Over the last 60 years there have been many reviews that have highlighted important issues that need to be addressed in the management of Scotland’s wild fisheries (salmon and freshwater). However, limited real change has been delivered and, as confirmed in an independent recent baseline report for the Scottish Government, the existing wild fisheries management system is not fit for purpose in the 21st century.
Scottish Ministers have made a commitment to support and protect our famous and valuable salmon and freshwater fisheries and to modernise the management structures. The Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013 was the first stage in delivering this commitment and it implements work that had already been prepared to update the legislative framework for salmon fisheries, and modernised governance arrangements. Ministers have committed to an independent review of the management of all of Scotland’s wild fisheries as the next stage in delivery of the manifesto commitment and to support further development of the sector.
The review looked forward, not backward and focussed on the requirements of a modern, evidence-based fishery management system. It did not re-assess how well the current system operated or how it might be amended – this was territory well covered by previous reviews. The review took into account appropriate reports and international experiences (notably Ireland, New Zealand and Canada).
The review sought to engage widely with relevant stakeholders, and the Scottish Government encourages people to engage with the review positively and in a co-operative spirit.