Draft provisions for a Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill/Draft Wild Fisheries Stratgey: a consultation

This is a consultation on draft provisions for a Wild Fisheries Bill, these provisions adopt an all species approach, while promoting conservation and good management of our wild fisheries resources.

Annex C:

Scotland's draft National Wild Fisheries Strategy

'To protect, develop and enhance social and economic benefit from Scotland's freshwater fish and fisheries; and to promote access to fishing opportunities and participation.'

Draft 8
January 2016

Wild Fisheries in Scotland

Vision for all

' To protect, develop and enhance social and economic benefit from Scotland's freshwater fish and fisheries; and to promote access to fishing opportunities and participation'


Wild Fisheries in Scotland has recently been subject to a fundamental review of how it should be managed and developed for this century and beyond. Working with our stakeholders and in parallel with the development of new overarching legislation, we have set out a structured vision for the future that reflects the move to an all species focus, that acknowledges the importance of conservation, sustainability and access for all and which reflects the Scottish Government's core purpose - to create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.


There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, investment (personal and financial) and energy deployed within the wild fisheries sector. The challenge for the future is to garner and channel that contribution in a way which best helps to deliver collective ambition which all can all feel part of. Everyone recognises the need to maximise the potential of all parts of the sector so that it is best able to meet the challenges of today as well as of tomorrow.

The relationship between local and national bodies should be strengthened to implement a shared vision on a true partnership basis. Fisheries management should engage more proactively with all users of the shared resource. That should include a drive for evidence based fish and fishery management that is reflective and adaptive to changing needs. Most particularly, attention should be drawn to the good work that is happening already on a daily basis in every part of Scotland. All these ambitions are aimed at attracting more people to the opportunities that our freshwater environment provides.


Scotland's climate, geology and geography provide favourable habitats for a wide variety of freshwater fish. As a result, angling provides a natural focus for outdoor recreation and, subject to identified harvestable surpluses, certain freshwater fish species are sustainable food resources. The National Wild Fisheries Strategy is intended to provide a framework against which all interested parties may measure proposals for action to enhance Scotland's freshwater fisheries.

The fisheries management structure that is introduced by the draft Bill carries with it the opportunity to improve fish stocks and fishing beyond what already exists. Through a combination of clear strategic direction, local management activity to protect and improve, including local planning, and centrally provided scientific expertise and data storage, Scotland will have a responsible system that enables best fishery management practices to be applied.

Freshwater fish are important components of aquatic ecosystems. Better fish stocks provide more opportunities. More fish are a key factor to attracting more people and greater access to fishing opportunities, and with it the associated benefits for their physical and mental wellbeing. It engages more people with the natural environment, including visitors to Scotland. Not least, it creates business opportunities for providers of fishing, and for the wider supply chain of goods and services used by residents and visitors alike.

Three key overarching objectives are:

  • Providing comprehensive protection and improvement of Scottish freshwater fish and the habitats they depend on.
  • Promoting effective, evidence-based fishery management through integrated data gathering, research and dissemination.
  • Identifying and maximising societal benefits from sustainable fisheries; and the promotion of angling as a recreational and tourism activity

Effective, transparent and accountable governance.

In reaching our vision and meeting these objectives the strategy aims to provide:

  • A long-term vision for managing and developing Wild fisheries in Scotland (The Strategy);
  • An outline methodology for achieving that vision (a Governance and Accountability Framework which ensures that everyone operates within a clear and robust framework for decision making and accountability designed to achieve successful delivery of the purpose, aims, and objectives.);
  • A structure for greater stakeholder involvement on the development and

management of Wild Fisheries in Scotland.

This list is by no means exhaustive but illustrates the need for a framework that compliments the developing legislation.


To assist the successful delivery of the objectives, we are developing a supporting strategic framework around the following four themes:

Theme 1:

Protecting and growing the Resource

Indicator 1.1

National approach to the protection and restoration of habitats

Associated activities

  • Identify pressures on fish, their habitats and species and prioritise and take pragmatic action where sensible.
  • Integrate with existing national and regional processes, including the River Basin Management Planning, Habitats Directive objectives and the National Planning Framework.

Indicator 1.2

Identification of national and local priorities for fisheries management through a coordinated system of management and conservation plans

Associated activities

  • Production of a comprehensive national management plan setting out clear and time-limited nationally prioritised actions.
  • Fishery management plans will set out clear and time-limited regionally prioritised actions.
  • Guidance on the optimisation of stocks for all species.

Indicator 1.3

National Enforcement Regime

Associated activities

  • Maintenance of a professionally recognised Scotland wide fishery enforcement officer role (and support services) with specific responsibilities and accountability for ensuring compliance with relevant legislation.
  • Foster interaction with wider enforcement bodies and develop a partnership approach.
  • Continuous professional development with access to relevant training and learning opportunities.
  • Promotion of greater public awareness and confidence with the profession.

Theme 2:

Science and research

Indicator 2.1

Memorandum of understanding defining the relationship between national and local science, including an agreed approach to the coordination and planning of research projects and priorities.

Associated activities

  • acceptable operating standards
  • principles of information archiving
  • principles of access to information
  • principles of science coordination and planning

Indicator 2.2

Establish research and data collection priorities to meet local, national and international needs, to be reviewed and updated as part of the fishery management planning cycle.

Associated activities

  • Identify key knowledge gaps hindering effective management.
  • Develop a science delivery programme with partners to address knowledge gaps.
  • Ensure the Scottish Government is able to demonstrate that it is meeting or progressing towards achieving its international obligations.
  • Development of citizen science activities to empower wider participation, with the emphasis on transparency and openness.

Indicator 2.3

Scottish national standards for the collection, storage, analysis, access, publication and use of data.

Associated activities

  • Set standards for appropriate training to promote consistent standards.
  • Ensure appropriate analysis.
  • Ensure data is publicly available and accessible.
  • Audit compliance with standards.

Theme 3:

Partnership and Engagement

Indicator 3.1

Partnership working.

Associated activities

  • To further the partnership working already established between policy makers, stakeholders, and delivery agents for fisheries.
  • Detailed expectations around engagement at a local and national level, both within and out with the sector.
  • Development of opportunities for collaborative working.

Indicator 3.2

Policy development.

Associated activities

  • Interaction between policy makers, stakeholders and the science community to facilitate focused research and evidence based policy development.

Theme 4:


Indicator 4.1

Marketing and promoting opportunities for angling across Scotland.

Associated activities

  • Promote angling to stakeholders of all ages.
  • Joined up approach to education and the promotion of classroom based activities designed to encourage and provide young anglers with a basic understanding of fish and the wider environment.
  • Develop and provide guidance for angling clubs on how best to encourage youth participation.
  • Develop and provide guidance on the concept of responsible access to angling for all species and fisheries management best practice in Scotland.
  • Liaise with all relevant interests on the development and promotion of a national and local angling tourism strategy.
  • Development plan with angling businesses to better understand the needs of anglers and to improve the associated facilities and infrastructure.
  • Positive community role - recognition of fisheries as a positive contribution to the communities of Scotland.


The Scottish Government National Unit (when established), Marine Scotland, SNH, SEPA and the FMO network will be key partners in delivering these strategic outcomes.

We can manage wild fisheries in Scotland for the better by working together to deliver national and local strategies that integrate with each other.

The strategy will be reviewed and updated no later than five years from the date it is published.

Every five years thereafter, the same process of review, consultation, revision, publication and laying before the Parliament will apply.


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