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 5 - Outcome And Next Steps

Consultation Outcome

Following consideration of responses to the consultation alongside the obligations for national fisheries authorities when distributing fishing opportunities set out in Section 25 of the Fisheries Act 2020 and Joint Fisheries Statement and other evidence, the Scottish Government will until 2026:

  • Allocate the greater share of Additional Quota based on historic track record of vessels in an annually updated reference period. In 2024 this will be the period 2015-19 and for subsequent years, the reference period will advance by one year.
  • Allocate a proportion of Additional Quota to the non-sector group of vessels, with increases and minimum allocations for three stocks: North Sea Cod, North Sea Saithe and North East Atlantic Mackerel for 2024 and review others if required.
  • Retain the option to allocate pelagic quota received in-year as a result of quota transfer agreements with other coastal states on an equal basis among eligible vessels.
  • From 2025, AQ for West of Scotland Cod will primarily to sectoral vessels following an application process based on environmental criteria, in particular the use of selective gear and fishing techniques with a reduced impact on the environment. Because an application process must be designed and implemented, this will start from 2025. If this initiative is successful we may extend it to other stocks.
  • 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.
  • We envisage that any expansion of the application process or development of Community Quota Initiatives will primarily utilise quota allocated in 2024 via HTR. Therefore we expect there to be a reduction in the amount allocated by HTR in the coming years.

This package of methods targets fishing opportunity at the active industry, while broadening access to opportunity among the non-sector, allows for further allocation with minimal administrative delay where more fishing opportunity is secured, and places greater emphasis on including environmental factors. It will be reviewed with the start of next TCA period.

Next Steps

Details of allocation

Historic track record:

  • HTR will function as it has for the period 2021-2023 except:
  • From 2024, the reference period on which HTR is determined will change from the fixed period 2015-2019 to an annually updated reference period. In 2025 the reference period will advance by one year to 2016-2020, in 2026 to 2017-2021 and so on.
  • Additional Quota will still be awarded to vessels that were active (an active Scottish vessel and licence) on 1 January of the year.
  • There will be no change to arrangements when transferring HTR from one vessel to another.

Special allocations to the non-sector:

  • Special allocations will continue to be received by the non-sector to broaden access to fishing opportunity and the resulting socioeconomic benefits, and to provide a diversification opportunity.
  • Recognising where there has been high uptake in the period 2021-2023, special allocations to the 10 metre and under group of vessels will be increased for three stocks: North Sea Cod, North Sea Saithe and North East Atlantic Mackerel.
    • North Sea Cod - Minimum Special Allocation (tonnes) - 200
    • North Sea Saithe - Minimum Special Allocation (tonnes) - 80
    • North East Atlantic Mackerel - Minimum Special Allocation (tonnes) - 450
  • Existing discretion to reallocate or exchange quota where it has not been used by the non-sector will be retained.
  • Allocations of mackerel to the over 10 metre non-sector group will be unchanged.

Allocation resulting from in-year transfers negotiated with other coastal states

  • Where negotiations between coastal states result in the Scottish Government receiving further AQ to be allocated among eligible vessels, we will retain the option to allocate on an equal basis, to minimise administrative delay.

Applications for AQ for West of Scotland cod on environmental criteria from 2025

  • West of Scotland cod AQ will be made available to apply for allocations on environmental criteria.
  • At this time it is not possible to make individual allocations to non-sector vessels, so only sectoral vessels will be eligible to apply.
  • An application process and assessment criteria must be developed to allocate on this basis, which will commence in 2025.
  • Allocation in 2024 will be based on estimated HTR.

Scottish Quota Management Rules

Further details of allocation of Additional Quota will be set out in updated Scottish Quota Management Rules.

Future Arrangements

We note responses received relating to the calls for evidence, and we note responses that took a different view to how Additional Quota should be allocated and will give further consideration to these when revisiting allocation methods in future. As noted in the Joint Fisheries Statement, where this occurs it will be carried out in consultation with industry and other interested stakeholders.



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