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Fish Landed

The Less Edible Fish

Lesser Spotted Dogfish: Abundant around the coast this mini shark has a very rough skin when rubbed from tail to head. Known locally as LSDs, Doggies, or Blin' Lizzies. Bottom dwelling shark, with a liking for sandy, coral type structures, mud, gravel and algal areas. Found in very shallow waters to 110m. 
Food:Mainly crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and molluscs (especially whelks) occasionally small fish and squid.

Bull Huss (or Greater Spotted Dogfish): This is similar to the LSD but grows to over 20lbs. Likes a rough or rocky bottom and areas where there is algae covering.
FOOD: Molluscs (mussels and oysters) crustaceans (crabs, lobsters and squat lobsters and
prawns) and boney fish; small species like Pouting, Poor Cod and Whiting.

Spur Dogfish: Smaller member of the shark family, with 2 spines on its back to be careful of. This aggressive feeder will take fish, squid and crab

Conger Eel:
A powerful fighter with a bite to match. They can grow to over 100lbs.  Have a dark back with a grey-white belly, they have a scaleless body, with a single fin on the back and underside.


Common Eel:
Silver or Fresh water eel can be caught in estuaries where they look to feed on peeler crabs.

Flatfish, common in river estuaries and sandy beaches. A 2lb fish would be considered as a specimen. They can be found from early spring, through most of the winter.

Common Skate:
These fish can grow to over 200lbs. Best targeted from the boat. They range from the Western Isles right round the north of Scotland. The common skate (Raja batis) is the largest of the skates and rays of western Europe, and one of the largest fish in our waters. Unlike rays they show a liking for rough ground, even pinnacle rock at times.



A true member of the shark family, this fish can strip line from your reel at an alarming pace. Best targeted from the boat, however they can be caught from the shore in certain locations.

Edible fish

Bass: Showing all around the country from estuaries and open beaches (and power station outfalls). Very powerful fish.

File:Gadus morhua Cod-2b-Atlanterhavsparken-Norway.JPGCod: Resident fish around the coast tend to be smaller with the bigger fish appearing in autumn and winter. Double figure fish are caught each year from shore marks. Boat fishing on the east coast in summer can produce good bags of fish to crab and mussel baits. 





Coalfish (or Saithe): Bigger fish are found over the many wrecks in early spring and can be caught with feathers or fish strips. Smaller fish are caught right round the coast throughout the year.  Locally known as shitie sadies by Fittie Loons.

Small flatfish, found over clean sandy bottom marks. These fish don't grow very big, with a fish over 1lb classed as a specimen. Dab have quite a varied diet. Shrimps, Worms, Shellfish such as Crab, remaining fish scraps, and occasionally live fish such as Sand eels


Haddock: Distinct thumb print mark on flank behind the head. Larger fish can be found around the western islands and around the north of Scotland. Boat fishing offers the best chance of landing a good fish.  The haddock is easily recognized by a black lateral line running along its white side (not to be confused with Pollock which has the reverse, ie white line on black side) and a distinctive dark blotch above the pectoral fin, often described as a "thumbprint" or even the "Devil's thumbprint" or "St. Peter's mark". Haddock is most commonly found at depths of 40 to 133 m, but has a range as deep as 300 m. It thrives in temperatures of 2° to 10°C (36° to 50°F). Juveniles prefer shallower waters and larger adult’s deeper water. Generally, adult haddock do not engage in long migratory behaviour as do the younger fish, but seasonal movements have been known to occur across all ages. Haddock feed primarily on small invertebrate.sGrowth rates of haddock have changed significantly over the past 30 to 40 years. Presently, growth is more rapid, with haddock reaching their adult size much earlier than previously noted. However, the degree to which these younger fish contribute to reproductive success of the population is unknown. Reaching sizes up to 1.1 m, haddock is fished for year-round. Spawning occurs between January and June, peaking during late March and early April. The most important spawning grounds are in the waters off middle Norway near southwest Iceland, An average-sized female produces approximately 850,000 eggs, and larger females are capable of producing up to 3 million eggs each year. , although larger members of the species may occasionally consume fish.

Halibut is the largest flat fish, averaging 11–13.5 kg (24–30 lb), but catch as large as 333 kg (730 lb) are reported; the largest recently recorded was 245 kg (540 lb) taken off the coast of northern Norway and 2.5 M long.  They are gray-black on the top side with an off-white underbelly and have very small scales invisible to the naked eye embedded in their skin.  At birth, they have an eye on each side of the head, and swim like a salmon. After 6 months, one eye migrates to the other side, making them look more like flounder. At the same time, the stationary-eyed side darkens to match the top side, while the other  side remains white.  This colour scheme disguises halibut from above (blending with the ocean floor) and from below (blending into the light from the sky) and is known as counter-shading.


Hake: Elusive predator found in deeper water, can be caught from the boats operating out of the northern ports and along the western sea lochs. Sleek bodied fish with a mouthful of sharp teeth.





Ling: Ferocious predator who prefers wrecks and rough ground. Boat anglers are more likely to catch ling while fishing for Cod or Conger. They have an eel like shape, but are related to the Cod family.







File:Trachurus declivis.jpgMackerel: These 'turbo charged' fish appear in summer in large shoals around most of the coastline and offer great fun on light tackle. They are beautifully marked with blue, green, and silver flashes. Mackerel make great bait for many other species and are often the first fish caught by youngsters new to sea fishing.






File:Monkfish.jpgMonk Fish - Angler English name of a number of types of fish in the northwest Atlantic, most notably the species of the anglerfish genus Lophius and the angelshark genus Squatina.  The term is also occasionally used for a European sea monster more often called a sea monk.








File:Pleuronectes platessa.jpgPlaice: These flatfish have bright orange spots on the darker top side. They appear around the coast from early spring and into summer looking to feed on the abundance of crabs ready to moult their shell (peeler crabs). Look for shingle or sandy bottoms where the plaice will rummage around for their next meal.






Pollack: The large eyes indicate that this fish hunts by sight and will ambush small fish from the cover of the reefs or rocks close to the shore. These fish grow to double figures.


Thornback Ray: As the name suggests, this fish is armed with small 'thorns' over the back and down the length of the tail, take care when handling them. Double figure specimens are found around the west coast of Scotland, and in particular in the deep sea lochs from both boat and shore.







File:Wijting002.jpgWhiting: These little fish are found around our coast from autumn through the winter. Commonly known as whiting (or 'English whiting') is an important food fish in the Eastern North Atlantic, Northern Mediterranean, Western Baltic, and Black Sea. In English speaking countries outside the Whiting's natural range, the name has been applied to various other species of fish.  Until the later 20th century, whiting was a cheap fish, regarded as food for the poor or for pets.


Turbot - The body outline of the turbot is almost circular. The upper side lacks scales, but has many bony tubercules. Males tend to be smaller than females. Breeding occurs in April-August at depths of 10-40 m. Females may each produce over 10 million eggs. The planktonic young move to the bottom at about 4-6 months, to inhabit shallow inshore waters. Turbot reach sexual maturity at about 5 years, when 30-40 cm long. Turbot generally inhabit waters of 20-80 m, on both sandy and rocky ground.  Turbot generally inhabit waters of 20-80 m, on both sandy and rocky ground.



Scotland has a global reputation of providing the best quality and range of seafood. Nephrops, Langoustines or Prawns (as they are called locally and not to be confused with Atlantic or Pacific Pandalus Borealis) that are caught by Scottish fishermen and landed in Scotland represents over 80% of the global supply.  Partan Crabs were also widely harvested.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013