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To ask the Scottish Government how many incidents were reported to Marine Scotland in each of the last five years because of disputes between the users of static and mobile fishing gear, and how many led to (a) legal action, broken down by the number of times the complaints upheld and (b) prosecution, broken down by the number of convictions.

Answered by Richard Lochhead (20/08/2015):

Deliberate gear conflict is a common law offence, better understood as vandalism or theft, and is therefore a matter for Police Scotland to investigate. Marine Scotland compliance has no enforcement remit where fishing gear has been damaged or towed away. It therefore follows that any subsequent legal action leading to prosecutions or convictions are matters for the crown office and procurator fiscal service (COPFS) and Scottish court service (SCS) respectively. The following table details the instances of alleged gear conflict reported to Marine Scotland compliance in each of the calendar years:


No of instances of gear conflict reported


74 (up to 17 July 2015)









Although the overwhelming majority of fishermen, whether static or mobile, manage to co-operate well on a daily basis sharing fishing areas when targeting the same species without conflict. However, the Scottish Government has recognised that where gear conflict occurs it can have a significant effect on individual fishermen. We sought views on gear conflict for a new policy direction and the report of that consultation will be available later this year.

Current Status: Answered by Richard Lochhead on 20/08/2015
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