1. This report provides an analysis of responses to the consultation on 'Scotland's Future Catching Policy'. The consultation ran from15th March 2022 to 7th June 2022.
2. The consultation received 245 responses in total. This included one duplicate response. After this response was removed, the analysis was based on 244 responses. Organisational responses included fishing organisations, conservation organisations, public sector and third sector organisations.
3. The purpose of this public consultation was to seek views on a Future Catching Policy which is intended to take a co-management approach to reducing unwanted catch of fish and other marine species, tackle the challenges associated with discarding under the current landing obligation by introducing a suite of measures tailored to consider the varied fleet and geographical differences, and to provide a means to further enhance our management of fishing activities as set out in the Fisheries Management Strategy.
4. The consultation contained 24 questions – 20 closed, 2 open and 2 multiple choice with space to provide further comments. The questions covered the following topics:
- The principles of the landing obligation
- Pots and creels
- Gillnets and longlines
- Additional selectivity for directed fisheries
- Discard exemptions
- Additional comments
- Business Regulatory Impact Assessment
5. The questions throughout the consultation covered a wide variety of topics as set out above. This consultation report considers each question in turn providing quantitative analysis of closed questions and analysis of open responses throughout including extracts from responses to the consultation.
6. During the public consultation period for the FCP the Scottish Government was also running a separate but related consultation on proposals relating to Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM). Within both consultations, the clear links between the two policies were identified by some respondents. For example, by requesting that additional monitoring of bycatch be undertaken using REM to inform action under the Future Catching Policy. The Scottish Government will need to consider the results of both consultations to inform the development of these policies in a complementary way.
7. A group of responses called for the inclusion of spatial measures to limit or ban bottom-trawling and dredging in Scotland's inshore waters. These groups of responses often tended to make this point throughout the consultation using similar language and identifiable shared sentiment.
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