The Three Mile Limit

The Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation have a report sent to the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing in May 2017 which outlines the case for better spatial management and even a modernised return of the 3 Mile Limit. Their report can be downloaded here:

The aim of all fisheries management is to maintain a rich fishery (and ecosystem) and hence wealth and jobs. If we fail to do so we become poor and hungry – at least for fish. The goal of wealth and jobs was why the three mile limit was set in place and then later removed. It was created to protect spawning grounds and maintain the fishery. It was then removed in 1984 after a decade of debate following the recommendation of the Cameron report as follows, paragraph 64 p 38:

64. There is a common belief, especially among small boat fishermen, that most marketable species of fish come inshore to spawn, that the young fish remain in these waters until they mature and that, therefore, the existing prohibitions on trawling and seining are of great conservation value. These suppositions are largely incorrect. We are advised by the marine scientists that although some species may derive a measure of benefit from the present restrictions—they give the plaice nurseries incidental protection—such exceptions apart, the conservation value of these restrictions is not significant or material to the preservation of any particular level of stocks. There is of course no doubt that heavy concentrated fishing in a particular area could temporarily denude that area and cause hardship to local fishermen who depend on these stocks for their livelihood—but this is a socio-economic, rather than a conservation, problem. Furthermore, general regulations of this type cannot be regarded as an effective means of controlling exploitation. As we have already noted, most of the commercially exploited fish stocks move freely to and fro across the limits and any relief afforded the stocks in inshore waters by such prohibitions is offset by the additional effort imposed on the same stocks in offshore waters. Such regulations may affect the distribution of fishing effort but they do not restrict the total intensity of effort—and it is the intensity of fishing which matters.”

The report was right in the sense that it is the total intensity of effort that matters. Since this was not controlled what happened is we sieved the fish out of the sea, and in doing so put the common skate on the IUCN red list.
It was wrong in that the damage done by unrestricted bottom trawling was not in fact well understood then. See Roberts 8, 9. That is not to say that all trawling is bad just that where it is allowed and not allowed needs to be based on knowledge of the local bottom and ecological conditions.

The Cameron Report

In 1970 The Cameron report looked at the existing law governing inshore fishing with a view to remove it and replace it with something simpler. (The report is worth reading if you want a concise review of the preexisting legislation without having to search for and read through several hundred years of law.)

Its main conclusion was the prohibition on the use of mobile gear within the three mile limit should be removed. This was because fisheries scientists advised that it was not needed for conservation. They did however advise that plaice spawning grounds should be protected. And that an efficient monitoring system should be set up, so that limits on effort could be imposed if stocks declined.

Some thoughts on it

Before the internet made searching relatively easy the only way to find out what was known about a fishery, for example herring spawning grounds, was to spend many days systematically reading through decades of old journals to construct a picture of the state of knowledge that could be looked up if it was needed.

It was known in 1959, (21 years before the Cameron report was published), that herring spawned in the Firth of Clyde on the Ballantrae Bank and in shallow water on the South West corner of Arran. This fact did not make it into the Cameron report and no protection was recommended. Callum Roberts describes what happened. (8)

Callum Roberts & Ruth Thurstan describe the results in – Ecological Meltdown in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland: Two Centuries of Change in a Coastal Marine Ecosystem. This is a quote from it.

The trawl closure within three nautical miles of the coast was repealed in 1984 under pressure from the industry. Thereafter, bottomfish landings went into terminal decline, with all species collapsing to zero or near zero landings by the early 21st century. Herring fisheries collapsed in the 1970s as more efficient mid-water trawls and fish finders were introduced, while a fishery for mid-water saithe (Pollachius virens, Gadidae) underwent a boom and bust shortly after discovery in the late 1960s. The only commercial fisheries that remain today are for Nephrops and scallops (Pecten maximus, Pectinidae). Significance: The Firth of Clyde is a marine ecosystem nearing the endpoint of overfishing, a time when no species remain that are capable of sustaining commercial catches. The evidence suggests that trawl closures helped maintain productive fisheries through the mid-20th century, and their reopening precipitated collapse of bottomfish stocks. We argue that continued intensive bottom trawling for Nephrops with fine mesh nets will prevent the recovery of other species. This once diverse and highly productive environment will only be restored if trawl closures or other protected areas are re-introduced. The Firth of Clyde represents at a small scale a process that is occurring ocean-wide today, and its experience serves as a warning to others.”

