As part of its ongoing drive for long term sustainability the NSRAC Nephrops Focus Group ( asked us to produce a long term management plan for the Nephrops fishery in Fladen fishing grounds.


  • Annie Hooper
  • Magnus Johnson
  • Dr John Whelan
  • Bob Houghton
  • Jane Sandell

SWFPA Chief Executive, Mike Park for his technical advice and support and the members of the SWFPA in particular James Reid, Chairman of the SWFPA Nephrops Committee and Bill Wiseman, Vice Chairman of the SWFPA.


This involved examining past trends in the fishery, analysing the movements of boats over the last few years and interviewing skippers and others involved in the industry. Working with the fleet we developed a management plan, specifically tailored for the Fladen Nephrops Fishery that aims to ensure the sustainability of the stock and the wider environment. The plan is based on a consultative exploration of the range of possible management options.

The overarching component of our approach to the research and delivery of the report and its recommendations has been our regard to engagement of the Fladen Nephrops Fishery.

Our research, final report and its recommendations support the intent to increase the economic and social stability of the Nephrops industry in Scotland and improve the management of a fishery that is predominantly prosecuted by the Scottish fleet. Whilst providing, yet another good example of Scottish proactivity towards advancing fisheries management.



To enable the continued engagement and consultation and making best use of our social media contacts within the Fladen Nephrops industry we produced a short video giving a brief summary of the position of the fishery, a reflection of what skippers and others have told us and made it available on line at

This put forward some very tentative initial suggestions for management measures that could be included in a long term management plan for the fishery.


The Fladen fishery has low density, large sized stocks of Nephrops that below a certain catch rate makes the grounds uneconomic to fish. There appears to be a link between winter temperatures the previous year and the following years catch. This may be due to the dynamic vulnerability of Nephrops. This offers the ground some natural protection as it is an offshore fishery, thus costly to fish. There is no need for further legislative spatial protection.
The grounds cannot be considered in isolation from other functional units as the Nephrops fleet has pack-like behaviour and moves from ground to ground as the fishery comes on.
While the fishery has made significant advances with regard to selectivity, there is more that could be done such as the development of active rather than passive selectivity. We hope that the discard ban and the end of the cod recovery plan will lead to a freeing up of gear configuration regulations and allow skippers to develop specific techniques for their own boats.
We do not think the fleet should move to 3-4 rig trawls. This would increase the efficiency of larger boats and reduce the effective natural protection that the grounds already have.