Environment & place
Bathing waters are designated where people are expected to be swimming and there is no permanent bathing prohibition or other advice against bathing in place. They are classified from Excellent to Poor, based on water quality. Water quality here is monitored during the bathing season by SEPA, with daily forecasts published on their website.
Fisherrow Sands lost its bathing water designation in 2020 due to five consecutive years of an average 'Poor' rating. This bathing water is subject to short term pollution when heavy rainfall occurs. Pollution risks include storm water sewage and surface water drainage. DNA tracing indicates that human, dog and gull sources are contributing to faecal pollution of the bathing water. There is a risk that short-term pollution could occur here up to two days after heavy rainfall. SEPA and Scottish Water are currently carrying out improvement works in the area to address this. You can find out more through SEPA’s website, here.
Tides: 0-500 m from the water’s edge
Average rainfall: 296mm (below Scottish average of 331mm)
Main tributaries: Burnstane/Niddrie Burn and the River Esk to the East
Catchment area: 26.7km2 of land drains into this bathing water
Beach Manager: East Lothian Council.
Community information: There are a number of local community groups that work to care for the beach and surrounding area, including Fisherrow Harbour Association, Fisherrow Waterfront Group, Eskmuthe Rowing Club and Love Musselburgh.
Stay safe at the beach with this advice from RNLI.
Learn more about bathing water quality and your role in making sure that the sand and sea at Fisherrow Sands is clean for everyone to enjoy.
History & Heritage
The waters of the Firth of Forth have lapped the Fisherrow shoreline throughout the ages. Have you ever considered what has changed over the years...and what more might change in the future?
A good place for a harbour
Fisherrow has been a harbour since the Romans settled in the area around AD80, building a harbour at the mouth of the River Esk.
Rebuilt in the early 1800s, it is classified as a B-listed building, meaning it is of architectural or historical significance.
A history of fishing
Fishing has always been an important part of life at Fisherrow. Fishermen used to fish for herring, and later for white fish, prawns and sprats.
The harbour was home to a large fishing fleet, but dwindling fish stocks in the 1930s combined with the development of large ocean trawlers saw the trade decline by the end of the 1950s.
Have we missed something? Help us make this page a true celebration of Fisherrow Sands! Get in touch.
Find out how to get involved in 'My Beach, Your Beach' this summer with campaign materials, activities and learning resources for children and adults!