Fisheries Management in the context of Shared Seas


Fishing areas around Scotland

The NAFC Marine Centre has recently published two guides to promote effective consideration of fishing within wider marine management. The first guide, aimed at fishermen, explains how information on fishing activity can be used, and where in the development process it should be provided. The second document aimed at developers, provides a description of fishing practices and is designed to promote a better understanding of how developments might impact on fishing, and how to engage with the fishing industry.

It is hoped that these documents, which are designed to be clear and concise, will help to support better marine management, give fishermen a stronger voice in management decisions and ensure all parties understand where fisheries can be included in management decisions

Many of Scotland’s rural communities depend on a flourishing fishing industry. Alongside traditional pressures of stock management, fisheries are meeting new challenges from the implementation of conservation measures and increasing use of sea space by other industries, such as the emerging marine renewables industry. The guidance documents draw on information collated as part of a review led by the NAFC Marine Centre identifying examples of best management practice from around the world. These include the implementation of closed areas by the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation in Shetland to protect important seabed habitats; seasonal closures in France to allow aggregate dredging and fisheries to co-exist.

Key management considerations highlighted by the report and guidance document are the need for early engagement, by both fishers and managers, adequate data and information on marine use, including any time limited considerations, such as seasonal fisheries, or specific times of year when species may need additional protection (including spawning times).

The findings of the report show that effective communication and understanding between all sectors early in a project can help to ensure effective management of the seas around Scotland, and bring maximum benefit to our communities. This included examining the data (and its limitations), information, and management measures and methods, which have been successfully used to underpin management measures.

The guidance documents and report can be accessed here:

Understanding and Influencing the Marine Management and Development Process - B

Scotland's Fishing Industry- Guidance for Decision Makers and Developers

Fisheries management in the context of shared seas

For further information please contact Dr Beth Mouat ( or Rachel Shucksmith ( on 01595 772000

This project was funded by Fisheries Innovation Scotland (FIS), project FIS014. The project was led by NAFC Marine Centre with support from Marine Scotland Science and Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

There is increasing legislative and policy emphasis on the importance of effective management of the marine environment as a shared resource, with aspirations to maximise environmental, economic, and social benefits, also termed the ecosystem approach to management. As extensive and long-term users of the marine environment, fisheries and the integration of fisheries management into a wider marine management system, play a major role in achieving these objectives as well as helping to ensure the long-term sustainability and existence of the sector. There are many examples of managing fisheries interactions within the UK and globally. Many of these are related to a single interaction. Many Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been shown to have a positive effect on fisheries when the MPAs have been integrated within fisheries management measures outside of the MPA area.