Fishing quota - additional allocation from 2024: consultation - business and regulatory impact assessment

Business and regulatory impact assessment to assess the impacts associated with the allocation of additional quota.

2. Purpose and Intended Effect

This BRIA accompanies the consultation outcome report and relates to the way that Additional Quota (AQ) should be distributed from 2024. AQ is the share of fishing quota, apportioned to Scotland, which the UK secures as an independent Coastal State above the Existing Quota (EQ). EQ is the share of the TAC received by the UK whilst in membership of the EU and as described in the UK Quota Management Rules[1].

Summary of Outcome

Following consideration of responses to the consultation, objectives for the use of quota as set out in the Fisheries Act 2020 and other relevant information, the Scottish Government will allocate Additional Quota in the following way:

  • Through the Historic Track Record (HTR) of active fishing vessels[2], based on an annually updated reference period, beginning in 2025.
  • Through special allocations to non-sector vessels with an immediate uplift in the quota retained for the following stocks: North Sea saithe, North East Atlantic mackerel[3], North Sea cod and West of Scotland cod.
  • From 2025, West of Scotland cod will be allocated to sectoral vessels following an application process.
  • Retaining the option to allocate quota on an equal basis between eligible vessels resulting from swaps of fishing quotas with other coastal states.

While not intending to introduce in the short term (and therefore not subjects of this BRIA), the Scottish Government will additionally:

  • Investigate the potential development of Community Quota Initiatives, with this allocation methodology potentially being adopted in future years.
  • Explore whether non-compliance with fishing regulations could be used as a basis for withholding access to AQ as part of the body of work to review the penalties system.

2.1 Background

The Marine Directorate of the Scottish Government consulted on amending the policy approach to the allocation of Scotland’s share of AQ. This is a change in the administrative processes for the allocation of fish quotas (as set out in the Scottish Quota Management Rules).

From 2021 to 2023, allocations of AQ were made on the basis of historic track record (HTR) of fishing activity in the period 2015-2019 by vessels in sectoral groups (Fish Producer’s Organisations and Scottish Government recognised Quota Management Groups). Special Allocations of AQ were also allocated to our non-sector fleets - focusing on the 10 metre and under segment. This segment mainly represents inshore fishing vessels, and contains the vast majority of the Scottish fishing fleet by vessel numbers, but not by landings.

Scotland gained AQ for a range of fish stocks The makeup of the resulting quota for 2022 is summarised for HTR in Table 1 and Special Allocations in Table 2.

Table 1: Top 10 AQ allocations through the HTR method in 2022.
Stock EQ allocation (tonnes) AQ allocation (tonnes) Landings (tonnes) Uptake of EQ and AQ quota
North East Atlantic Mackerel 139,336.8 20,005.8 155,688 98%
North Sea Herring 42,465.3 11,733 62,419 115%
Atlanto-Scandian Herring 8,348 3,109.3 9,620 84%
Northern Blue Whiting 51,833.3 2,188.3 42,660 79%
North Sea Saithe 1,967.5 882.7 4,148 146%
North Sea Cod 3,216.8 618.7 5,226 136%
Faroes Saithe 400.3 548.4 746 76%
West Of Scotland Megrim 1,134.6 492.2 591 36%
North Sea Whiting 11,509.8 466.2 8,335 70%
North Sea Hake 357.4 465.6 3,560 433%

Note: uptake in excess of allocated quota occurs due to quota being acquired from non-Scottish (but UK) vessels and other Coastal States. Full breakdown is in annex A.

Table 2: Allocation and uptake of Special Allocations to the non-sector group in 2022.
Stock EQ Special Allocation (tonnes) AQ Special Allocation (tonnes) Landings (tonnes) Uptake of EQ and AQ quota
North Sea Cod 67.7 52.3 155.4 130%
North Sea Saithe 11.2 48.8 39.6 66%
North Sea Anglerfish 0.7 29.3 10.9 36.3%
North Sea Lemon Sole/Witch 0.4 14.6 3.2 21%
North Sea Skate/Rays 1.6 8.4 6.3 63%
West Of Scotland Anglerfish 1.6 13.4 0 0%
West Of Scotland Skate/Rays 5.3 19.7 0.2 0.8%
North Sea Ling 0.7 14.3 2.2 15%
Northeast Atlantic Mackerel 1116 250 1366 83%

Note: uptake in excess of allocated quota occurs due to acquisition of quota through ‘swap’ exchanges.

2.2 Objective

The Marine Directorate is required to allocate fishing opportunities using criteria that are transparent and objective and utilise criteria relating to environmental, social and economic factors, as set out in the Fisheries Act 2020. The consultation presented seven options for allocation and officials sought views with specific reference to Section 25 of the Fisheries Act 2020 and the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS). This BRIA assesses the impacts on Businesses of the options presented. This BRIA does not assess the potential impacts of the options to be brought forward out of the ‘Call to Evidence’ section of the Consultation document as these are to be developed further.

2.3 Rationale for Government Intervention

Fish stocks are a public resource and a national asset. The economic and social benefits that flow from fishing should be shared across the nation (in line with the national benefit objective set out in the Fisheries Act 2020 and as discussed in the JFS).

Section 2.2 of the JFS sets out how the objectives of the Fisheries Act 2020 should be applied. Section 2.3 of the JFS, sets out the Objectives of the Fisheries Act 2020 that are engaged in the distribution of fishing opportunities.

Of most direct relevance for how sea fish quota should be distributed are the provisions within section 25 of the Fisheries Act 2020 and the JFS (in particular sections - In line with the Fisheries Act 2020, AQ will be distributed based on criteria that:

  • Are transparent and objective; and
  • Include criteria relating to environmental, social and economic factors.

Additionally, national fisheries authorities must also seek to incentivise the use of selective fishing gear, and the use of techniques that have a reduced impact on the environment.

The following National Performance Framework outcomes are supported by the allocation of AQ:

  • Economy
  • Communities
  • Fair Work and Business
  • Poverty
  • Environment



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