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.

Chapter 4:Part 2 - Regulation of wild fishing and fisheries

Salmon & Freshwater Fisheries (Scotland) Bill


49. The purpose of this Chapter is to describe in more detail Part 2, and highlight the areas which we still need to develop further.

Detailed provisions of Part 2

50. Section 23 provides a power to make conservation regulations for or about the conservation of fish, the habitats of those fish, and for the protection and management of wild fisheries. Sections 24-32 make further provision about the use of such conservation regulations.

51. The approach to conservation measures is designed to simplify and consolidate a number of provisions from the 2003 Act including general regulations, close times, baits and lures regulations, carcass tagging and conservation regulations.

52. There has been considerable interest among stakeholders in the approach to, and the retention of, weekly and annual close times. Much of that has been in the context of its relevance and enforceability going forward and the compatibility of such an approach with other legislation. Section 24 allows conservation regulations to make provision for or about fishing for, taking or killing freshwater fish, including during a specified period or periods. We have asked our Stakeholder Reference Group to consider further the future approach to weekly and annual close times for all species, in the light of the wider themes of increasing access to fishing, the approach to conservation limits and the enforcement of any future regime, particularly in relation to coastal netting.

53. It is intended that, in addition to the power of Ministers to bring forward legislation in this area, local conservation measures implemented at the request of FMOs should also be possible. It is intended that such local measures would not be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny. National measures undertaken by the Scottish Ministers would continue to be subject to negative Parliamentary procedure.

Q14. Do you agree that local conservation measures, agreed by FMOs at a local level, could be made by the Scottish Ministers without being subject to Parliamentary scrutiny?

54. Section 28 (in combination with Section 27) would allow conservation regulations to make provision for licensing the taking and killing of freshwater fish.

Q15. Do you agree with the approach to conservation regulations?

Q16. We would welcome any specific comments you have in relation to section 23-32 of the draft provisions.

55. Section 33 makes provision for fishing without permission. We are suggesting that a consistent approach is taken across all species, whereby it would become a criminal offence to fish for, take or kill any species of fish without legal right or written permission.

56. Section 34 and Schedule 1 prescribe the lawful methods of fishing for or taking freshwater fish. This largely replicates the existing situation, with the exception of fishing for freshwater fish species (other than salmon and sea trout). Following discussion with stakeholders and the SRG, we propose that the only legal method of fishing for freshwater fish species (other than salmon and sea trout) will be by rod and line. The table in Schedule 1 sets out more clearly the different available methods according to species and geographical location.

Elements of Part 2 to be developed further

57. The remainder of the second chapter of Part 2 will deal with specific offences and powers to authorise introductions and activities which would otherwise be illegal (such as electrofishing).

58. Our policy intention is to take a consistent approach to all offences across all species. The existing offences and enforcement powers have evolved over a number of decades. As a consequence they can be difficult to understand and enforce. We wish to address these issues, whilst also broadening the offences to reflect the all-species approach being adopted throughout the legislation.

59. As currently drafted the provisions are deliberately silent on offences as we will look to tease out the enforceability of existing offences with the relevant bodies, including the Bailiff Development Group, and options for alternative forms of prosecution (for example fixed penalty notices). We are also looking at a more pragmatic rationalisation of the existing offences and commensurate levels of fines. Enforcement is a significant aspect of any legislation and we remain committed to develop this in partnership with practitioners and the wider sector.

60. It is our intention that the Scottish Ministers will be responsible for licensing introductions, and licensing fishing by otherwise illegal methods.

Q17. Are there specific examples of issues with the offences in the 2003 Act that we should be aware of in developing the framework for an all species management system?


Back to top