3. Current status and activity under way
To provide us with a clear picture of Scotland's starting position in transitioning to a Blue Economy approach we have undertaken a status review. The review helps us to understand where there are gaps between our current state and the outcomes that we want to achieve by 2045. It also provides the foundation for our progress monitoring that will allow us to determine if significant and lasting change is occurring and if the Blue Economy approach is working. In this section, we have provided a summary of the status review against each outcome based on a range of data sources.
It will be important for all areas of Scotland's society to contribute towards the Blue Economy Vision if we are to drive forward the transformative changes needed to unlock the true economic potential of Scotland's seas, promote wellbeing and tackle the twin nature and climate crises through a just transition. For each outcome, we have summarised how Scottish Government policies, programmes and initiatives are helping to drive progress, both individually and on a cumulative basis. The summaries below each outcome set out the ambition for the individual work, and importantly what its contribution to the Blue Economy is and what transformative change will be delivered by it. Many of the examples are cross-cutting and contribute, therefore, to several outcomes.
The summaries provided are not intended to provide a comprehensive review. Instead, they describe examples of key areas of progress, including existing commitments for future action. Figure 3 provides a high level overview of key example activities against each outcome.
Graphic text below:
Blue Economy Vision for Scotland: By 2045, Scotland's shared stewardship of our marine environment supports ecosystem health, improved livelihoods, economic prosperity, social inclusion and wellbeing.
EN1 Natural Capital Outcome
- Strategy and
- Delivery Plan
- 10% of Scotland's Sea as Highly Protected Marine Areas
- Litter Strategy
- Wild Salmon and Scottish Seabird Strategies
EN2 Climate Change Outcome
- Climate Change
- Plan update
- Change Climate Adaption Programme 2
- Circular Economy Strategy and Bill
- New Energy Strategy
- Blue Carbon
EC1 Economy & Trade Outcome
- Regional and City Growth Deals
- ScotWind Supply Chain Commitments
- NSET New
- Scotland Trading Nation Plan
EC2 Food Security & Nutrition Outcome
- New Seafood Strategy
- Future Fisheries
- Management Strategy
- Good Food Nation Act (2022)
- Farmed Fish Health Framework
SO1 Social Inclusion & Equalities Outcome
- Training Fund
- Infrastructure Investment Plan
- Islands Connectivity Plan
- Principles for
- Benefit from
SO2 Ocean Literacy Outcome
- Regional Marine Planning Partnerships
- Marine Scotland Ocean
- Education Scotland
National Marine Plan 2 and Marine Funding: SMEEF, Marine Fund Scotland, Crown Estate Net Revenues, ScotMER
3.1 EN1 Natural Capital Outcome:
Scotland's marine ecosystems are healthy and functioning, with nature protected and activities managed using an ecosystem-based approach to ensure negative impacts on marine ecosystems are minimised and, where possible, reversed.
This outcome is about ensuring that we deliver a marine environment that is clean, healthy, productive, adapted for, and resilient to, climate change. It is also about safeguarding marine nature for present and future generations and maximising the resources and services that nature can provide. Achieving this outcome requires new decision-making tools to be made available to measure the social and economic value of marine natural capital.
3.1.1 Current status
Scotland's Marine Assessment 2020 provides the most comprehensive assessment of the status of Scotland's marine environment to date. The assessment shows that progress is being made in improving the state of Scotland's seas especially in relation to contaminants. Eutrophication is not an issue in Scotland's seas. There are mixed pictures for marine mammals, birds, fish and marine litter, and there are signs of change in plankton. There are increasing pressures associated with non-indigenous species, climate change and ocean acidification, while the ability to draw conclusions about benthic habitats and underwater noise is limited by current knowledge. Climate change is the most critical factor affecting Scotland's marine environment. Impacts are already being seen across the Scottish marine ecosystem. A robust measure for the overall status of Scottish marine natural capital does not currently exist. There is currently insufficient data to allow detailed assessment of the environment at the scale of the Scottish Marine Regions and Offshore Marine Regions. Understanding cumulative impacts remains a significant challenge.
3.1.2 Activity underway
At COP26, the First Minister endorsed the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, an international commitment to reverse biodiversity loss and create a 'nature-positive' world by 2030. A new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be agreed this year at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15, in Montreal. Through the Scottish Government's leadership in launching and promoting the Edinburgh Declaration, we are calling for the Framework to set out bold actions to tackle biodiversity loss, and to recognise the vital role of subnational governments in achieving this. Our overall ambition to protect nature, end biodiversity loss by 2030, and restore/regenerate biodiversity by 2045 are signalled in the new Scottish Biodiversity strategy 2022-2045. The strategy aims to put in place the conditions to drive transformation in the way that we use and manage natural resources and provide a framework for prioritising and coordinating actions and investments. Scotland's Land Use Strategy 2021-2026 considers management of natural capital across our land and seas. It guarantees investment of £12 million to help adapt to the threat of sea level rises and safeguard natural coastal defences such as sand dunes and saltmarshes from erosion, which protect an estimated £13 billion of assets.
Within the marine environment, Scotland's network of 231 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) designates 37% of our seas for conservation purposes. Management measures have been put in place to protect marine features in most of the MPAs, and we have committed to establishing the remaining management measures by 2024. Through the Bute House Agreement, we have also committed to designating at least 10% of Scotland's seas as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) by 2026. This marks a step change in the protection of our marine environment and will enhance the existing MPA network by excluding all extractive, destructive or depositional activities within their boundaries (whilst only allowing others at non-damaging levels). HPMAs offer a major advance in conserving and enhancing Scotland's marine biodiversity and seeking to achieve Good Environmental Status for our seas. Through our MPA network, Scotland is providing a significant contribution to the Global Ocean Alliance ambition for marine protection and the expected Convention on Biodiversity target of reaching 30% global ocean protection by 2030.
