Background to the consultation
At the core of the Inshore Fisheries Strategy 2015  , is a commitment to improve the evidence base on which fisheries management decisions are made, streamline fisheries governance, and promote stakeholder participation. The Inshore Fisheries Pilots initiative will help us achieve these aims.
In conducting these pilots, Marine Scotland acknowledges that there are long-standing differences in views regarding management and access to our inshore waters. However, we should ensure that resources are managed in a way that maximises sustainable returns to our fishing communities.
Proposals were invited from the fishing sector and there was active engagement with the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation and many fishing associations around the coast. We thank those who took the time and effort to submit proposals but regret that some in the commercial sector with a keen interest in the inshore zone did not use this opportunity to suggest alternative forms of management.
The process so far
On 26 July 2017, Marine Scotland invited proposals from the commercial fishing sector for areas to be considered under the Inshore Fisheries Pilots initiative. A deadline of 30 September 2017 was given for proposals along with guidance outlining the basis on which proposals would be considered. As a result of that process, seven applications were received (to see all seven proposals please go to: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Sea-Fisheries/InshoreFisheries/InshoreFisheriesPilots).
Following a review of the proposals and further discussions with the applicants, Marine Scotland identified the following proposals for further public consultation, due to their practical application and being in line with the stated aims of the initiative.
These proposals cover:
- The Inner Sound of Skye
- The Orkney Isles
- The Outer Hebrides
A fifth proposal (Arbroath and Montrose) was not considered as being sufficiently developed for further public consultation. However, we are seeking views on one aspect of the proposal, which has the potential to be innovative and informative, in order to establish whether it merits further investigation.
Reason for consultation
In this consultation we want to hear your views on which of the proposals should be introduced as pilots by Marine Scotland. As far as possible we have sought to bring you the proposals as submitted to Marine Scotland, to ensure that stakeholder views are sought at an early stage of development.
In each case, given the information in the submitted proposals and the additional analysis carried out by Marine Scotland we want to know:
- In general what is your view of the proposal?
- Your specific views on the potential impacts of the proposal, both positive and negative.
We particularly wish to hear from those likely to be directly or indirectly impacted by any of the proposals.
Format of the consultation
Each of the proposals will be explored in turn. For the proposals originating from the Inner Sound of Skye, Mull, Orkney Isles and the Outer Hebrides, the following will be outlined, based on information from the proposal form:
- Who has put forward the proposal
- The area to which the proposal would apply
- What changes the proposals would wish to see introduced
- The expected benefits defined in the proposal
- How changes will be monitored
We would strongly recommend that in completing your response you refer to the original proposal forms, which are available to view at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Sea-Fisheries/InshoreFisheries/InshoreFisheriesPilots.
We have also sought to give an indication of current fishing activity within each proposed area, particularly in relation to fisheries that may be negatively impacted. This has been done using data collated by Marine Scotland Compliance from sales notes and EU logbooks and utilises records from the iFISH database and VMS data from vessels to give additional information on fishing activity.
In some instances there will be variations between the originally-submitted proposal and the information presented in this consultation document. This comes either as a result of subsequent discussions between Marine Scotland and the applicant, or consideration by Marine Scotland over what measures can realistically be introduced.
We would also recommend that you consider the stock assessment information published annually by Marine Scotland Science for background information on stock health. However, it should be noted that stock assessments, where available, are carried out on a larger scale than the areas being proposed for pilots. The 2017 edition of this publication is available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Publications/publicationslatest/farmedfish/fishandshellfishstocks/2017.
The closing date for consultation responses to be received is 22 February 2018.