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Setting the Scene

eu flagWithin the EU, Scotland’s seas are the fourth largest of core European waters and these seas make up over 60 percent of the UK’s total European waters. Scotland accounts for 80% by weight of the total UK landings of key stocks (88% by value).

Many of the fisheries of importance to Scotland are managed in a joint international context, mostly through the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Given Scotland’s prominent role in fishing, Marine Scotland is a key contributor to the development of Europe's fisheries management policies and implements them in the waters around Scotland and on Scotland's fleet, wherever it fishes. In these complex management negotiations Marine Scotland is committed to making the various layers of responsibilities - at UK, EU and international level – work sensibly and effectively to deliver important goals and outcomes for Scotland.

At its heart, the reformed CFP (1380/2013) has a goal of much greater regionalisation, where regional groupings of Member States, with advice from regional Advisory Councils and other stakeholders, are expected to take much greater responsibility in developing the rules and management approaches that govern their fisheries, stepping back from the old fashioned top-down 'one size fits all' approach. Marine Scotland is an active participant in both the North Sea and the North West Waters regional groups which cover the waters around Scotland.

At a UK level, Marine Scotland works with a number of others including the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Seafish.

UK Fisheries Management is co-ordinated in terms of a Concordat that exists between the four UK Fisheries Administrations. The Concordat is an agreement between the UK Administrations that sets out a number of arrangements for UK fisheries management, including which fishing vessels each Administration will license and how UK quotas are allocated to the four UK countries.

At a Scottish level, a great deal of work is done with inshore fisheries groups and others.