We are also protecting marine nature via species level actions. Our Wild Salmon Strategy was published in January 2022, which sets out our vision for flourishing populations of wild Atlantic salmon. Alongside this, our Strategy Implementation Plan is currently being developed, which will set out in detail the actions which need to be taken to achieve our vision. The work within the Strategy and Implementation plan is underpinned by a strong science and evidence base. We are leading on development of a Scottish Seabird Conservation Strategy, which will be consulted on later in 2023. This will be informed by seabird research that includes seabird colony surveys, bird tracking, and modelling climate change and other impacts to understand the pressures and threats faced by seabird populations. We are also working in partnership with the UK Government and other devolved administrations to protect cetaceans through development of the UK Dolphin and Porpoise Conservation Strategy, with the aim of publishing by the end of 2023.
To progress towards clean and healthy ecosystems, we published a refreshed Marine Litter Strategy in September 2022. The strategy builds on the work conducted in the previous strategy and includes a new action plan to develop current and future measures to further prevent marine litter, and support its removal. The implementation and progression of the strategy will continue to be led by Marine Scotland, in a co-ordinating role. An action plan has been shaped by research and public consultation and seeks to maximise opportunities and minimise threats in addressing marine litter. Actions cover macro and micro plastic pollution sources, from bulky fishing gear to plastic pellets (nurdles), and they have a wide reach from upstream in city rivers to the beaches of our islands. The responsibility for delivery of the action plan is shared across local and national government, businesses, environmental and community groups, and private individuals.
Scotland's third River Basin Management Plans were published at the end of 2021. These Plans are important tools for the protection and enhancement of Scotland's rivers, lochs, estuaries and coastal waters (up to 3 nautical miles out to sea). They set out revised objectives for the 2021-27 period, and the associated work programme aims to ensure that 81% of Scotland's waterbodies achieve a 'good' or better classification by 2027, and continue to improve as natural conditions recover beyond that date.
To manage human activities in a way that ensures negative impacts are minimised, and to help us progress to an ecosystem-based approach to management, we have several initiatives underway. We shortly intend to consult on applying a cap to fishing activity in inshore waters (up to 3 nautical miles) that will limit activity to current levels and set a ceiling from which activities that disrupt the seabed can be reduced in the light of evidence as it becomes available. The consultation will deliver on the additional actions relating to fishing in the Bute House Agreement and is a key part of the delivery plan supporting Scotland's Fisheries Management Strategy 2020-2030, which places sustainable fisheries and protection of our marine environment and securing our natural assets for future generations at its core.
Our forthcoming Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture will also place an enhanced emphasis on environmental protection and will consider how the sector can develop in a way that reduces negative impacts to the wider marine ecosystem. This will include strong support for innovation, enabling the deployment of new technologies and operating methods, and considering how regulation can support sustainable practice in line with the best available science.
In 2020, we published Scotland and the Sustainable Development Goals: A national review bringing together evidence, actions and stories of how we are making progress to meet the goals. It contains inspirational examples of how people across Scotland are taking action to make us a more successful country and to ensure we are at the forefront of this international agenda. It also highlights some of the challenges we face in taking an ecosystem based approach.
Since the launch of the Blue Economy Vision, we have also increased our activity in relation to nature restoration and recovery. In May this year, the Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF) was launched in Aberlady Nature Reserve by the Minister for Environment and Land Reform. SMEEF is an innovative funding initiative that provides an opportunity for those using and benefiting from Scotland's rich natural marine resource to re-invest in the health of the marine environment by making voluntary financial contributions that are used to fund projects and activities that recover, restore, or enhance the health of marine and coastal habitats and species. SMEEF is open year-round for financial contributions from donors and expressions of interest for grants. Funding rounds are opened throughout the year, with details of application deadlines provided on the SMEEF website. All marine businesses are being encouraged to come forward and support the work of SMEEF with donations to create a source of funding for projects which enhance the natural capital that they rely on. To date, the fund has already distributed £3 million of public monies and has recently opened its first privately financed funding round.
SMEEF is hosted by NatureScot and supported by a Steering Group with representation from NatureScot, Scottish Government Marine Scotland Directorate and Crown Estate Scotland. To ensure high ethical standards for private financing of nature restoration, recovery and enhancement and that contributions to SMEEF are in line with SMEEF's aims, due diligence on proposed contributions to SMEEF is carried out by an Ethical Contributions Board. The Board is made up of members that specialise in relevant areas including audit, risk, legal and financial governance.
We also continue to explore and develop new decision-making tools to support our Blue Economy natural capital outcome. We published updated guidance on Socio-Economic Impact Assessment for marine protected areas in October 2022. The guidance places a greater emphasis on stakeholder mapping and engagement to capture the potential economic, social and culture impacts of MPA designation on local fishers. It also advises the use of more recent and accurate inshore fishing activity data and incorporating a natural capital approach into the assessment process to better account for social and economic benefits derived from protecting marine nature.
Similarly, Scotland's Marine Tourism's strategy Giant Strides 2020-2025 discusses over-tourism and looks at natural capital accounting, and what it means to be sustainable and use triple bottom line accounting to illustrate the total impact of activity in economic, societal, and environmental terms. It aims to ensure Scottish marine tourism is sustainable and meets changing consumer, workforce, community and environmental needs and expectations, whilst growing the industry's overall economic contribution to over £500 million by 2025, from £360 million in 2015.
3.2 EN2 Climate Change Outcome
Scotland's Blue Economy is resilient to climate change, contributing to climate mitigation and adaptation, with marine sectors decarbonised, resource efficient and supporting Scotland's Net Zero and Nature Positive commitments.
