A proposal to trial new creel fishing management measures in an area around the Outer
Hebrides is being considered by the Scottish Government.
If it goes ahead the scheme proposal would look at limiting the number of creels
that vessels may operate down the east coast of the islands.
Increasing numbers of creels are being set every year for the past two decades in
the waters around the Western Isles 20 years.
At the same time catch rates are declining with the knock-on effect of fishermen
laying more creels in order to maintain total catches.
Views are being sought from the Western Isles on proposals to explore the alternative
approach to managing inshore fisheries.
Overall five different proposals to test new management arrangements in Scottish
coastal waters have been brought forward for public consultation.
The Scottish Government is consulting over which two should proceed to a live pilot
The area from Bayble to Mingulay and around the Sound of Harris is thought to be
overfished so the scheme would set a maximum permitted figure for creel numbers based
on vessel size.
The initiative would also prevent gear being placed on the seabed to stop others
from fishing. It is believed that in some instances several thousand creels are being
placed on the ground and hauled irregularly.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Our inshore waters are important to our
rural economy and are the source of some of our best seafood which is why it is crucial
that we consider new and innovative ways of managing them through this consultation.
“We received proposals from right around the Scottish coast so it’s important that
we now give communities in the Highlands and Islands the opportunity to have a say
on how they can make the most of their waters.
“This consultation will make sure we are taking forward the most credible trials
so that we can have the right evidence, experience and understanding for future inshore
Proposal to test new creel fishing management measures in Hebrides