- Welcome and Introductions
IM welcomed everyone to the meeting. There were no apologies. The minutes from the previous meeting are now published on the Group’s website.
- Objectives of existing and new management plans
The legislative requirements and objectives of the fishery management planning process were discussed. It was emphasised by the group that what is needed is a document that will apply across the country and to a range of organisations. It should be a clear, focussed document which will allow Scottish Ministers (as part of the approval process) and other stakeholders to understand the proposed work plan, the justification for this, and the evidence base which underpins such decisions. This implies one plan, or one summary plan, per FMA, but it was recognised that in some areas this may need to be underpinned by more detailed catchment-specific plans held within the FMO. Specific comments included:
- There should be a clear linkage between the template and the 4 themes of the National Strategy. This was important to cover the elements of promotion and development and engagement, which do not tend to be covered to any great extent in current plans.
- It was suggested that there should be specific reference to the need for on-going monitoring within the section on management actions. It was recognised that monitoring and data requirements for national purposes would be progressed via the science and data working group, once established and that this would also help to inform local data collection.
- The linkage between fishery management and wider catchment management was emphasised.
- Consideration of a Fishery Management Planning Template discussion document
A discussion document was circulated prior to the meeting and there was extensive discussion of that document. The group were broadly happy that the outline was correct and that there were no major gaps (subject to the comments made above). The following specific points were made:
- It was recognised that in some cases there are significant quantities of information available, and this is important in a local context. However, for the purpose of the template a summary page containing the key information (with hyperlinks or references to additional information for those who are interested in learning more. Specific sections of the template would have a word/page limit.
Management units and environmental characteristics
- A map based/ spatial approach to presenting this information was agreed.
- The need for consistency of approach and justification for the basis of management units was emphasised.
- It was suggested that management units should be reviewed as more information, particularly in relation to species other than salmon, becomes available.
- The group were asked to look at the approach adopted by others in relation to interactive mapping as feedback after the meeting. Specific examples were:
- ACTION – ALL to feedback on possibility of using interactive mapping to display information on data holdings.
Present status of fish and fisheries
- It was felt that this was an important section and would potentially provide the starting point for determining what factors may be limiting production in different parts of the catchment (where current data collected will allow this).
- Again, in some areas, the amount of information available is very large. There will therefore be a need to provide stand-alone summaries with links to more detailed documents. The emphasis here should be on current status, rather than historic studies.
- There was some discussion about interpreting what might be considered as non-native species. Whilst it was felt by some that a degree of top-down instruction might be helpful, it was agreed that conclusions reached on this should be discussed and justified within the plan.
- It is also important to highlight those species which were historically present but now locally extinct as these may form the basis of future restoration work (e.g. Sparling).
Assessment of factors limiting current and future population production and fishery performance
- There was an extensive discussion of the developing approach in the draft conservation plan template arising from the salmon conservation measures, although concerns were expressed about whether it would always be possible to link poor fishery performance with specific pressures. It was agreed that the template offered a useful summary of the pressures and the process of working through the template would be a useful exercise, resulting in a prioritisation of management actions.
- The incorporation of, or linkage to, spatial data would be a particularly helpful development in identifying the magnitude and spatial extent of pressures on fish populations (which may differ from pressures on other species considered under WFD) and would allow the template to work over multiple scales.
- It was noted that consistency will be key. The level of data available will differ between areas, but same process should be followed. It was noted that it is relatively easy to find evidence of impact, but the key challenge is finding a strong linkage to pressures. Guidance of the level of evidence required to establish such links will be required but this will be challenging.
- Such an approach would allow an overarching Scotland summary of pressures to be developed, which would feed into National prioritisation.
- The importance of individuals working in different catchment s to develop an understanding of how such limiting factors are assessed and addressed was identified.
Current and Future Management Actions
- The importance of on-going monitoring was re-emphasised as the basis for establishing the need for management action and the group considered that monitoring was an important management action in itself. This will need to be clearly stated within the template.
- The importance of interacting with other organisations in the area was also emphasised, particularly in relation to other plans such as forestry plans, flood risk plans and Scottish Water Q & S. It was noted that such plans could also usefully be described in the catchment description. ACTION: ALL to consider how these plans might usefully be incorporated in the template and provide details of plans that the FMPt should consider during development.
Data Collection Gaps and Future Research and Monitoring Requirements
- The importance of FMPs providing a linkage for local input into National research priorities was emphasised.
- It was noted that a better evidence base for understanding the effects on fish of restorative actions to the catchment was required.
- It was noted that more use could be made of the information that many bodies collect but don’t necessarily publish – grey literature etc.
- Linkage of early draft template with pilot FMO process
It was noted that it was possible that Marine Scotland would initiate a number of pilot FMOs within the next couple of months. The ambition would be that the pilot FMOs could ground-truth the developing template and provide feedback to the group. The group was asked to consider any specific issues that we should be looking to investigate further via the pilot FMO process – ACTION: ALL
It was agreed that the group would continue to develop the FMP template by correspondence, with a view to meeting again to agree a final first draft.
Attendees and apologies
Iain Malcolm: Marine Scotland (Chair)
Alan Wells: Marine Scotland
Alistair Duguid: SEPA
Colin Bean: SNH
Paul Devlin: Glasgow Angling Centre
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)
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