Many other things of ecological importance were not known in detail or at all. For instance little was known about distribution and abundance of seaweeds. This led David Bellamy to set up a baseline kelp survey with the help of the BSAC in 1967/8 (6). It is to be noted that Maerl, a corraline pink seaweed, which is now highly protected was dredged to replace lime as an agricultural soil conditioner.

And yet a thread of knowledge from the observation of fishermen and early fisheries science ran through the laws that banned beam trawling and caused the three mile limit to be set in law. Time and again fishermen had reported seaweed and spawn brought up in trawls and were concerned.

In 1376, English fishers wrote to King Edward III to request his intervention in the use of the “wondyrechaun,” a weighted net dragged along the seafloor to snatch up anything in its path.

And that the great and long iron of the wondryechaun runs so heavily and hardly over the ground when fishing that it destroys the flowers of the land below water there, and also the spat of oysters, mussels and other fish upon which the great fish are accustomed to be fed and nourished. By which instrument in many places, the fishermen take such quantity of small fish that they do not know what to do with them; and that they feed and fat their pigs with them, to the great damage of the commons of the realm and the destruction of the fisheries, and they pray for a remedy.
The bottom trawl was so unpopular among hook-and-line fishers in Europe that they succeeded in staving off the new and damaging technology for centuries. Its use was banned in several countries and even made a capital offence in France in the 16th century.”

The Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act

The UK joined the EU in 1972. (With the the UK’s entry into the common fisheries policy not negotiated but simply imposed by the EU as a condition of membership of the EU.) Following a period of adaptation and further consultation with the fishing industry, the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984, removed all previous legislation and replaced it with new legislation which gave ministers power to regulate fishing in inshore waters.

It is very important to note that nursery and spawning areas were not explicitly defined or protected in law by the act, as recommended by Cameron, because the act was written to allow such restrictions to be made and removed as conditions and knowledge changed. Sadly this appears to have been forgotten.

The following extracts from the debates about the act illustrate the concerns of the fishing community and the politicians: They are quoted from Hansard. [2, 3]

