Scotland Crab Fishing

The fishing of crab has been practiced in Scotland since at least the 13th century. Seafood Scotland reports that fishing in Scotland’s small coastal cities is a significant industry today. While crabs may be found close to the shore, professional crab fishermen use crab boats in deeper waters.



According to Encyclopaedia British Islands Scotland can be found at the northern end of British Islands. It is bordered by water on all three sides with the Atlantic and North Seas to its west.

Scotland’s rugged coast is home to small, isolated islands and fiords. These are the areas where many villages rely on fishing as their main source of income.


Crab Fisheries

Scottish crab fishing is dominated by the Hebrides Islands, Sule and South Minch. Crabs are taken offshore with modern boats. According to The Scotsman, most crabs are exported to England and the South of Europe.

  • Scottish crab fishing is mainly done in the Hebrides Islands, Sule and South Minch, as well as on the Orkney islands.
  • According to The Scotsman, most crabs are exported to England and the South of Europe.

This is due to the drop in sales caused by the recession. UK crabmeat sales declined to 504 tons in 2009, from 739 tonnes in 2008.

According to Seafood Scotland, vessels landing crabs must have a shellfish licence.


Fischerei Tools

MacDougals Marine Service says crabs can be caught in creels. They are made up of steel bars 8-10mm in diameter, welded together, and covered in plastic. Over the openings, creels have nylon eyes and netting. A rope is used to attach the creel’s frame across its bars. Base is rubber, or tied with rope.

  • According to MacDougals Marine Service, crabs can be caught in creels made of 8-10mm steel bars that have been welded together. These are then coated with plastic and netted into the cages.
  • These creels have nylon eyes and netting covering the openings.


Crab species

According to The Fish Site, the main crab fishing operations in Scotland are for brown crabs. They can be found offshore at depths of up to 100 meters. These crabs can be found on sandy reefs, in mixed ground or in soft sediment. Small invertebrates are the main food source for brown crabs. Brown crabs also forage for food. Brown crabs with a carapace greater than 140mm can be captured. While mature crabs may be located further offshore, juveniles will remain near the shore.

  • According to The Fish Site the major crab fisheries of Scotland capture brown crabs. These crabs can be found at offshore depths as high as 100m.
  • Brown crabs up to 140mm in length can be captured.


Crab fishing is a sport

BBC Scotland reports that fishing is legal in Scotland. Sea fishing is allowed from shorelines, but it’s free if you use angling rods. Charter boats are available to take tourists sea fishing trips. It is possible to also angling crabs from the coast.

  • According to BBC Scotland, it is normal for a person to fish in Scotland without obtaining a permit and permission from the owner.
  • Sea fishing is possible from shore using an angling rod.