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.


1. The Scottish Government has a manifesto commitment to support and protect Scotland's famous and valuable salmon and freshwater fisheries and to modernise the management framework.

2. Progress towards this commitment has been delivered in a number of stages:

  • Stage 1 was to update the governance of salmon fisheries via the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013.
  • Stage 2 was to commission an independent Wild Fisheries Review, chaired by Andrew Thin, which published its report in October 2014 and made 53 recommendations for change [1] .
  • Stage 3 was the consultation on the fundamental management principles [2] to guide development and design of the new system at all levels, and to seek views on broad options for taking forward the main themes identified in the Wild Fisheries Review report.

3. A Stronger Scotland: the Government's Programme for Scotland 2015-16 [3] commits Scottish Ministers to consult on draft provisions for a Wild Fisheries Bill before the end of the current parliamentary session (this consultation). In parallel we are also consulting on a draft National Wild Fisheries Strategy.

4. Through this consultation we are presenting a broad package of information which will allow stakeholders to see the developing Bill in the context of the draft National Wild Fisheries Strategy ( Chapter 1).


5. It is recognised that fundamental reform of the fisheries management system is a large and complex subject. We have and will continue to work closely with our Stakeholder Reference Group [4] to help inform the programme of reform including the change management implications going forward. During the consultation on broad principles we held 9 drop-in events and 35 meetings with stakeholders in order to hear and share views. There were over 200 responses to the consultation. The analysis of consultation responses has been published [5] as part of the package supporting this next round of consultation. Detail on how the views of stakeholders have informed our thinking is included at Annex B.

6. A key recommendation of the Independent Wild Fisheries Review was that the future management structures should manage all species rather than just salmon and sea trout. We have therefore set out provisions for a management structure to manage salmon, sea trout and other freshwater fisheries. The system (national and local functions) will manage fish in our rivers and lochs as well as put-and-take fisheries in still waters.

7. Draft provisions for a new Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill are set out in Annex D. The draft reflects a structure as follows:

  • Part 1 - Administration and Management of Wild Fisheries

Chapter 1 - National Arrangements

Chapter 2 - Local Arrangements

Chapter 3 - Wild Fisheries Levy

  • Part 2 - Regulation of wild fishing and fisheries

Chapter 1 - Conservation Regulations

Chapter 2 - Specific Conservation Measures

  • Part 3 - Enforcement
  • Part 4 - General

8. This consultation is designed to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback on the approach currently being taken as we continue to develop the legislative provisions before a Bill will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in the new Parliamentary session.

9. However, it must be emphasised that Annex D only includes those elements where sufficient development has taken place. The provisions do not represent the draft Bill in its entirety, and therefore it is important that the narrative included in the consultation document is considered in parallel when formulating a response. This is very much an opportunity for you to continue to help shape the way forward.

10. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the provisions for a draft Bill, including those areas which still need to be covered.

11. The Stakeholder Reference Group will continue to have a key role as we move from the current system towards the future management system. A transition plan will be developed to ensure effective transition planning and continuity of delivery of fisheries management. We understand the need to maintain momentum, confidence and investment in the day to day management of fisheries throughout the reform programme. We also wish to ensure the retention of key people and expertise within the sector, as we recognise that such expertise will form the foundation of the future management structures.

12. Information about the consultation process and how to respond is at Chapter 8. We invite comments on any or all parts of this consultation and hope to engage constructively with the full range of interested parties during the consultation process.


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