Extracts from Hansard 1983
The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Gray of Contin) My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.
The regulation of inshore fisheries in Scotland has a long history. Scottish sea fisheries are governed by provisions scattered through an extensive body of legislation ranging from the Fisheries Act 1705 to the Fisheries Act 1981. Deriving from the parent Acts are a large number of orders and by-laws. In this way the Secretary of State has available to him a great number of powers relating to inshore fishing.
This extensive body of law has taken shape in response to differing circumstances and for differing, though related, purposes. It is time to stop grafting new shoots on to what is now a very venerable trunk and to start afresh with a completely new plant. This Bill provides for the repeal of the existing outdated legislation governing inshore fishing and its replacement by a readily comprehensible and enforceable regime, suited to modern conditions in the fishing industry.
The conclusion that a fresh start was needed was first reached some years ago now. In 1967 the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, set up a committee under the chairmanship of Lord Cameron to review the regulation of Scottish inshore fisheries. That committee reported in 1970 and concluded that the legislation was difficult to understand, obsolete in certain respects and irrelevant to modern conditions. Lord Cameron recommended many changes. While the Government were considering this report we joined the EEC and that in turn created radical changes not only in the law but also in fishing patterns. It became clear that a comprehensive revision could not take place until we knew the final shape of the common fisheries policy. That policy was concluded only earlier this year and so it is with, I think, commendable speed that the Government have reacted by bringing before your Lordships our proposals.
Apart from the decisions on the common fisheries policy, there was one other development in the last four years which has had a part in shaping the scene. For nearly 80 years it was generally believed that there was a prohibition on trawling within three miles of the shore. In 1979 however the Sheriff at Dingwall decided that the ban applied only to bottom trawling and that midwater trawling for pelagic species was permissible. This has meant that, particularly on the west coast, pelagic trawlers have been able to come right up to the shore to take fish, a development which has increased the number of incidents occurring between static and mobile gear fishermen.
Following the Dingwall judgment and by way of preparation for the situation, once the common fisheries policy had been decided, my noble predecessor as Minister of State asked a committee of officials to reconsider the findings of the Cameron Report in the light of the many changes and developments since 1970. That committee issued a report in 1981 as a departmental consultation paper on which the views of the industry and other interested persons were sought.
It will be no surprise to the House to learn that a wide variety of views and reactions were submitted. We have given very careful consideration to the representations received, and it is on the basis of all this preparatory work that we have brought this Bill before the House.
Having sketched in very briefly the background, I should like to turn to the Bill itself and to outline some of its main aspects. This Bill is designed primarily to achieve two main objectives: these are the protection and conservation of fish stocks, particularly immature and breeding stocks, and the minimisation of conflict between static and mobile gear fishermen. It is the habit of fish to breed and to grow in the waters close inshore and, if I may borrow a term from another important primary source of food, it is these stocks which are the seed corn of the fishing industry. As such they are especially vulnerable to unregulated exploitation.
At the same time, and often in the same areas, we are seeing increasing conflict because of the incompatibility of pursuing static and mobile gear fishing. The Government recognise that both types of fishing have important roles to play and that fishermen in both sectors have a perfect right to earn a decent livelihood. Because that right can be threatened in the current circumstances we are aiming to create conditions which will provide fairness and equity in our inshore waters.
The Bill is very short because it is, in a sense, a neutral measure. It does not make any proposals for regulation but simply creates the context and framework within which the Secretary of State may make orders for regulating the fisheries. The choice of structure is deliberate because we want to avoid becoming locked into regulations which, although they may be appropriate for today’s fishing patterns, might not be appropriate in future years. We want to create a system which can respond flexibly, quickly and sympathetically to the changing demands of the fishing industry.
The heart of the Bill is in Clause 1, which enables the Secretary of State to make orders regulating fishing in the waters around the coast of Scotland out to a distance of six miles from the baseline. We have chosen this distance because it is within six miles from baselines that almost all the static gear fishing is carried out. This is also the area within which only British fishermen may operate. While it is true that for the major part of the Scottish coast United Kingdom fishermen have exclusive rights out to 12 miles, there are areas where other EEC fishermen have specific rights in the 6-to-12 mile belt. There are, of course, already existing United Kingdom and Community laws for regulation of the more complex position where United Kingdom and other EEC nationals have rights. The clause provides for the prohibition of fishing for all fish, or for some kinds of fish, or fishing by specified methods. These prohibitions may be applied at specific times of the year and there is also scope for exceptions to the prohibitions.
In fact, it is the Secretary of State’s intention to create what have been called static gear reserves and fish nursery areas. That is to say, he proposes to designate certain areas of the sea within which it will be illegal to fish by trawl, seine and other mobile gears. For the convenience of the House, I intend to place in the Library between now and Committee stage a copy of my right honourable friend’s initial proposals for these static gear and young fish nursery areas. It is also our intention that the views of fishing organisations both at local and at national level be sought in this connection.
Ardnamurchan Point to the Mull of Galloway. They say: “Static gear fishermen and mobile fishermen have reached an understanding which allows for a constant exchange of information which reduces conflict”.”They agree with the conservation aspects; but this important point about static gear is one of the most controversial that the Government have embarked upon. There is nothing in the Bill about it. You could not read Clause 1 and say that the Government are going to do that. This is what has come out of the Government’s discussions following the 1981 consultations. The same is true about the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation who say: “We are totally opposed to the concept of static gear reserves”,” and they represent over 1,000 fishermen in Scotland. They go on: “The present restrictions on the use of mobile gear within three miles are outdated and should be removed”.” The Government are going to do that, but we have not been able to tell what conditions, if any, there will be. There are some laid down by the Cameron Report.
What we have now is a situation which nobody wants. We have been through all this before. The fishermen’s organisations used to be very divided indeed. I think that it took the efforts of the EEC to bring them all together for their own protection. I plead with the Government to change their minds about this. Why not introduce that schedule into the Bill right at the start? We shall then see it. It might take the Bill a little longer to go through this House and another place, but I can assure the noble Lord that there will be very considerable bitterness; and the reactions of the Clyde Coast fishermen, the Fishermen’s Federation and the Pelagic Fishermen’s Association are all the same.
May I quote from the Western Isles Free Press, which the noble Lord has probably seen. That says: “John Nicholson, General Manager of the Stornoway Fishermen’s Co-operative, said that all the arguments lead back to the need for local management. It was quite unnecessary to ban trawling within all areas at all times.” They went on to say: “We have been working quite happily here on the basis of local agreement about where and when different kinds of fishing should have precedence”.” But that will be thrown on its head by the central control of the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of the Highlands and Islands Fishermen’s Association says that they are against static gear reserves and they have told the noble Lord, Lord Gray, so. It is not getting round to the problem of conservation and improving stocks. They are concerned about the lack of local consideration. The Secretary of the Mallaig and North-West Fishermen’s Association said that the idea of area management would be much preferable. If static gear reserves were created, he feared that the reaction of trawlermen would be, “Don’t step out of there or we’ll tow your creels away.” This is creating the very conditions that we hoped to get away from.
We have heard plenty about EEC fishermen coming into what, in modern terms, would be called “our waters”. There is much bitterness within our own coastal fishing areas about what the Minister of State calls “nomadic fleets”. You are foreign if you come from just a few miles away. What we have achieved is a friendly exchange and, with the recommendations of the Cameron Report being so opposed to the privilege given to static fishermen, the Government should not have embarked on this Bill. So I hope that the Minister’s mind is not closed to that. We will try, somehow or other, to deal with this when we come to Committee.