The Blue Economy Climate Change outcome is about ensuring that marine sectors, communities, and policy decisions contribute to our statutory climate change obligations, while also supporting plans to live with anticipated climate change impacts. It includes supporting development of Scotland's offshore renewables, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage industries, decarbonising supply chains and vessels, and embedding circular economy, zero waste principles. It also includes developing an understanding of how our blue carbon stocks and marine natural capital underpin climate regulation and carbon sequestration.
3.2.1 Current status
The impacts of climate change and ocean acidification are already apparent in Scotland's marine and interlinked freshwater environments. The rate and magnitude of these changes are geographically variable. The expansion of Scotland's offshore wind sector has made a significant contribution to delivering a low carbon energy system. In 2020, 6.7% of energy in Scotland was generated by offshore wind. Data on the emissions associated with individual marine sectors is currently lacking, but there has been progress in reducing overall marine vessels emissions. In 2020, 2.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent were emitted by marine vessels in Scotland. Reductions in vessel emissions reported in 2020 was primarily due to reductions in those from coastal shipping. Small reductions in the emissions from fishing activity are mostly due to changes in the fleet composition and their combined effort. Currently, we do not have an effective measure for the extent to which the Blue Economy is adapted for climate change. However, the next Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (due for publication in Autumn 2024) will endeavour to strengthen adaptation monitoring and evaluation.
3.2.2 Activity underway
The introduction of the Climate Change Act (2019) sets legally binding emissions reduction targets that require Scotland to reach net zero emissions by 2045 with an interim target of a 75% emissions reduction by 2030. The Climate Change Plan 2018-2032 acknowledges the need to focus on harnessing Scotland's potential, making the most of our vast wind and marine resources, our substantial potential for carbon capture and storage, and our expertise and experience in driving forward innovation. The Plan serves as a tool to align policy across government in a way that makes the most of these strengths and captures growing market opportunities. The 2021 Net-Zero Nation: Draft Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change compliments the Climate Change Plan 2018-2032 by outlining the overarching framework for engaging the people of Scotland in the national effort required to successfully realise the ambition included within the updated Climate Change Plan. It will work to ensure that people are aware of their actions and actively participate in shaping fair and inclusive policies that promote adaptation to, and mitigation of, climate change.
Since the first Scottish Energy Strategy was published in 2017, we have made strong progress in decarbonising our energy system through our marine assets. We have set out several specific statements and plans to develop our ambition and take action, including the draft Hydrogen Action Plan; Fuel Poverty Strategy; Local Energy Policy Statement; Heat in Buildings Strategy. In 2022, we announced financial backing of up to £80 million to help the Scottish Cluster carbon capture project accelerate its effort to help Scotland's just transition to net zero. We are continuing to build the evidence base for carbon capture and utilisation in Scotland, including exploration of non-pipeline transport solutions such as CO2 shipping and the unique opportunities these provide to Scotland. The Scottish National Investment Bank, (the Bank) was established in November 2020. It is the first mission oriented investment bank in the UK and is being capitalised by the Scottish Government with £2 billion. The Bank will act as a mission focussed investor, making investments independently of Government, but in line with the three strategic missions (Net Zero, Place and People) set for it by Scottish Ministers. The Bank announced this year it has committed £30 million of funding for the expansion of Aberdeen Harbour, the largest infrastructure project in the UK. The expansion and development provides a key port for the UK's large-scale energy transition efforts. The expanded facility will provide greater land and water access for offshore wind developers.
We are developing Just Transition Plans for Scotland's sectors and regions, ensuring our transition to net zero is a fair and managed one. Our plans follow the National Just Transition Planning Framework. This aims to build agreement among citizens, places, businesses and workers, following a common approach, to develop the best approaches to maximise or create opportunities, and minimise or reduce risks. The new Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan (ESJTP), which is due to be published shortly, will provide a road map for the energy sectors role in achieving our emissions reduction targets and securing a net zero energy system for Scotland.
This plan will provide a whole-system vision and route map for Scotland's future energy system. It will look at how individual parts of the energy system – energy generation, distribution and demand - fit together and interact with one another. As this changing system will impact all parts of our lives, the plan will amplify the voices of those most impacted by the transition and set out how changes in the energy sector in the decade ahead will be made fair for all, identifying concrete steps to manage the economic and social impacts of the transition fairly.
Marine Scotland's Sectoral Marine Planning Process supported the recent ScotWind seabed leasing for offshore wind by Crown Estate Scotland, which awarded options on offshore wind projects with a combined potential capacity of almost 28GW over the next decade. We are also now developing a Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy for Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation (INTOG), which encompasses spatial opportunities and the strategic framework for future offshore wind deployment in sustainable and suitable locations that will help deliver projects to meet our net zero obligations. Our Offshore Wind policy, published in 2020, compliments both Blue Economy environmental outcomes by managing the delicate balance between delivering our net-zero commitment and protecting Scotland's diverse marine environment and other marine users. Scotland has some of the best tidal and wave power resources in the world. The Scottish Government established the Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group as a forum for the sector to speak with one voice about its priorities and the steps needed to maintain Scotland's competitive advantage. The group will report to the Scottish Government in the near future on the key opportunities and barriers, and the collective actions needed in Scotland to build on the sector's achievements to date.
The second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP2) was launched in 2019 and outlines how Scotland is preparing for the impacts of climate change to 2024. SCCAP2 sets out over 170 policies and proposals (and an associated research programme) to respond to the risks for Scotland identified in the 2017 UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA2). SCCAP takes an outcomes-based approach, derived from both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and aligned to Scotland's National Performance Framework. This approach is designed to integrate action on adaptation into wider Scottish Government policy and service delivery. There are seven high-level outcomes within SCCAP, covering Scotland's communities, businesses, and natural environment as well as our engagement with international partners. As noted above, a third Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme is currently in development in response to the risks set out in the 2022 UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3). SCCAP 3 is due for publication in 2024.
