Scotland is among the largest sea fishing nations in Europe, with Scottish fishing vessels landing around two-thirds of the total fish caught in the United Kingdom.
Marine Scotland is responsible for controlling the activities of all fishing vessels operating within the Scottish zone, as defined by the Fishery Limits Act 1976 and the Scotland Act 1998. This covers the North Sea and west of Scotland out to 200 nautical miles. It is also responsible for managing and controlling the activities of Scottish vessels wherever they may fish – including fishing effort and quota. To do this Marine Scotland works with the UK Government in negotiating fishing opportunities through the European Union and in other international negotiations.
Marine Scotland also manages all inshore fisheries within the 12 nautical mile territorial water limit.
The EU Common Fisheries Policy operates on a principle of equal access meaning that all EU-registered fishing vessels can access any part of EU waters, with some limited exemptions including within the 12 mile zone (with certain exceptions for historic fishing rights).