1.1 Executive summary
This consultation seeks views on the introduction of new management measures in the queen scallop fishery in ICES divisions VIa (north coast of Northern Ireland and western Scotland) and VIIa (Irish Sea).
The UK queen scallop fishery is worth approximately £6 million per year and helps to sustain jobs in many coastal communities where other forms of employment may not be readily available.
However, there are concerns over the health of the queen scallop stock and recent levels of fishing activity. The queen scallop fishery around the Isle of Man had its Marine Stewardship Council ( MSC) sustainability certification suspended in 2014, primarily in response to stock assessments in the territorial sea that showed reduced biomass. There are also concerns over the level of fishing effort in the wider fishery.
As a result of correspondence from some queen scallop fishermen and processors about the fishery, a working group was formed which included fishermen, processors, fisheries administrations and scientists. Its aim was to assess the current status of the fishery and, if appropriate, develop management measures and reduce long-term risk.
Following significant discussion, the working group considered that in the short term the following management measures should be introduced to help ensure the sustainability of the stock and these form the basis of this consultation:
- Increase the minimum conservation reference size ( MCRS) of queen scallops
- Introduce a voluntary closed season
- Introduce limits on the number of vessels able to prosecute the fishery, specifically via entry restrictions.
To inform longer-term management options, views are sought on additional management measures which were also considered by the working group, but which were either not supported in the short-term, or required the development of more specific proposals. It is not intended that any of these additional measures be introduced as a direct result of this consultation. However, responses will help inform future considerations for the fishery.
- Effort reduction measures (restricting time that vessels can fish)
- Catch quotas
- Closed areas
- Gear-specific management
1.2 Responding to this Consultation
This consultation is being conducted on behalf of the five  UK and Isle of Man Fisheries Administrations.
The purpose of this consultation is to seek the views of those with an interest in queen scallop fishing, in order to inform policy decisions regarding the future management of the fishery. The consultation will last for 12 weeks, commencing on 11 October 2016 with a deadline of 3 January 2017 for responses.
Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government's consultation platform, Citizen Space. You can view and respond to this consultation online at https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/marine-scotland/queen-scallop-consultation. You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the above closing date.
If you are unable to respond online, please complete and send the Respondent Information Form (see "Handling your Response" below) to:Queen Scallop Consultation
Area 1B South
1.3 Handling Your Response
If you respond using Citizen Space ( http://consult.scotland.gov.uk), you will be directed to the Respondent Information Form. Please indicate how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are happy for your response to published.
If you are unable to respond via Citizen Space, please complete and
return the Respondent Information Form included in this document ( Annex A). If you ask for your response not to be published, we will regard it as confidential, and we will treat it accordingly.
All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise.
1.4 Next Steps in the process
Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at http://consult.scotland.gov.uk. If you use Citizen Space to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.
Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so.
1.5 Comments and Complaints
If you have any queries about this consultation, or comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted, please contact the Inshore Fisheries Management and Coastal Communities Team on 0131 244 4421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.6 Scottish Government Consultation Process
Consultation is an essential part of the policy-making process. It gives us the opportunity to consider your opinion and expertise on a proposed area of work.
You can find all our consultations online: http://consult.scotland.gov.uk. Each consultation details the issues under consideration, as well as a way for you to give us your views, either online, by email or by post.
Consultations may involve seeking views in a number of different ways, such as public meetings, focus groups, or other online methods such as Dialogue ( https://www.ideas.gov.scot).
Responses will be analysed and used as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other available information and evidence. We will publish a report of this analysis for every consultation. Depending on the nature of the consultation exercise the responses received may:
- indicate the need for policy development or review
- inform the development of a particular policy
- help decisions to be made between alternative policy proposals
- be used to finalise legislation before it is implemented
While details of particular circumstances described in a response to a consultation exercise may usefully inform the policy process, consultation exercises cannot address individual concerns and comments, which should be directed to the relevant public body.