Lord Ross of Marnock My Lords, I think we are grateful to the noble Lord the Minister of State for his explanation of the Bill. He said that his explanation was concise. He is quite right about that. But I think he should have read his words more closely when he said we now have a readily comprehensible new regime. Might I ask him this, first of all? Where is it? I defy any noble Lord to read this Bill and tell us what the new regime is. It just is not there. This is purely and simply an enabling Bill—enabling the Secretary of State to do what he likes.
I agree with the noble Lord that it is time something was done. As a matter of fact, I agreed to this somewhere around 1967, when I set up the Cameron Inquiry into fishing regulations. I now find my past catching up with me all the time in this place. I may say that the committee reported in December 1970 and the report was addressed to me, but by that time I was no longer Secretary of State, as the noble Lord on the other side will recollect.
To suggest that he is now carrying out with speed the wishes of the Cameron Committee report of 1970 is stretching it a bit much. These things could have been done, and in fact I am sure many of them have been waiting in the pigeonholes of St. Andrew’s House to be done, over a long time. I agree that they have to be done. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Cameron, happily, is still with us despite the fact that it is 13 years since he put his name to this report. He is still a judge in the Scottish courts, and more power to his elbow because his work for Scotland, not just judicially but in many other realms of public service, has been quite amazing for a man of his age. He is a man of considerable stature. I do not know what he will think of this Bill.
The noble and learned Lord was faced with about 24 Acts of Parliament stretching, I think, from George II in 1755 right up to 1968. We have added a few since then. Stemming from them were by-laws, mainly from the 1885 Act. There were about 84 bylaws, and that is not counting the other three that were purely by-laws repealing former by-laws. So there was a growth that required to be modernised; but to say that it was just lopping off and starting with a new trunk is wrong. By the way, you do not start with a new trunk; you usually plant something. What we are doing—at least, I hope so—is saving what is worthwhile and planting something new that is worthwhile.