In addition to expanding low-carbon energy, we are continuing to support decarbonisation of our sectors and supply chains. Our Zero Emission Energy Transport Forecasts, that were published in May 2022 provide estimations on the electricity and ammonia demands to decarbonise Scotland's transport, including maritime transport. The forecasts will enable strategic planning and inform the market of possible demand scenarios to support private investments. The Scottish Government has also set a target to increase the proportion of low or zero emission ferries in Scottish Government ownership to 30% by 2032, and are leading the way with the introduction of three diesel-electric hybrid vehicle-carrying ferries. The number of low emission vessels will also increase over the next decade via our Small Vessel Replacement Programme. The first phase of this programme will replace up to seven of the smaller vessels serving the Clyde and Hebrides network, with either fully electric or next generation diesel/electric hybrid ships. Investigations are currently under way in conjunction with utility companies to identify the routes and ports capable of providing the power needed to charge and operate these ferries.
Our Future Fisheries Management Strategy 2020-2030 includes an action to reduce fishing vessel emissions, encourage shorter supply chains and improve waste management in our fleets. We have recently published a Fishing practices adapted in commercial fisheries review into the actions and interventions needed to mitigate the climate-related impact from fisheries and associated industries.
We have consulted on proposed legislation to develop Scotland's circular economy. The purpose of Scotland's circular economy will be to keep resources in use for as long as possible to benefit the environment by cutting waste, carbon emissions and introducing efficiencies to reduce the overall footprint resources. The circular economy can also provide economic benefit by improving productivity, opening new markets, and providing local employment opportunities. The aquaculture industry offers several immediate opportunities for embedding circular economy principles and we have already initiated work with Zero Waste Scotland to promote the sustainable use of aquaculture animal by-products for biogas production or feedstock, as alternative to incineration. The National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology recognises the opportunities of using marine biomass as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels to produce a wide range of products and energy, and is providing further support in this area by seeking to grow the Scottish biorefining sector. Scotland will also be the first in the UK to introduce a bottle and can Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers and is working towards a target of achieving 90% collection rates by 2024. The scheme will launch across Scotland on 16 August 2023, helping to recycle billions of bottles and cans every year. Scotland's DRS will remove up to one third of litter from our streets, parks, and waterways, reduce the £46 million of public money spent removing litter and fly tipping from the Scottish environment each year and help Scotland take a step forward in the country's journey towards a more circular economy.
The natural environment has a pivotal role to play in the net zero transition, with its unique ability to sequester and store carbon as well as providing wider climate adaptation services and supporting biodiversity. Marine and coastal ecosystems are important natural carbon stores, their protection and restoration are important to reduce physical loss through habitat degradation, damaging activities and avoid potential associated Greenhouse gas emissions. To improve our understanding of Scotland's blue carbon habitats and species, the Scottish Government established the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum (SBCF) in 2018. To date, we have committed over £650,000 to the Forum's blue carbon research programme leveraging significant additional funding through partnerships and supporting projects and early career researchers to grow the blue carbon evidence and skills base in Scotland.
We have also invested £200,000 through the Nature Restoration Fund to develop a specialist Blue Carbon Laboratory at the University of St Andrews, further building the capacity and capability of the Forum and have provided £40,000 in seed funding for the four Blue Carbon International Policy Challenge Projects to provide policy blue prints for ocean-based climate action. The SBCF has supported fundamental research to map and account for Scotland's blue carbon, including work on saltmarsh and seagrass habitats. Scotland currently has the only detailed assessment of saltmarsh surface soil carbon stock in the UK, which represents an important step towards their inclusion in the UK Greenhouse Gas inventory. The SBCF has made Scotland a frontrunner on blue carbon research, and is now providing a model and contributing valuable expertise to the new UK Blue Carbon Forum and the UK Blue Carbon Evidence Partnership.
Through the SBCF Scotland has joined the International Partnership for Blue Carbon (IPBC) and as one of Scotland's COP 26 commitments have launched the Blue Carbon International Policy Challenge providing seed funding, as mentioned above, for four policy challenge projects with an intention to establish blueprints for international and domestic policy actions, with outputs contributing to Scottish Government activity for COP27 – supporting a continued focus on ocean-climate action. One of these projects brought partners from Scotland, Kenya and the USA/Philippines together with the aim of developing and improving blue carbon awareness. By identifying distinct target audiences, the team will develop plain English guides to be translated into different languages, a community engagement video, and a Swahili translation of the citizen science Seagrass Spotter App to help African communities conserve seagrass. A further project brought partners from the James Hutton Institute and University of St Andrews together with representatives from Norway and Ireland to review current blue carbon habitat protection, restoration and creation approaches and consider future opportunities for blue carbon restoration.
3.3 EC1 Economy and Trade Outcome
Established and emerging marine sectors are innovative, entrepreneurial, productive and internationally competitive.
This outcome is about ensuring inclusive and sustainable economic development of Scotland's marine sectors and supporting them to invest in the Scottish supply chain and wider community benefits. It includes underpinning sectors with a skilled workforce and ensuring that sectors demonstrate inclusive, diverse, and fair participation in the labour market. It also means using a diverse range of metrics for measuring economic performance to inform decision making.
