Nature Heroes - Scottish Entanglement Alliance

Scotland’s creel fishermen are determined to reduce the entanglement of whales and basking sharks in their gear. Entanglement can kill and injure marine life, and that is why the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, NatureScot, research scientists, and marine conservation and rescue groups have forged the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA), to find solutions that will protect our marine life and preserve this low impact fishery which supports coastal communities and livelihoods.

There has been extensive research into the issue of fisheries and sensitive wildlife interactions globally, but it is often difficult to find workable solutions. However, this pioneering collaboration in Scotland between a diverse range of organisations has made great progress already and is on track to make a real difference. For example, a group of creel fishermen on Scotland’s west coast are currently trialling the practicality of a type of heavy rope that will reduce the risk of entanglement. This solution is made in Scotland but has relevance throughout the UK and beyond.

Small boat on sea

The Scottish Entanglement Alliance is a collaboration between NatureScot, the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and British Divers Marine Life Rescue. More recently, the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) has joined the Alliance. The Alliance has received funding support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Scottish Entanglement Alliance tiles
Scottish Entanglement Alliance - Project Highlights
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A series of 6 graphical tiles:

  • The Scottish Entanglement Alliance was launched in 2018
  • There were 909 active creel fishing vessels in Scotland in 2022
  • Creel vessels are mostly small and make short fishing trips each day catching shellfish including langoustine, lobsters and crabs
  • Scottish creel fishers caught 12,686 tonnes of shellfish in 2022
  • The SEA project estimates around 30 minke whales and six humpback whales become entangled in Scottish waters each year
  • Solutions currently being trialled could reduce entanglements of some species by up to 80% in Scottish waters


Find out more

Scotland's Biodiversity Strategy and the Consultation

Minke whales

Basking sharks

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