This report summarises responses to questions posed in the Consultation and provides an analysis of the views received, highlighting areas of consensus and divergence. Next steps are also given.
Background to the Consultation
Marine Scotland issued the Consultation on New Controls in the Scottish King Scallop Fishery 2014 on 9 October 2014. Following a four week extension the consultation closed on 26 January 2015.
The Consultation sought views on four areas. The first two questions requested views as to whether the minimum landing size ( MLS) of scallops should be increased:
Q1. Do you support increasing the MLS of scallops?
Q2. On what basis should the MLS be increased?
(a) 105 mm around the Scottish coast
(b) Should be increased in line with IFG requests
The third question requested opinions on whether changes should be made to licensing arrangements in order to restrict the upsizing of replacement scallop vessels:
Q3. Do you support restricting the upsizing of vessels currently involved in the scallop fishery?
The fourth and fifth questions focused on whether restrictions associated with the use of dredges should be introduced:
Q4. Do you support the introduction of a single bar length restriction within 12 nautical miles capable of carrying 8 dredges per side?
Q5. Do you support the lifting of dredge number restrictions outside 12 nautical miles?
Finally, the sixth and seventh questions sought views on restrictions on time at sea in the scallop fishery:
Q6. Do you think that the length of time that scallop vessels spend at sea should be restricted?
Q7. Should any restriction be introduced on the basis of?
(a) An overnight restriction?
(b) A days at sea regime?
The consultation document outlined the rationale for each of the proposals and welcomed views from those with an interest in scallop fishing in Scotland, in order to inform policy decisions.
A total of 1,738 responses to the consultation were received. Of these, 1,633 were attributable to an online petition and a further 47 responses were submitted by four organisations (three fish catching/processing companies and one fishermen's association) and an individual respondent who replied on multiple occasions.
Marine Conservation Society Response
An online petition run by the Marine Conservation Society ( MCS) highlighted the organisation's concerns about the impact that scallop dredging has on the marine environment. They called for greater spatial management for the fishery and a low impact zone out to three nautical miles to be reserved for static gear fishing and recreational users.
In terms of the management measures consulted on, the MCS favoured an increased minimum landing size to 110 mm, a cap on current effort, and the introduction of an overnight curfew within 6 nautical miles of the coast.
The majority of responders used the standard text provided by the MCS, with a minority adapting this text either by changing some of the wording or by adding specific additional comments. The standard text is available in Annex B.
Other Multiple Responses
A further 47 responses were submitted by four organisations (three fish catching/processing companies and one fishermen's association) and an individual respondent who replied on multiple occasions. These consisted of a single substantive response from each organisation, accompanied by identical responses from a number of their members/employees.
Although received from different groups, the substance of these multiple responses was typically very similar, particularly in the emphasis placed on the potential economic impact of the measures. Overall, they tended to:
- Strongly oppose the introduction of an overnight restriction on fishing
- Highlight the potential economic consequences of increasing the MLS of scallops- particularly to 110 mm
- Oppose the introduction of IFG-specific provisions
- Support the introduction of a bar length within 12 nautical miles but one capable of carrying ten dredges per side
- Cautiously support the introduction of a days at sea regime depending on the type of system to be put in place
The remaining 59 responses comprised 31 from individuals and 27 from organisations.
Counting multiple replies once, the respondents break down as follows:
|IFGs/ Inshore Management Groups||3||5%|
|Animal welfare groups||2||3%|
Data Used in the Outcome Report
This outcome report uses data collated by Marine Scotland Compliance from sales notes and EU logbooks that is held in the Fisheries Information Network ( FIN) database. It also utilises records from the iFISH database and VMS data from vessels to give additional information on activity. It is important to note that landings data used for 2014 are provisional.