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Scottish Seine Netting (flydragging) uses long lengths of seine rope to herd fish into the path of the net as the gear is hauled. Up to 3 kilometres of rope may be put out in a triangular configuration (see picture) with the dhan, or marker buoy, supporting the end of rope first shot. The vessel returns to this to complete the shoot. Both ropes are then led to the winch and the vessel steams slowly ahead at around 1 knot, gradually increasing winch speed as the gear closes to keep the net moving steadily forward.

Floats keep the net open vertically and this is attached to the footrope using a combination sweep of rope and wire. The footrope is generally rigged much lighter than that of a trawl, but is sufficiently weighted to keep the lower edge of the net mouth in contact with the sea bed. Floats rigged to the headline keep the seine net open.  A seine net may reach a forward speed of 2 knots during the later stages of the haul, before it leaves the bottom. Most whitefish species can be taken by this method, which is mostly used on the continental shelf up to a maximum depth of 200 metres.

Seine net vessels range from 12-30m and in the past were fitted with much lower powered engines than trawlers of comparable size, as they use lighter gear. New vessels are generally built as dual purpose seiners/trawlers and have shelterdecks under which the long rope warps are stored on rope reels. An articulated power block is used to haul both sweeps and net.


Click to view the environmental impacts of this catching method

Potential Impacts (Biological/Environmental) Gear Selectivity Regulation


• Removal of and damage to sedentary marine organisms such as seaweed/corals

• Capture and removal of small sized marine organisms and non-target species

• Capture/discarding of undersized target species


• Damage to seabed strata

• Disturbance of bottom sediments

• Disturbance of bottom sediments

• Overall impacts are much less than trawl operations, as there is no use of trawl doors and the gear is not towed for long distances.

• Mesh size

• Square mesh panels

• Control of headline height

• Used to target small localised patches of fishing ground.

• Minimum mesh size

• Minimum fish sizes

• Inclusion of square mesh panels

• Maximum twine thickness

• Net attachments must meet specific regulation conditions to prevent obstruction to net meshes, eg use of bag strengtheners

• Maximum _ of meshes in bag circumference

• % of catch mix retained on board.


Improvement measures and initiatives taken by Scottish Fishermen

• Seine net gear tends to be very much lighter than trawl gear as it is not towed. 

• Lighter gear using modern materials have helped maintain the Scottish seine net as an economical, low seabed impact fishing method.

• Scottish fishermen have been able to use the seine net very selectively for specific demersal species, because it is operated very slowly over the seabed so does not catch faster swimming demersal species such as Saithe, Pollack and Lythe.

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