3.3.1 Current status
The value-added of Scotland's established marine sectors has decreased over the last ten years, primarily due to reductions in the oil and gas support sectors. In 2019, £5 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) was generated by Scottish marine sectors (excluding oil and gas and offshore wind). Offshore wind, a growing and important sector, has the potential to contribute significantly to the value of Scotland's marine sectors but due to data limitations is not currently included in GVA figures. Average spend on research and development (R&D) by businesses in marine sectors is below Scotland's average – and Scotland's proportional R&D spend is below both the UK and EU-27 average. However, Scottish seafood exports has seen major successes in the last decade, with over £1 billion of seafood exports in 2021.
3.3.2 Activity Underway
The Programme for Government (PfG) 2021 to 2022 set out our ambition to create a greener economy that works for all of Scotland's people and places. The National Strategy for Economic Transformation aims to redesign our economy based on the principles of equality, sustainability, prosperity, and resilience. Within a decade, our vision is to have built a Wellbeing Economy and to have become a fairer, wealthier, and greener nation. People are very much at the heart of the new strategy which aims to reduce wealth inequalities by providing fair work for all. The delivery of Scotland's Vision for Trade is supporting steps to improve the trading environment for Scottish goods and services sectors, including marine sectors, including via the identification of market access barriers. Scotland's Vision for Trade also sets out that trade policy should support our ambitions to deliver a sustainable net zero economy by developing our understanding of the strengths and opportunities of Scotland's environmental sectors.
Our regular publication of Scotland's Marine Economic Statistics tracks the overall performance of Scotland's marine sectors using the traditional economic metrics of Gross Value Added, turnover and employment. In June 2022, the Scottish Government's Wellbeing Economy Monitor was published, which provides the first suite of overall metrics that will be used to measure economic performance, beyond traditional economic metrics. It provides a framework to further develop the measures in relation to marine sectors and to support the analysis of wellbeing economies at more local levels.
To support economic development of marine sectors, the Scottish Government has provided significant investment through the City and Region Growth Deals. These are agreements between the Scottish and UK Governments, and regional partners that deliver investment and interventions designed to stimulate transformational and inclusive economic growth. Support and investment have been committed to a range of projects through the Deals programme that will support the marine economies in Aberdeen, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire, the Islands and in the South of Scotland. Key examples include investment of £9.5 million in a Marine Tourism programme as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, and a proposed £9 million investment into the Dales Voe Deep Water Port Development as part of the Islands Growth Deal. The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal includes a planned £16 million investment from the Scottish Government into the Stranraer Marina expansion project, which aims to repurpose Stranraer and Loch Ryan as a distinctive and successful marine leisure destination and an exemplar for sustainability in marina projects through the use of renewable energy technologies. The Borderlands Deal also supports the Natural Capital programme which consists of a series of five pilot projects which aim to improve the region's economic resilience through transformative working practices and demonstrate how the region's natural capital assets (natural resources) can form the basis of sustainable economic growth. The Marine and Coastal pilot will work across both shores of the Solway Firth and aims to support the commercial shellfish and fishing sectors by improving the natural habitat and developing practical techniques for habitat and species regeneration in order to improve the health of commercial fish stocks.
We continue to build on Scotland's history and success of innovation within our established and emerging marine sectors. Scotland's biotechnology sector, in particular, is recognised for its disruptive innovation that has capitalised on the world class research expertise in chemistry, biology, and engineering. Marine-based opportunities are increasingly being recognised as an emergent area with Scotland's bioeconomy, with significant potential for growth. The 2015 Biorefinery roadmap for Scotland identifies several resource streams which hold the greatest potential to further develop Scotland's bio-based economy, including municipal solid wastes and food processing by-products, marine biomass, and carbon dioxide. The roadmap aims to expand existing equipment centres to support the biorefining of the identified key feedstocks, investigate new value chains and the development of sustainable supply chains for key feedstocks, support the further development of a bioresource mapping tool, and actively address recent policy challenges concerning aspects of seaweed harvesting.
We continue to support innovation and economic development in Scotland's established and emerging marine sectors. In 2020, the emerging Scottish seaweed-based industry had an estimated Gross Value Added (GVA) of £510,000 per annum and employed a total of 59 people. In February 2022, we published the Seaweed Review Statement. The review recognises that, although the existing seaweed industry in Scotland is small, there is growing interest in developing this industry further. This could create new high value products from wild seaweed through cultivating seaweed to supply various existing and emerging markets. Additionally, we published the final research report commissioned by the Seaweed Review Steering Group, Understanding the potential scale for seaweed-based industries in Scotland. The report discusses projected future growth scenarios and novel and innovative applications for seaweed that have not yet been taken up on a large scale and remain in development.
The Blue Economy Vision outcomes are at the heart of the Marine Fund Scotland, through which we are providing up to £14 million annually in vital grant funding assistance to a range of sectors including the aquaculture, fisheries and seafood sectors as well as projects addressing marine litter and fishing gear disposal. This has helped to support local supply chains, protect and create jobs in Scotland's coastal communities, and support for the industry to adapt and invest for the future. Marine Fund Scotland will continue to support the Blue Economy and seek to deliver economic and societal outcomes through sustainable economic development.
Scotland's marine sectors form a core part of our nation's international trade and exports. In 2019, we published the Scotland: A Trading Nation strategy, which identifies challenges and opportunities to leverage Scotland's unique trading position. It identifies opportunities through key markets in Scotland's Food and Drink Exports Plan and aims to grow Scotland's international exports from 20-25% of GDP by 2029. This is underpinned by £4.5 million of joint funding from the Scottish Government, industry and Scottish Development International and is helping Scottish companies take their products into new and existing markets, exploiting the most significant export opportunities for Scotland. If achieved it is estimated that this would contribute £3.5 billion to GDP, create around 17,500 jobs and add around £500 million in tax to the economy every year.
