Scotland’s coastal fisheries are focused on shellfish. Scallops and Nephrops (otherwise known as Dublin Bay prawns, langoustine or Norway lobster – we’ll call them prawns), caught mostly for the European export markets, make up the majority of fish and shellfish coming from this area. Although both species can be caught in a few different ways, most scallops are caught by dredgers, and most prawns are caught from bottom trawlers, normally otter or twin rig. These fisheries can have damaging impacts on the seabed and the wider marine ecosystems – more on that below.
There are always opportunities to make these fisheries more sustainable. By avoiding the sensitive areas of our seas, these fisheries would dramatically reduce the damage caused to the marine environment. Further minimisation of environmental impact can be achieved by promoting lower impact alternatives such as creeling and diving. Technical changes to fishing gears to avoid bycatch and habitat damage might also have a role to play.