Chapter 6: Transition to new systems
6.1 This chapter is about how the Scottish Government would propose to manage transition to new systems of fish quota allocation, for fishing vessels in the membership of a PO.
Consideration of consultation responses
6.2 The Government invites all those with an interest to respond to this consultation. The closing date for responses is 17 October 2014. During the consultation period the Government will discuss the issues raised with a range of interested persons and organisations. After the consultation closes, the Government will consider all the views offered and will then announce its response and plans for the future. It is planned at present to announce a Scottish Government response early in 2015.
Periods of notice and transition to new systems
6.3 The date at which new systems of allocation and management might commence will depend upon the nature of change.
6.4 Chapter 4 describes a number of changes that could be made that might improve the present FQA system, but which would not alter the essential basis on which allocations of Scottish fish quotas would be made. If the Government, after considering responses to the consultation, were to decide to adopt changes of this nature, the Government considers that it would be possible for these alterations to come into effect for quota year 2016. The Government would plan to work with Producer Organisations and other interested parties in the course of 2015 to finalise changes to quota management and other rules necessary for the operation of the adapted arrangements. In these circumstances, the Government would also plan that the present moratorium on the transfer of FQA units from Scottish licences would remain in place during 2015 but would be lifted on 1 January 2016.
6.5 Chapter 5 describes a number of options by which the basis on which fish quotas are allocated might be altered. If the Government, after considering responses to the consultation, were to decide to change substantially the basis on which fish quotas are allocated, there would commence a further period of consultation. The Government would not intend, in its response planned for early in 2015, to detail exactly how a new system of allocation and management would operate. Rather, the Government would note its conclusion that a more significant overhaul of the system was necessary, and would then enter into discussions and a further period of public consultation about the exact details of a new system. There would of course be many important details to be considered.
6.6 The Government has stated in the past that it will, in its consideration of whether to change the system of quota allocation, take into account the interests of persons that hold FQA units now, although the Government also notes that its publicly stated policy has always been that fish quotas are allocated each year at Ministers' discretion. The Scottish Government further underlines that it continues to reserve the right each year to allocate quotas on a basis other than the present FQA system.
6.7 Within the context of this general policy, however, and if the Government does decide to change substantially the basis on fish quotas are allocated, it does plan to offer to holders of FQA units a notice period during which the present allocation system (as it is described in Scottish Quota Management Rules) would continue to operate. The Government considers that a period of 7 years provides a reasonable period of notice, during which present holders of FQA units will in general continue to receive allocations on the same basis as they do now, and to have an opportunity during this to accrue benefits from their holdings.
6.8 Scottish Government Quota Management circular 1/2014, of 28 January 2014, gave notice of the Government's intention to alter the basis on which the quotas allocated to it by the UK Government are allocated. Accordingly, if the Government does decide to proceed with substantial change to the allocation method, it intends that the period of notice offered to present holders of FQA units will include the 2014 quota management year and the six that follow. It would be planned therefore that a new system of quota allocation would come into effect in 2021. It would also be planned that the present moratorium on the transfer of FQA units from Scottish licences would remain in place during the notice period but would be lifted on 1 January 2021. Of course, a new system of quota allocations may or may not make provision for individual allocations to licensees, which may or may not be transferable.
Continuing co-operation with UK Fisheries Administrations
6.9 This consultation is being conducted within the terms of the 2012 Concordat. The Scottish Government has and will continue to honour the terms of the various agreements spelt out within the Concordat as the consultation progresses. We will in particular agree with the other Administrations the expiry of the notice period announced in January 2014. It is possible of course that the moratorium could be lifted at different times in relation to different quota stocks, depending on the exact shape of any changes adopted. We will also consider with the other Administrations whether any proposals that emerge during the consultation might usefully be adopted on a UK basis, although we will of course also respect the desire of any of the other Administrations to maintain existing arrangements in relation to their licensees or indeed to make different changes that they consider are more suitable for their objectives and circumstances.
- If the Government decides to allocate quotas on a new basis or through a new system it is proposed that these changes will come into effect in 2021, and thus to offer a notice period of 7 years. Do you consider that this is a reasonable period?