At a national level, we are supporting investment in Scottish supply chains through marine sectors. Scotland is at the forefront of global offshore wind development and through the recent ScotWind offshore wind leasing round, applicants have shown initial commitment to an average spend of £1.4 billion in Scotland per gigawatt of capacity built through the Supply Chain Development Statement Outlooks. Engagement and collaboration between the public sector, offshore wind industry, ports and supply chain companies will be essential to realise supply chain opportunities associated with ScotWind. The Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC) is a partnership between the Scottish public sector and the offshore wind industry set up to co-ordinate and grow the offshore wind sector in Scotland, ensuring the industry is sustainable, competitive and commercially attractive. In 2021, SOWEC commissioned a Strategic Investment Assessment (SIA) to understand the investment in capacity and capability necessary to deliver a step change in the ability of Scotland's supply chain to grow and win offshore wind work. The report's priority recommendation was to establish a floating offshore wind port cluster in Scotland to support the development of a world-class supply chain for the floating offshore wind industry - fourteen of the twenty ScotWind projects have indicated they expect to deploy floating foundations. Since publication of the SIA report, industry has signed up to the principles set out in the Collaborative Framework Charter and SOWEC has been working on the development of a Strategic Investment Model to identify opportunities and priority investments associated with port infrastructure and manufacturing.
3.4 EC2 Food Security, Nutrition and Health Outcome
Scotland is a global leader in healthy, quality, sustainably harvested and farmed Blue Foods, for our own population and beyond.
This outcome is about enhancing the global reputation and success of Scotland's seafood as nutritious and sustainable. It includes supporting the growth, harvesting, and farming of seafood by investing in ports, harbours and sustainable trade routes, and decarbonising supply chain. This outcome is also about Scotland becoming a Good Food Nation, where people in Scotland enjoy the dietary benefits of our seafood and contribute to lower food miles through local consumption.
3.4.1 Current status
Fish stock sustainability has improved in Scotland's fisheries over the last decade, with 69% of commercial fish stocks of importance to Scotland being fished at sustainable levels in 2020. However, work remains to be done. Sustainability in other food sectors such as aquaculture and processing is equally important, but harder to measure. Scotland was the 38th largest producer of seafood globally in 2019. Despite Scotland being a major seafood producer, the people of Scotland do not consume the recommended amount of fish – oily fish in particular. In 2018/2019, the average Scottish consumer purchased 157g of fish and seafood per week. Scotland's entire aquaculture supply chain, which includes Atlantic salmon, trout and shellfish production, contributes £620 million every year in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Scottish economy, supports over 12,000 full time jobs and makes significant social contributions to remote and rural areas by generating highly skilled employment opportunities. The farmed salmon industry makes up over 90% of all Scotland's aquaculture production by value, with trout production and cleaner fish production becoming increasingly important both economically and strategically.
3.4.2 Activity Underway
Food and Drink is one of Scotland's key growth sectors – domestically and internationally – with a broad range of activity from farming, fishing, and aquaculture to processing of raw ingredients into products like smoked salmon and whisky.
The Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022 was passed by the Scottish Parliament in June and received Royal Assent on 26 July. The Act requires Scottish Ministers and certain public authorities to produce plans of their policies in relation to food and set out what they will do to make those plans real. These cross-cutting plans will also have to set out the main outcomes to be achieved in relation to food-related issues, the policies needed to do this and the measures we will use to assess progress. The national good food nation plan will consider policies around fisheries and seafood. A draft of the first national good food nation plan will be published in 2023. A period of public and parliamentary consultation and scrutiny will follow publication of the draft; the final national good food nation plan will be published in 2024. In 2021, the draft Local Food Strategy was published setting out a number of actions to encourage local food consumption. The Strategy for Seafood was published in October 2022, which promotes the Vision that Scottish seafood is renowned both at home and internationally for its quality and sustainability and is enabled by an innovative and productive sector that it is entrepreneurial, domestically, and internationally competitive, with a secure supply chain.
Scotland's Future Fisheries Management (FFM) Strategy 2020-2030 sets out a range of principles and commitments intended to deliver a sustainable and responsible approach to fisheries management in Scotland. This includes a commitment to deliver a robust catching policy, in partnership with stakeholders, which would introduce a range of technical and spatial improvements for fisheries vessels, reduce waste, and encourage compliance with legislation. We consulted on the Future Catching Policy (FCP) in March 2022, which is a fundamental part of delivering sustainable and responsible fisheries management under the FFM. The FCP aims to support the fishing industry to fish responsibly and will support marketability of Scottish fish by demonstrating sustainability.
A package of work is currently in progress to deliver the recommendations from the independent review of aquaculture regulation, led by Professor Russel Griggs to reform and streamline regulatory processes so that development is more responsive, efficient and transparent. This is key to developing a sector that is both environmentally and economically sustainable, reflecting the Bute House Agreement and the Scottish Government Programme for Government. The Scottish Aquaculture Council, Chaired by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, has been established to ensure equal progress towards our commitments. The farmed fish health framework for Scotland was published in 2018 in recognition that such an initiative was an essential component part for the consideration of the work of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group (AILG) and the industry 2030 strategy.
3.5 SO1 Social Inclusion and Equalities Outcome
Thriving, resilient, regenerated, healthy communities have more equal access to the benefits that ocean resources provide.
The Blue Economy Social Inclusion outcome is about ensuring that communities benefit from ocean resources. This includes access to fair, high-quality, skilled jobs in Scotland's marine sectors, with inclusion of those from areas of industrial decline or under-represented groups in the marine workforce. It also includes providing equitable access and enjoyment of the wellbeing benefits provided by our coasts and sea.