Extracts from Hansard 1984
Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove The West Coast fisheries leaders say that a system of reserving areas for static gear fishing would be most unsatisfactory for all sections of the industry. A more flexible system based on local control would be preferable. That is their view. They told the noble Lord, Lord Gray, this when they met him and when they responded to his paper. Mr. Nicholson, for the Stornoway Fishermen’s Co-op, says that all arguments lead hack to the need for local management. To ban trawling within whole areas at all times would create resentment. There have been satisfactory local agreements over where different kinds of fishing should take precedence. This has worked successfully. Centralised control would be entirely the wrong way to proceed.
The Highlands and Islands Fishermen’s Association takes exactly the same view. It is against static gear reserves, and has told the Government so. Control should return to the fishermen and area committees should be established. Mr. Colin Thorn, for the Mallaig and North-West fishermen, says that if static gear reserves were created, it is feared that the reaction of the trawlermen would be, “Don’t step out of there or we’ll tow your gear away”.
That is what we want to avoid. The suggestion is that local arrangements, local concern and local agreement would be a far better way to proceed and that, if the static gear was properly marked and properly lit, there would not be the difficulties that some people imagine. There is not a great deal of difficulty at present. The Minister will say that fishing with creels and pots has grown over the years. That is why he pays no attention to what was said by Lord Cameron in what I think was paragraph 140 of his report. Lord Cameron knew that it was increasing and becoming more productive and more beneficial for the fishermen in this sector. You can go back to the Fleck Report, which draws attention to the increasing benefits from fishing with creels and pots and the importance of it.
We have to get down to what local fishermen say. The overwhelming body of fishermen, large and small, the individual area groups and the federation itself are unanimous that this is not the way to get rid of conflict, tension and difficulties and that to do this would mean that, instead of minimising it, you would maximise it. The whole policing aspect is quite terrifying. Once we get away from agreement and enter into the question of centralised policing, we face considerable difficulty. I hope that the Government will think again. I presume that we are going to listen to the same speech into which the Minister wandered when we discussed the previous amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Gray of Contin The noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, is not going to hear exactly the same speech again. He is going to hear a variation on a common theme. If the purpose of the amendment is to prevent the Secretary of State establishing the static gear reserves which the Government have proposed, then I am afraid that it would not achieve that aim. It is intended that the areas in question shall be closed only to mobile fishing gear. They will remain open not only to fishermen using static gear such as pots or creels but also to passive methods of fishing such as drift nets. To that extent, they will not be areas for the exclusive use of static gear fishermen and will not therefore be caught by this proviso.
The noble Lord, in moving the amendment, mentioned that local agreements were working successfully. I do not deny this. There are some local agreements which are probably working successfully. But many local agreements are not. The Highlands and Islands Fishermen’s Association was mentioned by the noble Lord. The association was the very first to complain when trawlers damaged static gear last autumn in contravention of a local agreement which was being held up as a model. There are other cases into which I could go but I shall not weary the House at this stage by doing so. It is simply not right to assume that all agreements work satisfactorily. So far as the creation of the static gear reserves and the nursery reserves which we propose are concerned, it is our view that those will have a very much better chance of success than if everything was left to local area management.

Lord Mowbray and Stourton My Lords, I apologise to the House for my inadvertent eagerness to speak so briefly which probably makes things longer in the long run. We have agreed to marine conservation reserves in principle and, as my noble friend has said, we seem to be somewhat lagging behind the rest of the world over the provision of coastal fishery galleries. This seems to be a shame. I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Grimond, should be alarmed, because these areas will only be designated after due consultation, but the principle is established.
My noble friend the Minister has already indicated that he does not mind the principle, because the areas would not be brought into effect without consultation. But let us give due credit to this idea and let us hope that sooner or later—and sooner, please—there will be some conservation areas which will not upset the fishing industry and from which in the long run the fishing industry as well as the country will indirectly gain.

