Fishing quota - additional allocation from 2024: consultation outcome

Scottish Government analysis, response and outcome to the consultation on the allocation of additional quota (2024). This outcome will be applied to the issue of fishing quota allocations in 2024.

Section 2 - Introduction

On 19 October 2023, the Scottish Government published a consultation seeking views on how AQ should be distributed from 2024 the conclusion of the TCA agreement. The consultation closed on 11 January 2024.

The consultation document set out the policy background to the consultation, how AQ had arisen and why it was being treated differently to the remainder of fish quota. Following the closure of the consultation, responses were analysed and considered, along with other available evidence to help inform our outcomes.

Fisheries management in Scotland is framed within the delivery of the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework, and helps support a range of national outcomes including those related to supporting a sustainable economy, delivering fair work and thriving businesses, supporting a strong international presence for Scotland, empowering communities and strengthening their resilience.

This report summarises feedback to questions posed in the consultation, as well as supplementary feedback, and provides the Scottish Government’s outcome and next steps in relation to the allocation of AQ from 2024.

Respondents to the consultation

There were 91 responses to the consultation. These consisted of 36 private individuals (40%) and 55 organisations (60%). Organisations which responded included: fishing associations, environmental/conservation organisations, sectoral groups and fishing businesses. A full list of organisations that responded can be found in Annex A.

The responses demonstrated expertise, practical knowledge and conviction about the management of Scotland’s fishing opportunities. We thank all of those who took the time to provide a response.

Of the 91 responses, 11 were nearly identical and submitted on behalf of different respondents by a single company. another three identical responses were submitted by three separate companies. In the tables accompanying analysis of each question we present these two batches of responses as separate responses (constituting 14 separate responses) and grouped together (constituting two separate responses).

Format of responses to the Consultation Document

In the consultation document, views were sought (yes/no/don’t know responses) on each of the proposals and we sought reasoning behind these responses. This helped in our qualitative and quantitative analysis. In many instances respondents chose not to have their response and/or name and organisation name published.

We set out in the consultation document that it would be helpful if respondents considered how each of the options met the requirements of Section 25 of the Fisheries Act 2020 - particularly in relation to social, economic and environmental factors. We thank those that sought to do this in their responses.

Format of this Outcome Report

In Section 3, we explore responses to each of the options and questions. Themes, in support of and in opposition to each proposal, are explored, with particular emphasis placed on recurrent themes in responses.

The consultation was split into two parts, the first sought views on how Scotland could allocate AQ from 2024, and in later years. The second presented a “Call for Evidence” where views were sought on alternative, future, methodologies for allocation quota. As set out below:

Section 1: Allocation Options:

1. Historic track record (HTR) (of landings)

2. Special allocations for the non-sector groups

3. Allocation of fishing opportunities equally between all vessels or a section of vessels

4. Landings into Scottish ports

5. Access to additional quota for vessels with independent accreditation

6. Exceptionally providing AQ as a result of lost fishing opportunities

7. Applications from sectoral groups on environmental criteria

Section 2: Calls for Evidence for Further, Future Allocations

  • Incentivised selectivity
  • Community quota schemes
  • Diversification of fishing opportunities
  • History of compliance with regulatory requirements relating to fishing
  • Alternative suggestions

For each of the methodologies:

1) Where we asked closed questions (yes, no, don’t know) we have set out the number of responses for each category of response.

2) Explored key themes to each question in relation to each option.

3) Where we asked closed questions (yes, no, don’t know) we have sought to arrange analysis under supportive/opposing/don’t know responses with emphasis placed on key themes.

4) Present a Scottish Government response.

Having considered each question, we then set out the full Marine Directorate response and our “Next Steps”.


In exploring views in responses to the consultation, we have used complete, or partial, extracts from responses. It is important to note that quotes may be extracts of responses to individual comments and additional points/comments may have been made.

For example, a respondent may have set out that they supported a particular delivery mechanism on the basis that it could deliver greater social/environmental/economic benefit but have gone on to attach conditionality to that support (or vice versa). For brevity, we may have only used the supportive element of a statement in keeping with the structuring of our analysis

Where an extract, as opposed to a full answer, has been used we have sought to indicate this. We have used quotes in order to illustrate themes present in responses and only used responses which have indicated where they are content to be published. Published responses are available at: Scottish Government consultations - Citizen Space


Existing Quota” (EQ) means the share of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) received by the UK under the Common Fisheries Policy’s relative stability key, plus quota regularly gained due to invocation of Hague Preference.

Additional Quota” (AQ) means the extra quota the UK secures as an independent Coastal State. It is described as anything above the UK’s existing share of quota.

Active Scottish vessels” An active vessel, is a vessel which has an attached, active fishing licence, administered by Scotland as of 1 January in the calendar year for which the quota is being distributed.

Guiding Principles and Statutory Obligations

UK fish quota opportunities are allocated by Fisheries Administrations in accordance with the Fisheries Act 2020 and Joint Fisheries Statement. EQ is distributed primarily to Sectoral Groups in proportion to the number of Fixed Quota Allocation units (FQA units) associated with their membership. The continuation of arrangements for EQ is in line with the Fisheries Management Strategy in Scotland and in this document we set out new arrangements for the allocation of AQ.

In compliance with the Fisheries Act 2020 and the Joint Fisheries Statement, AQ will be distributed on the basis of transparent and objective criteria relating to environmental, social and economic factors. The criteria may in particular relate to:

(a) the impact of fishing on the environment;

(b) the history of compliance with regulatory requirements relating to fishing; (c) the contribution of fishing to the local economy;

(d) historic catch levels.

Additionally, we seek to incentivise the use of selective gear and fishing techniques with a reduced impact on the environment.

In the distribution of AQ we align with Scotland’s National Marine Plan, the Fisheries Management Strategy and the Blue Economy Vision. The Scottish Government aspires to support the fishing industry to optimise fish quota opportunities.

As stated in the consultation document, the outcome of this consultation will be subject to review following the conclusion of the current TCA agreement period with the EU (2026).

It is important to note that the way the Scottish Government allocates AQ will change in 2024, 2025 and 2026. The share/percentage of quota, allocated by any particular methodology, will change over the next three years and will kept under review.



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