3.5.1 Current status
Two-thirds of people in Scotland live within a five-minute walk from their nearest green or blue space, with more than half of people visiting the outdoors at least once a week – both in Scotland as a whole, and coastal communities. The 2022 Ocean Literacy Survey, that was published in November 2022, shows that residents in Scotland appreciate the physical and mental health benefits that the marine environment gives them (83% report that visits to the marine environment are good for their mental health and 80% report that visits are good for their physical health). Employment in many marine sectors remains male-dominated. Females comprise 0.3% of the people working as Scottish fishers in 2021 and there remains work to be done to ensure marine sectors – a key source of employment for people living in coastal communities – are inclusive and equitable.
3.5.2 Activity Underway
We are working across the fishing energy and aquaculture sectors to deliver benefits to communities from ocean resources through a variety of mechanisms
The Scottish Government's Good Practice Principles (GPPs) for Community Benefits from Offshore Renewable Energy Developments set out national standards in relation to shaping and delivering community benefits from offshore renewable energy projects, complementary to environmental, supply chain and other socio-economic benefits to Scotland. Work is underway to review the GPPs for Community Benefits from Offshore Renewable Energy Developments and we plan to consult on the updated draft guidance next year.
In the 2021/22 Programme for Government, we committed to placing an enhanced focus on benefits to communities which host aquaculture enterprises. The forthcoming Aquaculture Vision will consider how the scale and impact of community benefits from aquaculture can be amplified.
The Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) recognises the importance of fishing to many of our coastal communities as well as the need to work with industry on succession planning, training, access to domestic labour, and fair remuneration to encourage new entrants. This is delivered by protecting and, where necessary, recovering our fish stocks, reducing the effects of fishing on the marine and coastal environment, and supporting a modern, resilient, and environmentally responsible fishing industry. The JFS commits to supporting the health, safety, and wellbeing of those working in the seafood sector and recognises a healthy and resilient marine environment is the foundation for a prosperous seafood sector and thriving coastal communities. Fair Work First principles have been embedded within the criteria for the Marine Fund Scotland. Applicants to the fund are required to demonstrate how they deliver, or plan to deliver, on those principles, including the payment of the real Living Wage and appropriate channels for effective workers' voice, such as trade union recognition.
In 2017, the Scottish Ministers committed to distributing 100% of the net revenues from the Scottish Crown Estate marine assets within 12 nautical miles to coastal local authorities for coastal community benefit via the Scottish Consolidated Fund (SCF). The first year of payments to local authorities was made in 2019, and in 2020-2021, marine assets generated £11 million net revenue to the SCF. The net revenue allocation for Local Authorities are supporting and delivering on empowering local communities, building strong local partnerships and involving communities in local decision making.
We recognise the key role that ferry services play in supporting the economic, social and cultural development of island and remote mainland communities. The Scottish Government has committed to investing £580 million over 5 years in vessels and ports, as part of the Infrastructure Investment Plan. This substantial funding will improve Scotland's ferry services by delivering greater resilience to the network and will allow a wider range of vessels to be used. The Islands Connectivity Plan (ICP) will replace the current Ferries Plan from January 2023 and, as part of the ICP, we will produce and maintain a long-term plan and investment programme for new ferries and development at ports. This will aim to improve resilience, reliability, capacity, and accessibility, increase standardisation, and reduce emissions, meeting the needs of island communities and of those travelling to the isles for both business and leisure purposes. We will work with communities, businesses and ferry operators to explore ways of making better use of available ferry capacity for people, vehicles and freight, and to enable more sustainable travel opportunities.
Within Scotland's seas, there are many thousand marine heritage sites. Our Place in Time: Scotland's Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland sets a common vision of how our historic environment can be understood, valued, cared for and enjoyed. This vision extends to marine historic environment. We have designated eight Historic Marine Protected Areas within Scottish territorial waters to protect marine historic assets of national importance. As part of the 2020, Year of Coasts and Waters, Historic Environment Scotland awarded funding of £194,349 to 18 community-based projects to protect, promote or engage with Scotland's coastal or waterway heritage as part of the Coast and Waters Heritage Fund.
The Scottish Government is supporting development of high-quality, skilled jobs. We have committed up to £45 million in the budget to support young people in Scotland towards employment, training and apprenticeships through the Young Person's Guarantee, other education, training, skills investment and through the jobs grant. The number of young people in work increased by more than 15,000 last year and Scotland's youth employment rate is higher than the UK-wide figure. Education Scotland is working collaboratively with national and regional partners to deliver aspects of the Developing the Young Workforce programme, as set out in the Youth Employment Strategy. There is a particular focus on supporting skills development and helping young people aged 3-18 prepare for the world of work as expressed within 'Building the Curriculum 4: skills for learning, skills and life and skills for work'. However, it also acknowledges more recent research and developments such as the development of Skills 4.0, a skills model to drive Scotland's future, or the Career Review
Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation aims to ensure that our young people are successful learners; confident individuals; effective contributors and responsible citizens. To achieve this, the strategy aims to implement a lifetime upskilling and retraining offer that is more straightforward for people and businesses to access and benefit from. This will use evidence from the delivery of the National Transition Training Fund, the Flexible Workforce Development Fund, and what we know works well from Community Learning and Development. A new Skills Pact will be developed to underpin our commitment to strong partnership working with both employers and unions. The Pact will focus on action we can take together to improve investment in skills and training and ensure provision better meets the needs of employers and employees. As part of this, we will work collaboratively with employers and unions to explore how we can increase employer investment in upskilling and retraining.
