series of meetings with fishermen and fishing industry representatives at 15 locations around Scotland in April and May 2013 ( Table 3).

Table 3 ScotMap Validation Events

ScotMap Data Validation Events (April - May 2013)












Aberdeen (Skipper Expo)








Kyle of Lochalsh




Kirkwall, Orkney




Newton Stewart



Presentations were designed to give a regional perspective and focused on the fishing activity in each of the areas. Maps of various aggregations of the rasterised data for vessel number and value for different target species and/or species gear combinations and maps of the data for the combined (all interview) data set at the national level were presented and discussed. The meetings also offered an opportunity for fishermen who had not been previously interviewed for ScotMap to contribute data, and for those who had been already been interviewed to provide additional or amended their existing information.

The maps were generally well received and thought by fishermen to be a good representation of the under 15 m vessels fishing at the national level. Overall impressions of consultees at the regional level varied. For the South East SMR, it was thought that ScotMap had captured the activity and the value of the fishery in a detailed and accurate manner and that spatial extents of the fisheries were on the whole consistent with stakeholder knowledge and experience. Similarly positive feedback was received in relation to mapping of the fisheries around the Western Isles, the Moray and Orkney SMRs. Consultees at the Clyde SMR regional meeting (Ayr) thought that activity mapped for their area was not particular accurate and there was considerable potential for improvement.

At some meetings concerns were expressed about the 'gaps' in the dataset, relevant vessels which had not been interviewed and those for which earnings information was not available. Comments were also made about the way some fishermen had defined their fishing polygons and the effect this has on the maps, dispersing value and giving a false impression of where some types of fishing are taking place.

Notable gaps identified by stakeholders included dredge fishing activity in the Argyll and Clyde SMRs; it was thought activity east of Campbeltown, west of Islay and south of Jura, was under-represented and that mapped activity was not particular accurate. Mapping of scallop dredging within the Clyde Sea was also thought to be imprecise and incomplete. Mapping of Nephrops trawling in the Clyde was thought to be generally good, with the caveat that activity in the southern (outer part) between Campbeltown and Girvan was under-represented. It was also noted that relatively little creel activity was mapped in the Clyde Sea area or the Solway Firth, most likely a reflection of the relative poor interview coverage in the area. Incomplete coverage for vessels fishing in some west coast sea lochs was also commented on, although additional interview data collected at some of the consultation meetings improved this.

In the North East and Moray SMRs it was thought that the monetary value indicated for creel fisheries along the north coast of the Moray Firth was likely to be misleading, given the numbers of fishermen who declined to give earnings information. The mapping of activity (number of vessels) for these and the mackerel line fisheries was, however, thought to be very good. In this and other regions detailed comments were made about maps of crab and lobster creel fisheries according to primary and secondary target species. Although this worked in the case of Nephrops creel fisheries, it could give an erroneous impression of distribution of different crab and lobster species, particularly velvet crab which was only targeted close inshore. It was pointed out that in many areas crab and lobster fisheries were genuinely mixed and that fishermen may target different species at different times of year.

Stakeholders' concerns that mapping might reveal individuals' fishing locations, or encourage some fishermen to change their fishing grounds based on value of catches elsewhere, were, for the most part, assuaged when participants saw the aggregated data. It was agreed that any maps which revealed single vessel activity should not be used. The maps prompted debate about the locations proposed for marine renewable energy development and marine protected areas around Scotland, possible implications for fishing, and discussion of a wide range of local inshore fishery management issues.

As a result of the consultation meetings, it was agreed that creel fisheries for the various species or crab and lobster caught around Scotland (either as primary and or secondary target species) should be mapped as a single 'all species' category, and that the minimum number of vessels that would be depicted on maps should be three.