Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 In 2009, the Scottish Licensing Review Working Group ( SLRWG), a joint industry/Marine Scotland group, was established. The membership was set up to represent each catching sector rather than geographical locations. The industry members of the SLRWG (as at last plenary session held on 12 th June 2013) are:
Clyde Fishermen's Association
Fishermen's Association Ltd
Mallaig and North West Fishermen's Association
Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association
Scottish Fishermen's Federation
Scottish White Fish Producers' Association
Western Isles Fishermen's Association
1.2 The remit of the group was to carry out a full review of the licensing arrangements in Scotland, with a view to informing future policy developments and, where appropriate, recommending changes to the current licensing system in operation.
1.3 This consultation is in union with wider considerations and decisions designed to allow Scotland along with other UK Fisheries Administrations, to have a greater degree of control over the management of fishing opportunities and their identified fishing fleets, all within a UK-wide quota, effort management and licensing system. Marine Scotland's recently published Aid to Adapt Action Plan shows the Scottish Governments commitment to making 'changes to licensing systems that will reduce costs and add significantly to the flexibilities available to licence holders'.
1.4 Fishing activity remains an integral component of many of our Scottish coastal communities. Licensing is an important and well established management tool with which we can manage entry and effort in a way best suited to individual fisheries and the communities which depend upon them.
1.5 This consultation document sets out the recommendations from the SLRWG and, following consideration, subsequent Scottish Government proposals. The primary objectives are to:
- introduce greater flexibility in the licensing system
- ensure management arrangements maintain proper controls that are light touch, effective and business-friendly
- support the needs and aspirations of a sustainable industry and associated marine environment
1.6 We believe the proposals in this consultation are positive and forward looking for all concerned and the Scottish Government seeks your views on each of the proposals and encourages you to respond.