Within marine sectors, we have several activities supporting skills development and training. Transport Scotland and Skills Development Scotland are working to baseline the skills necessary to support maritime decarbonisation and support Scotland's Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan. This analysis will help identify the existing and future skills requirements, as well as potential measures to maximise the economic opportunities arising from the decarbonisation of maritime vessels, and operations, and associated supply chains. Since its launch in 2009, the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS) has supported training of more than 165 postgraduate researchers through the MASTS Graduate School and the Scottish Universities Partnership for Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnership. This represents an investment of more than £13 million, co-funded by the Scottish Funding Council, UK Research and Innovation, and MASTS member organisations including Marine Scotland and NatureScot. Many of these researchers now work in areas of commerce, governance, research and innovation in Scottish companies and institutions. MASTS international researchers act as ambassadors, promoting the world class education and training in marine science that Scotland can offer. An important feature of MASTS graduate training is a focus on providing wider skills development beyond the compass of their core studies, preparing them for a broad spectrum of careers. The Hydro Nation Scholars Programme is also delivering high-quality PhD posts, directly funded by the Scottish Government, to study cutting-edge water topics. These posts are funded to help solve pressing challenges for the industry and create new expertise within Scotland.
3.6 SO2 Ocean Literacy Outcome
Scotland is an ocean literate and aware nation.
The Ocean Literacy outcome is about the people living and working in Scotland having access to knowledge and learning about the ocean, its benefits, and its role in tackling the climate and nature crises. It is also about people valuing and respecting Scotland's seas and feeling part of a coastal nation with a long and proud heritage and culture. The outcome is also about people being able to make informed choices to support the sustainable use of marine resources and feeling empowered to participate in governance and decision-making forums about Scotland's seas.
3.6.1 Current status
The Scottish Government Survey on Ocean Literacy, commissioned in partnership with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, Natural Resources Wales and the Ocean Conservation Trust, was published in November 2022, as part of the 'Understanding Ocean Literacy and Ocean Climate-related Behaviour Change in the UK' project, to better understand public awareness and attitudes towards the marine and coastal environment.
The headline report for Scotland shows that respondents in Scotland value the marine environment with 85% feeling that it is important to protect it, and just over 51% of respondents stated that their overriding emotional response to the marine environment is that of 'concern'. Mental and physical health were given as the top reasons for visiting the marine environment and a quarter of respondents said they felt 'calm' or 'relaxed' while there.
Nearly eight in 10 respondents (79%) are willing to make lifestyle changes and take individual action to protect the marine environment. The main reasons given for these changes was those of either concern about the climate (67%) or a wish to be 'greener' (63%). However, more than half of respondents have never heard of key terms describing the state of our ocean, how we impact it and how it impacts us, such as 'blue carbon' and 'natural capital'.
The survey reveals positive environmental behaviour from people in Scotland through individual actions, with the top three being recycling, reducing use of single-use-plastic and reusing plastic. Individuals' decisions about purchasing seafood were influenced by whether or not the fish was endangered or over fished, if the product was environmentally friendly and if it was locally caught.
3.6.2 Activity underway
A survey carried out in 2020 on Attitudes in Scotland on the Marine Environment and Marine Issues collected and analysed data on the attitudes and behaviours of Scottish residents on the marine environment, including uses of marine and coastal areas, environmental concerns, marine economic activities, and the management of Scotland's marine environment. The survey results demonstrated a strong appetite to learn more about the marine environment. The findings of this report continue to feed into a number of policy areas concerning the Scottish marine environment.
The Community Adaptation Actions document describes practical actions that communities can take to increase resilience and adapt to changes in the climate. The document describes 20 actions, split over three categories including community adaptation in the natural environment, community adaptation for built assets (schools, community centres, homes) and community adaptation to raise awareness and build capacity to adapt. The Resilient Communities Strategic Framework and Delivery Plan also aims to support Scotland's communities, individuals, and organisations to harness resources and expertise to help themselves assess and understand risk, including climate change. This is achieved through engaging the public, empowering communities, enabling collaboration and co-production, education and learning and evaluation and improvement.
To support local participation in governance and decision-making forums about Scotland's seas, the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 provides that Marine Planning Partnerships (MPPs) can be established to develop regional marine plans. MPPs are made up of marine stakeholders who reflect marine interests in their region. The partnerships can vary in size and composition depending on the area, issues to be dealt with and existing groups. Local Authorities, Inshore Fisheries Groups, Local Coastal Partnerships play a role in the development of the regional marine plans. The Shetland, Clyde and Orkney Marine Planning Partnerships have been established and are actively developing regional marine plans.
3.7 The National Marine Plan
Marine planning will play a significant role in achieving our Blue Economy Vision. As demand for marine space continues to increase, marine planning provides a way to organise the use of our seas and the interactions among users, and between users and the marine environment.
In line with legislative requirements, Scotland's current National Marine Plan (NMP) for Scotland has been reviewed twice to date. The most recent review (April 2021) focussed particularly on the impact of significant external national and global developments that affect the management of our resources, including; the twin global climate and nature crises, the UK Exit from the EU, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Scottish Government's net zero targets, in addition to the development of a wider number of Scottish Government policies, targets and strategies. The 2021 review concluded that, whilst the NMP remains legally effective, the scale and pace of change within the wider policy, legislative, scientific and technological landscape points strongly to the need to update the existing NMP. This conclusion was strongly echoed by stakeholders who responded to the review consultation process.
The Scottish Ministers have, therefore, decided to commence the process of updating the existing NMP, to produce our second NMP ("NMP2"). Effectively managing how we use our marine space is critical in our transition to net zero by 2045, the achievement of our national and international biodiversity commitments and to maximise the opportunities that a Blue Economy approach can deliver for our environment and communities. The announcement of the new NMP development included a publication of a dedicated Stakeholder Engagement Strategy and the Statement of Public Participation to highlight the importance of working together with stakeholders.
The updated NMP will cover the management of both Scottish inshore waters (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore waters (12 to 200 nautical miles) and will apply to the exercise of both devolved and reserved functions, as per the existing National Marine Plan (adopted in March 2015).
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