What happened

My first recommendation is to read Callum Robert’s Ocean of Life. (9) and take into account the quote from his research on what happened in the Clyde.

The following graph shows the landed by-catch in the Scottish prawn trawl. It has been corrected for effort.

I should explain. In 2014 Wester Ross Marine Protected Area was only a possible MPA yet to be designated and the management measures for it were being hotly debated. In 2014, during the early stage of the debate I was asked if I could plot a graph showing what happened when the three mile limit was removed. “Sure” I said, “Give me the data.” But it turned out no one I knew had any. I sat down for several months of evenings, often late into the night, and typed the landing statistics from the annual reports of the fishery board for Scotland from 1882 onwards into spreadsheets to see what they showed. It is an imperfect way to work out what happened, so it must be used with caution, but it’s all I had.

I am not sure how much the decline is due to unintended damage to habitat and spawning grounds and how much is due to over fishing. Or to the cascade of change that happen when part of an ecosystem is removed. I have tried to look at other factors too: agricultural run off. The effect of detergent, TBT antifouling (which has a residence time of about 30 years.) plastic pollution and rising water temperature (documented by SAHFOS – Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science) etc. But there has been so much technological and environmental change in a hundred years that its hard to know how the complexity of all these factors fit together to produce the changes we see.

What should we do

It seems to me the real goal is to negotiate a transition to an inshore fisheries management that:

1. Provides a good living with job security in the long term for the maximum possible number of people.
2. Provides a living for fishermen during the transition.
3. Do the above based on joined up ecological thinking which builds an economy on businesses that create wealth but have a low or minimal impact on the environment.

The factors that must be considered in planning this are how to limit effort and the need for large no take zones to help reseed areas. Counter intuitively these have been shown by science to actually benefit fisheries.

Should we limit effort by fishing with a few large boats or a larger number of smaller boats. Which of these choices has the least energy cost in materials and fuel and which produces the greatest benefit for fishing communities?

The Cameron Report suggested boats up to 80 feet should be allowed to trawl inside of the three mile limit. The assumption being that bigger boats would produce a higher catch and profit for a few ‘efficient’ hard working crews. While this may well be the case I am not sure it is the best solution if one of the aims of management is job creation and security. But bear in mind that the report was written in 1970 when energy was cheap and efficiency with little regard for the social costs was considered to be desirable. That is a political and social choice. A better choice would be to ensure stability in order to provide food and job security while avoiding repeating another marine tragedy of the commons.

The Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation has presented the economic case for the greatest benefit being derived from support for low impact high value fisheries and the large numbers of small boats which are the fabric of the west coast fishing community. They have also argued the economic benefits of something like the 3 mile limit.

In the last few years I have noticed several naval architects working on the design of more fuel efficient inshore boats and wonder if what is needed is to optimise new boats to further minimise running costs.

Callum Roberts suggests large no take zones are needed. Since most of their area would be in international waters they will require international agreement to set up. He thinks this would result in a much larger catch at lower effort. He also thinks there are many places in which bottom trawling can continue without doing harm.

What the three mile limit did was to create a large continuous no trawl zone that also protected keystone species in shallow water.

A further thought

The food energy contained in fish is between half and one fiftieth of the energy used to catch it. (This includes the energy to construct the boat and to run its engines.) In other words we are currently running food production systems that consume 2 to 50 times more energy than they provide for us to eat. To make that clear if people could drink diesel and eat coal we could reduce our food bills by a factor of 2 to 50. There is very little published data on the energy return of fisheries. Reference 7. being an exception, but it is not impossibly difficult to work out, and more data should be collected.
To make it plain why this matters consider pre industrial farming systems, where the power came from human work, and farmers had to grow more energy than they consumed or the system would have collapsed in starvation.


