Building a New Scotland: Our marine sector in an independent Scotland

This paper sets out the Scottish Government's vision for the marine sector in an independent Scotland.


The Scottish Government believes that Scotland – with the size and strength of our marine sector – can be a successful, wealthy and influential independent country.

Our marine achievements are a national success story. Brexit, and in particular the type of Brexit established through the TCA, represents a risk to that success.

Independence would bring new opportunities, allow Scotland to join the EU, and have:

  • full and free access to the European Single Market – the world’s largest market for seafood products – and access to current and future trade deals negotiated by the EU
  • a government that can champion the interests of Scottish seafood, our coastal and island communities, and Scotland’s environment at the heart of Europe, including making the case for equitable funding for marine investment, environmental protection and research and innovation
  • the ability to influence and vote on future EU legislation, and play a positive and constructive role in supporting the efficient and effective advancement of the CFP and other parts of EU law.
  • full legislative and regulatory responsibility for our marine sector, with all domestic marine decisions taken by the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government
  • the powers and levers we need to implement a migration policy tailored to the specific needs of our marine sector, as well as Scotland’s unique economic and demographic needs more generally
  • direct representation in international forums, and a distinct Scottish voice on the negotiation of current and future reforms to international marine law
  • the ability to strengthen ties with other maritime and fish-farming nations outwith the EU, such as Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands
  • a full suite of legislative, regulatory and financial powers to better support the sustainable development of our offshore renewable energy sector and deliver our net zero commitments.

Independence would mean giving the people of Scotland options and choices; including on matters on which the current constitutional settlement denies them a voice and where their interests can be ignored.

Putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands will mean that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government can take the right decisions for Scotland, based on local knowledge and tailored to our own needs and circumstances.

The potential of our marine sector – whether in terms of sustainable and inclusive economic growth, the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss or Scotland’s influence and voice on the world stage – is vast. That potential can only be fully realised if we have the tools, the power and the ability to give the sector the support it needs and the prioritisation it deserves.

That marine potential is an unprecedented opportunity. The Scottish Government looks forward to a constructive and open conversation on the best way forward for Scotland’s marine sector.



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