Fishing for sandeel is to be banned in Scottish waters ahead of the 2024 fishery season, subject to Parliamentary approval.

Sandeel support the long term sustainability and resilience of the marine ecosystem and are an important food source for many species, including marine mammals, seabirds and predatory fish.

Commercial fishing for sandeel is currently carried out entirely by European vessels. In recognition of the importance of the species to marine biodiversity, no fishing quota has been allocated to UK vessels since 2021.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands Mairi Gougeon said:

“Sandeel are a vital part of our marine ecosystem and a critical component of the food chain in the North Atlantic.

“It is critical that we manage our marine environment in a such a way as to ensure its sustainable use, protecting biodiversity and ensuring healthy functioning ecosystems.”