Scotland’s inshore waters extend from the coast out to 12 nautical miles (nm), with a concentration of fishing taking place within 6 nm.
There are over 2,000 active Scottish fishing vessels and three quarters of them fish primarily in inshore waters. Typically these are smaller boats of 8-10 metres in length with one or two crew members, fishing daily from local ports.
The inshore fleet is diverse and includes trawlers, creelers, netters, dredgers and divers. Hand gatherers may collect cockles from the foreshore. Shellfish is the main target – brown and velvet crab, lobster, scallops and Nephrops (langoustines).
Inshore fishing is mostly conducted by one of two methods:
- static gear fishing for crabs, lobster and Nephrops by placing baited pots or creels on the sea bed, and
- mobile gear fishing involving the towing of gear, such as nets for Nephrops or dredges for scallops, behind a vessel.