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Fishing Gear Entanglement: Lobster Pot Controls For Scottish Waters

12th September 2018
The RNLI try to free a yacht entangled in pots in the UK The RNLI try to free a yacht entangled in pots in the UK Photo: RNLI

Hello and welcome to the weekly MacSweeney Podcast

There is no national listing that I can find of the number of incidents in which leisure craft have become entangled in fishing gear in Irish waters.

When it happens, this is dangerous, often restricting steerage if the rudder is trapped and engine power when a propeller is affected.

The need for fishermen to mark the positions of their pots used for fishing lobster, crab or other fish or shellfish is understood. However, entanglement of leisure craft is a safety issue.

"Scottish maritime authorities intend to deal with it in a strong manner"

Scottish maritime authorities intend to deal with it in a strong manner, with new legislation to control potting to be introduced from next Spring.

It will ban the use of anything except regulated and marked fishing within 12 nautical miles of Scottish baselines from next Spring. This means, it says, “no plastic containers, empty fuel containers or even plastic milk bottles.”

These have been used in Irish waters. There have been several RNLI lifeboat call-outs to help free leisure craft entangled in pots. The only action taken about safety concerns in Ireland has been a “reminder” issued last year by the Department of Transport about their “obligation” to other users of the sea.

Listen to the podcast below for more details about what is being done to control the dangers caused by badly marked pots in Scotland. Then vote in our reader poll below and give your view on Lobster Pot control

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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