- 8 Sep 2019
- Welcome and Introductions
IM welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the Fishery Management Plan Template Technical Working Group.
- Background to Wild Fisheries Reform
AW gave a short update on the Wild Fisheries Reform process. The Report of the Wild Fisheries Review Panel recommended that the new fisheries management system should be based on a plan-led approach. This is set out in the draft Bill provisions as a draft National Strategy and a duty on Fishery Management Organisations to submit a Local Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) and submit to Scottish Ministers for approval. The draft provisions also include a requirement for FMOs to report on activities undertaken to deliver the plan. The other working groups which have been established to develop thinking on Wild Fisheries Reform (WFR) were discussed – these can be viewed on the WFR website.
- Terms of Reference
The terms of reference were agreed: To develop a fishery management plan template which will facilitate a consistent approach to be taken by local FMOs, inform development/review of the National Wild Fisheries Strategy and allow Scottish Ministers to identify, quantify and prioritise action to mitigate impacts on wild fish and fisheries in Scotland.
- Group discussion on Fishery Management Plan principles
There was a wide-ranging discussion on the principles that should underpin the future fishery management plan process. A paper which outlines the Stakeholder Reference Groups thinking on the functions of fishery management at a local level was circulated. The discussion included the following points:
Future purpose of FMO
- If well-designed and operated FMPs should both influence, and be influenced by, national priorities such as wild fisheries policy and river basin management planning.
- It is important that FMP’s should be simple, useable documents that encompass all freshwater species in Scotland, regardless of whether there is currently a fishery for the species.
Who will be the end users
- There was a substantial discussion about the varied nature of the likely end users for the FMPs, which included Anglers, proprietors, SEPA, SNH, Local Authorities, Industries (hydropower, aquaculture, forestry), and NGOs.
- FMPs should contain contributions from all parties with a role in fisheries management but be authored by the FMO
What should be included in FMP
- It was questioned whether the promotion of fisheries is the role of an FMO or an individual owner. It was agreed that the promotion of the activity of fishing, and the provision of information on the fishing opportunities available within the district were useful functions, but that FMOs should not actively promote individual businesses.
- The FMP should link to other relevant plans at a local and national level. A range of other plans were mentioned which the group should be aware of: RBMP; Biosecurity Plans; Flood Risk Management Plans; and possibly Conservation Management Plans for SACs in future.
ACTION: ALL to consider any other plans that the group should be aware of.
ACTION: TM to circulate a draft template which has been developed by the Forth Fisheries Trust.
- It was discussed whether training should be included in FMP, but this was generally thought to sit outside of the plans.
- Enforcement was noted as a key issue that would need to be reflected in the plans – this would have to ensure that operational activities were not compromised.
- The importance of the FMO role in consultations for local developments etc. was discussed. This role could be briefly set out in the plan and the number of responses made could be reported on annually. It was agreed that a well-designed plan, with a good evidence base would also strengthen consultation responses.
- Non-native species. There was a discussion about how the plans should address this issue. It was noted that it is illegal to release species beyond their natural range, but that there may be a distinction between a species which can breed in the wild, and one that cannot. The distinction between a ‘wild fishery’ and an enclosed stank or pond was also emphasised.
How should fisheries management plans be recorded?
- There was some discussion about designing a template that works for the FMO (it is essentially the workplan for the FMO) but is also accessible and user friendly for the varied end users.
- The format of the template was discussed – there was a general consensus that a web-based approach would be appropriate and that the format could be structured around species or pressures where relevant. It was agreed that group members would look at other examples of existing fishery management plans, in particular those which are multi-catchment based and those which may have a focus on pressures rather than species.
Harmonising the structure of FMPs
- The importance of harmonisation and consistency between plans in different FMAs was discussed and it was agreed that there should be a high degree of read across between plans. Such a common approach, could be delivered in a number of ways, including using a consistent coding/labelling system for headings and subheadings (which could also be common between plans).
Linkages between FMP template and annual reports
- The FMPs would be required to link to an annual review that would illustrate progress against objectives. It was felt that the format of the annual review should also be considered by the group.
Frequency of FMP review
- Five years (consistent with the National Strategy) was felt to be a suitable time for the plan, but it was recognised that the FMP process has to be flexible and reactive to unexpected circumstances.
- Marine Scotland would develop a discussion paper, taking into account the points raised above and some existing fishery management plans. ACTION: IM
- Frequency and format of future discussions
It was agreed to reconvene in 6-8 weeks – a doodle poll would be circulated to seek a suitable date – ACTION: Marine Scotland. The group agreed to copy all group members into all communications.
Attendees and apologies
Iain Malcolm: Marine Scotland (Chair)
Alan Wells: Marine Scotland
Alistair Duguid: SEPA
Colin Bean: SNH
Gemma Jennings: Clyde River Foundation
Ronald Campbell: Tweed Foundation
Simon McKelvey: Cromarty DSFB
Tommy McDermott: River Forth Fisheries Trust
Karen Millidine: Marine Scotland
Nick Main: Marine Scotland (Secretary)