As promised in the Scottish Government's programme for Scotland 2015-16 I am very happy to launch this consultation on draft provisions for a Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill, alongside a draft Wild Fisheries Strategy which sets the context for a new fisheries management framework for Scotland.
This consultation reaffirms this Government's commitment to modernise our fishery management structures and to establish the foundations for a more secure and sustainable future for this vital sector. Working with our stakeholders we have begun work on legislation that adopts an all species approach that acknowledges and promotes the key pillars of conservation, sustainability and access to all, and the Scottish Government's core purpose - to create a more successful country, with opportunities for all in Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable growth.
The draft provisions for a Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill and draft Wild Fisheries Strategy have been developed in a most collaborative way. They have been informed by the Report on the Independent Wild Fisheries Review; the earlier consultation on this Government's response to that Report, and with a substantial contribution made by the Stakeholder Reference Group ( SRG) and Strategy Development Group ( SDG) whose wide ranging membership are committed to ensuring that we collectively get this process right. In addition many of the representative organisations have been, and are, working together on several of the emerging themes from the consultation and the developing legislation.
I am hugely grateful to everyone who responded to the earlier consultation, and particularly to the members of SRG and SDG for working positively with the Government in developing these proposals. We are committed to retaining the incredible enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication within the wild fisheries sector. I want to ensure that we have committed appropriate resources to ensure that we are able to retain these key people and that they are able to continue to contribute to the process going forward.
It is important to recognise at this stage that this is very much a draft Bill and subject to change as a result of this consultation exercise. There are also some technical areas which require further development before finalising proposals. We therefore took the decision not to produce a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment ( BRIA) at this stage. A BRIA forms part of the package of any primary legislation put before Parliament and will be developed in line with the final proposals.
Consultations are by their very nature designed to tease out ideas and thoughts - nothing has been set in stone. This is your opportunity to help shape the future of the sector going forward and I urge you to grasp it.
Dr Aileen McLeod
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform