Publication - Corporate report

Future fisheries management: policy intent paper

Our response to the future fisheries management discussion paper and the stakeholder responses which were received as part of that discussion.

Future fisheries management: policy intent paper
3. Science-based approach to management

3. Science-based approach to management

Industry / science interaction and building the evidence base

On the contribution that science can make to fisheries management in Scotland, there was clear support for a science-based approach but also acknowledgement that there is room for some improvement particularly around the availability of data for certain stocks. There was agreement that work programmes such as SIFIDS were a positive move and had potential to help improve the inshore evidence base. There was a willingness from industry to consider ways they can better contribute to scientific data collection, including positive feedback on the idea of an industry-science levy.

Going forward we will continue to improve interactions between our scientists and stakeholders, building on existing cross-industry briefings and our regular dialogue with industry scientists. We will learn from the SIFIDS[1] programme, and consider plugging data and knowledge gaps in inshore advice, and other high priority areas (for example, our joint work on North Sea cod distribution). At this point we do not intend to consult on industry paying for scientific support, although this may be something we wish to develop more formally in the future building on the financial support for North Sea cod work currently being trialled.

Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY)

The issue of MSY targets is clearly contentious for stakeholders, with different views particularly around the issue of targets. There is a genuine complexity in delivering against fixed MSY targets in mixed fisheries where stocks are subject to individually fluctuating scientific advice.

We strongly support the principle of managing towards MSY, but remain of the view that there are challenges in delivering against specific targets in mixed fisheries. Marine Scotland Scientists are currently engaging in a cross-UK project to consider options for delivering MSY and how to best measure stock sustainability in the future. We will engage stakeholders in this process, particularly around alternative approaches to setting objectives, in due course.