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Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill - Consultation Document

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SECTION 2: PROTECTION OF SHELLFISH GROWING WATERS

48. Good water quality is essential for the production of high quality shellfish. The Scottish Government is committed to helping the shellfish sector expand in a sustainable way. A key requisite is sufficient areas of good water quality in which to locate.

49. Water bodies can be impacted by pollution from various sources such as run-off from agricultural land or discharges from sewage treatment works. The Shellfish Waters Directive ( SWD) currently offers protection to designated shellfish areas, by requiring action plans to meet relevant environmental standards to be put in place. However the SWD is being repealed in 2013.

50. The Water Framework Directive ( WFD) established a legal framework for the protection, improvement, and sustainable use of Europe's water environment. In response to the WFD, we have through River Basin Management Plans ( RBMPs) put in place an integrated framework to help deliver Ministers' aims for Scotland's water environment. In order to ensure that shellfish water quality continues to be protected after the SWD is repealed, we propose to incorporate the aims of the SWD into our WFD implementation framework. In order to take this forward we shall require new legal powers.

We propose to introduce the following legal provisions:

  • a power for Ministers to identify areas for the purpose of the protection of economically significant shellfish. This should enable Ministers to designate and de-designate areas as appropriate;
  • a power to set out the objectives and environmental standards that would apply in those waters;
  • a duty to consult interested parties and relevant public bodies before any designations/ de-designations are made, or objectives set;
  • a duty on SEPA to secure such monitoring as necessary to assess the condition of shellfish waters and the effectiveness of any measures taken for their protection;
  • a duty to classify the designated waters in line with specified environmental standards.

51. Our recently published consultation entitled 'An integrated approach to protection of shellfish waters' provides full details of our proposals to help the shellfish sector continue to grow in a sustainable manner. The paper can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/10/03120828/0, and you may wish to read that document in tandem with this section.

Q Do you agree with the introduction of provisions to protect shellfish growing waters and support the sustainable growth of the shellfish industry?