1. The Cameron Report: The honourable lord Cameron, DSC, DL, LLD, FRSB, HRSA, QC., Regulation of Scottish Inshore Fisheries., Report of the Scottish inshore fisheries committee , presented to parliament by the secretary of state for Scotland by command of her majesty December 1970., HMSO Cmnd 4453

2.Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Bill [H.L.]., House of Lords Debate 29 November 1983 vol 445 cc561-73

3. Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Bill [H.L.]., House of Lords Debate 13 February 1984 vol 448 cc70-89

4. Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984.

5. Observations on herring spawning and larval distribution in the Firth of Clyde in 1958., Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom., Volume 38, Issue 3., December 1959, pp. 445-453

6. Bellamy D. & Whittick A. (1968) Operation Kelp II. Triton. February.

7. Tyedmers, P. 2001. Energy consumed by North Atlantic Fisheries. In ‘‘Fisheries Impacts on North Atlantic Ecosystems: Catch, Effort and National/Regional Datasets’’ (D. Zeller, R. Watson, and D.and Pauly, Eds.), Fisheries Centre Research Reports 9(3), 12–34.

8. Ecological Meltdown in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland : Two Centuries of Change in a Coastal Marine Ecosystem. Thurstan, Ruth H.; Roberts, Callum M., In: Plos one, Vol. 5, No. 7, e11767, 29.07.2010, p. 1-14.

9. Callum Roberts., Ocean of Life., Penguin (2013).

Summary of The Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984

The act gave power to regulate or prohibit the following:

All fishing for sea fish
Fishing for a specified description of sea fish
Fishing by a specified method
Fishing from a specified description of fishing boat
Fishing from or by means of any vehicle, or any vehicle of a specific description
Fishing by means of a specified description of equipment
Ministers may also specify the period during which prohibitions apply, and any exceptions to any prohibition

The Common Fisheries Policy

The first rules were created in 1970. The original six Common Market members realised that four countries applying to join the Common Market at that time (Britain, Ireland, Denmark including Greenland, and Norway) would control the richest fishing grounds in the world. The original six therefore drew up Council Regulation 2141/70 giving all Members equal access to all fishing waters, even though the Treaty of Rome gave no authority to do this. This was adopted on the morning of 30 June 1970, a few hours before the applications to join were officially received. This ensured that the regulations became part of the acquis communautaire before the new members joined, obliging them to accept the regulation. In its accession negotiations, the UK at first refused to accept the rules but by the end of 1971 the UK gave way and signed the Accession Treaty on 22 January 1972, thereby bringing into the CFP joint management an estimated four fifths of all the fish off Western Europe Norway decided not to join. Greenland left the EC in 1985, after having gained partial independence from Denmark in 1979.
When the fisheries policy was originally set up the intention was to create a free trade area in fish and fish products with common rules. It was agreed that fishermen from any state should have access to all waters. An exception was made for the coastal strip, which was reserved for local fishermen who had traditionally fished those areas. A policy was created to assist modernisation of fishing vessels and on-shore installations.
In 1976 The EU extended its fishing waters from 12 miles to 200 miles (22.2 km to 370.4 km) from the coast, in line with other international changes. This required additional controls and the CFP as such was created in 1983. This now had four areas of activity: conservation of stocks, vessels and installations, market controls, and external agreements with other nations.
It was determined that there had been over-investment in vessels, over-fishing and that numbers of fish landed were decreasing. The review identified a need to improve compliance with the regulations. This led to a tightening of regulations and better monitoring of individual vessels. A second review was planned for 2002.
Although fishing could be managed by reducing the fleet size, available fish vary from year to year too much to make this sensible. So a permit system was introduced stating where and when boats are allowed to fish. Scientific studies were commissioned to better-determine available stocks and guide allocation of permits.