What we do

SIFT has adopted the following key strategic themes for its work:

Designing and implementing new fisheries management measures and legislation

We focus on practical solutions that lead good practice by example rather than by discourse.

We work in the Firth of Clyde which is a microcosm of Scotland’s inshore fisheries: the Firth suffers from a degraded ecosystem which no longer supports the commercial stocks of fin fish for which it was once famed. As a result, both commercial and recreational fishing have suffered. Instead, the fishery is almost exclusively for shell fish, much of which is caught using trawls and dredges. This reliance on only two shell fish species jeopardises the long term future of the fishery. The Firth also suffers from gear conflict between different types of fishermen.

In 2015 SIFT submitted a sophisticated Fishery Management Plan for the Firth of Clyde to the Scottish Government in an application for a Regulating Order. The plan proposed zoning the Firth into areas which would allow the existing fishery to continue whilst also enabling fin-fish stocks to recover, thereby diversifying and strengthening the fishery. To the disappointment of our numerous supporters in the commercial fishery, recreational fishery, environmental protection, academic and local Clyde communities, our proposals were turned down by the Scottish Government in 2016. 

SIFT continues to promote new fisheries management measures, many of which were components of our Regulating Order proposals through other channels.

Increasing the representation of a wider range of stakeholders in fisheries management.

We help under-represented stakeholders’ voice their concerns more effectively in policy-making.

We work with members of the static gear fishery (creelers and divers) and the recreational angling community to help them form and operate associations which give them a voice in policy-making at the Scottish Parliament. Static gear fishermen represent the great majority of Scotland’s inshore fishermen and are crucial to the welfare of many coastal communities. Yet they had no representative body until 2012. We helped to establish and finance the Scottish Scallop Divers Association and the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, which now operate as effective and independent voices for more sustainable types of inshore fishing.

Promoting the use of objective scientific and economic data.

We promote the most policy-relevant areas of research and ensure that its findings are used as a basis for decision-making.

We work with a wide variety of universities in Scotland and elsewhere, and with scientific and economic consultants, from whom we commission reports which underpin our advocacy work and proposals for changes in management of fisheries. Some of the reports we have commissioned are available for the public to view on this website, here.

Raising the management of inshore fisheries up the political agenda.

We raise concerns about the inshore fishery with politicians at Holyrood and officials and Ministers at the Scottish Government.

We frequently meet with Members of the Scottish Parliament to discuss inshore fisheries issues and provide data and information which helps these MSPs draft and submit Parliamentary Questions, Parliamentary Motions and Debates in the Chamber. We also meet with members of relevant Parliamentary Committees and with Ministers and their staff.

This advocacy work provides a vital balance to the lobbying work undertaken by some of the representatives of the commercial fishery sector.

Educating the public about sustainable fisheries.

We provide information for the benefit of the public so that they can better understand the problems in the waters around the Scottish coast. We also promote the public’s awareness of its ‘ownership’ of these inshore waters.

We have developed the public education website Revive the Clyde for our work on the Firth of Clyde. It is can be visited here.

We also provide information on how the public can get more involved in the management of inshore waters. In particular, we have published information on the planning and regulation of marine fish farms. SIFT supports the use of aquaculture in order to reduce pressure on wild capture fisheries, but we believe that the aquaculture industry must operate transparently and harmoniously with other stakeholders. Our aquaculture publications, which are intended to empower as well as educate the public are here.


SIFT in pictures


5 Rose Street, Thorn House, EDINBURGH, EH2 2PR. Company No. 399582,

Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust is a Registered Scottish Charity Number SC042334