OH Pot Limitation Pilot

The Outer Hebrides Regional Inshore Fisheries Group (OHRIFG) management plan included local objectives aimed at ensuring well managed, profitable and sustainable inshore fisheries in the IFG area. The High Level Biological Objectives prioritised  improved management of creel fisheries and additional conservation measures were identified as a Local Objective.

The Outer Hebrides Regional Inshore Fisheries Group (OHRIFG) management plan included local objectives aimed at ensuring well managed, profitable and sustainable inshore fisheries in the IFG area. The High Level Biological Objectives prioritised  improved management of creel fisheries and additional conservation measures were identified as a Local Objective.

Across all creel fisheries the numbers of creels fished by vessels has increased dramatically over the years with the Catch Per Unit Effort steadily decreasing. To compensate for this most vessels have increased the numbers of creels fished in an attempt to maintain previous catch levels. In addition large numbers of creels are being set and only periodically hauled which prevents others from fishing in the area.

The Outer Hebrides RIFG believe that the pilot pot limitation scheme will:

  • Reverse decreasing catch per unit effort rates.
  • Reduce gear conflict between static and mobile gear vessels.
  • Prevent gear being placed on the ground to stop others from fishing.
  • Improve health and safety.
  • Encourage the fishing industry to take a more responsible role in the management of the marine environment by taking an active role in the policing of creel restrictions
  • Develop a catch App that can be developed to enhance submission of catch returns

The Pot Limitation Pilot became operational on 1 November 2020, for a 2 year period, having been delayed due to Covid-19 and a range of other problems.

Marine Scotland has issued a derogation to all vessels who have had a track record of fishing within the pilot in 2017 – 2019. The derogation has conditions attached on number of pots to be used depending on vessel size, maximum number of pots on each fleet, length of time gear should be left unattended.

Vessels which commenced fishing in 2020 will require to complete an application form to apply for a licence derogation to fish within the pilot area. Owners replacing vessels operating in the area will be issued with a derogation to fish within the pilot area.

New entrants to the industry will have to complete an application form to apply for a licence derogation to fish in the area and those will be considered by a Sub-Group consisting of officials from Marine Scotland and Industry.

New technology developed through the Scottish Inshore Fisheries Integrated Data System (SIFIDS) co-ordinated by St Andrew’s University developed low cost tracking devices which monitored the location of static gear fishing activity and also determined when gear was shot and hauled to an accuracy of 96%. 40 of those trackers are in the process of being fitted to a range of different sized vessels ensuring geographical coverage throughout the geographical pilot area. Some transmission problems have been identified in the Southern part of the pilot area and those vessels will be fitted with different systems in line with mobile phone connections in the area.

Information from trackers will be secure access to vessel skippers and St Andrews University.

There is a video on Youtube https://youtu.be/CgHxNGvu8kI explaining the system and how it works.

Marine Scotland intend using the pilot as a model that can be developed and adapted to create a system that can be used around Scotland in monitoring and tracking pot numbers used within specific areas.

Many other regions around Scotland are requesting the introduction of pot limitations schemes within their geographical areas, however, MS has indicated that they will not proceeding with any pot limitation scheme in any other area of Scotland until the results of the Outer Hebrides Pilot have been analysed.

Share

Our Aim

The Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups (RIFGs) aim to improve the management of inshore fisheries in the 0-6 nautical mile zone of Scottish waters, and to give commercial inshore fishermen a strong voice in wider marine management developments.

Scottish Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups