Fisheries Consultations on Scotland’s Rich and Diverse Seas

image credit Bell

A series of consultations has been launched by the Scottish Government on: the draft UK Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS), Enhancing Sustainable Fisheries Management and Scotland’s Future Catching Policy.

The consultations are open to everyone but are of particular interest to:

  • Individuals, groups, or businesses who are engaged in the fishing, seafood, or aquaculture sectors
  • Other individuals, groups or businesses who are sea users, for example, marine industries such as oil and gas, offshore renewables and sailing bodies
  • National and local interest groups such as environmental and recreational non-governmental organisations, and industry federations

Links to the consultations:

Consultation on the draft Joint Fisheries Statement which closes on 18th April 2022. – The JFS is intended to set out the UK overarching policy direction from within which the future direction of fisheries management will be developed by relevant fisheries policy authorities. 

Enhancing sustainable fisheries management – Remote Electronic Monitoring which closes 7th June 2022 – The consultation seeks views on the rollout of REM to the scallop and pelagic fleet segments, and initial views on REM applied across other sections of the fleet. 

Scotland’s Future Catching Policy consultation which closes on 7th June 2022 –  Scotland’s Future Catching Policy (FCP), which will establish a new approach to managing sea fishing activities within Scottish waters 

The measures include managing fish stocks, discarded catches, reducing unwanted catches (seabirds, marine mammals) and introducing mandatory Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM).

The proposed rules will apply to all vessels, regardless of origin, fishing in Scottish waters.

Image credit Scottish Government

In her statement to the Scottish Parliament on the Fisheries proposals, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“This commitment to sustainable fisheries management is locked into our overarching Fisheries Management Strategy and will drive many of the new policies and management improvements planned over the period to 2030.

“But it is also important to acknowledge the socio-economic importance of fishing and that the last year has not been easy for many in the fishing industry.

“We have seen significant ongoing economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and many businesses and individuals are continuing to feel the devastating impacts from the UK’s exit from the European Union – and will continue to do so. “

Mairi Gougeon continued by commenting on the importance of Scotland’s marine assets and the Scottish Government’s “vision for Scotland’s Blue Economy”.

Commenting on the Future Catching Policy she said:

  • Firstly, working in partnership with fishers, scientists, and environmental groups, we aim to put in place additional technical and spatial management measures to reduce catches of unwanted fish.  This might include increased net selectivity or spawning stock area closures.
  • Secondly, we will help the fishing industry avoid bycatch of sensitive marine species such as seabirds, seals and cetaceans.  No fisher wants to catch these species and we must work together to preserve them in the wider ecosystem.  
  • Thirdly, we will take a pragmatic approach by considering different ‘fleet segments’ – avoiding the one-size-fits-all approach which we know doesn’t work in mixed fisheries with varied management issues.
  • Fourthly, we intend to adjust current rules around discarding to simplify where required, and ensure that rules can be and are complied with, and
  • Finally, we recognise that increasing pressure on available marine space is creating tensions between some parts of the fishing fleet and seek views on additional management measures that may be required for the creel, gillnet and longline fisheries.

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