The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is Europe’s regulatory regime governing fisheries in EU waters. It controls how much fish each Member State is allowed to catch and the conditions under which it must be caught.

This includes the type of net used, how long a vessel can fish for, and the size of fish that can be landed. Marine Scotland within Scottish Government is responsible for the management of the Scottish fishing industry and for ensuring that the fleet adheres to CFP rules and regulations.

1. Licensing

All Scottish fishing vessels are licensed based on their size, where they fish and what they catch. This helps maintain the size and catching capacity of the fleet.

2. Catch Limits

Nearly all Scottish catches are limited by a Total Allowable Catch (TAC or Quota). Based on scientific advice, TACs are apportioned by EU and neighbouring States and decided annually by the European Council.



3. Effort Limitation or “Days at Sea”

An additional way to control fishing pressure is to set the amount of time vessels are allowed to spend at sea. This is managed by Marine Scotland.

4. Minimum Landing Sizes

Almost all Scottish Commercial stocks have minimum sizes for landing and selling.

5. Gear Restrictions

A large number of regulatory measures restrict the type, design, construction or amount of fishing gear that Scottish fishermen can use. This helps to control fishing pressure and assists in targeting species more selectively.

6. Local & Regional Conservation

To maintain the environment, local conservation measures limit or prevent types of fishing activity. Scotland has a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) which conserve and protect species, habitats and marine features of the seas.


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