1. Scope and Intent of the Study
New entry into the Scottish fishing industry is commonly perceived as a self-evident necessity for the long-term prosperity of the sector and its absence a signal for government intervention. The Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead recently said " New entrants are the future life blood of the fishing industry and if we are to secure the future of fishing in Scotland we need to do all we can make a career in fishing more accessible for young people"(Scottish Government New Release, January 2013 ). Similarly, the Scottish Fishermen's Federation states " For the long-term health of the Scottish fishing industry it is necessary to attract local new entrants".
Barriers restrict the movement of new workers into the industry in two ways - through conditions that; 1) limit the establishment of new owners and; 2) undermine the provision of an adequate supply of labour for established vessels that affect crew recruitment.
A low rate of entry into the industry by younger workers is perceived as a problem as, over time, it can produce an overall decline in the absolute numbers of fishers or a dependence on foreign workers. While it seems implausible that a financially viable fishing sector could ever 'run out' of workers, low rates of entry could change the nature of the industry with an ever greater proportion of foreign workers and a decline in the number of family-run firms. This may not be a problem from an economic perspective but it may run counter to socio-political concerns about the shape and structure of the industry.
Without the entry of younger workers into the industry, the age structure of the workforce changes and becomes dependent on older workers. The promotion of new young entrants is held as important for the renewal of the industry's human capital, as new entrants are perceived as bringing motivation and new, innovative approaches when tackling the challenges facing the industry, there is however a lack of evidence either way on this point. The promotion of human and financial capital within fishing communities is also allied to the political commitment of the Scottish Government to protect the viability of coastal communities.
The remit of this paper is to test the underlying assumption of this narrative that prohibitive conditions exist that prevent new, young workers from entering into the Scottish fishing industry. The nature of these conditions and whether the situation warrants government intervention represent a central assessment. Within this, issues related to the retention of young crew and the balance between entry and exit will be discussed. Secondly, through an examination of the available evidence and the best theory and practice from around the world, potential policy responses will be analysed to outline their feasibility and likely impacts.