Independence: what you need to know

Information about Scotland's future.


The Scottish Government’s policies for the marine sector in an independent Scotland at a glance:  

  • re-join the European Union (EU) which would provide Scotland’s marine sector with access to the Single Market and the free movement of people 
  • create stronger local economies and sustain jobs in our coastal and island communities 
  • negotiate for Scotland’s interests in fisheries and other international negotiations without requiring UK Government consent 
  • maximise the energy potential of Scotland’s seas to help support a just transition to clean energy
  • protect Scotland’s marine environment and tackle climate change 

An independent Scotland’s marine sector  

Scotland is a proud maritime nation. Its seas, coasts and islands form an important part of its national identity, cultural heritage and way of life.

Scotland is a proud maritime nation. Scottish vessels account for over 60% of the value and tonnage of all landings by UK fishing vessels.

Scotland’s marine sector includes:

  • the marine, coastal and freshwater environment of Scotland
  • the industries and communities it sustains
  • the laws and science that support and manage it

Scotland’s marine industries provide significant economic social and environmental benefits for Scotland. They:

  • contribute significantly to our economy, with Scottish farmed salmon being the UK’s biggest single food exports
  • generate billions of pounds every year
  • create and sustain jobs and businesses in coastal and island communities

Scotland's seas and coasts

  • bring benefits to people’s health and wellbeing
  • provide high quality seafood produce for markets at home and abroad
  • support a diverse range of businesses, jobs and leisure activities

Scotland’s marine environment has vast sustainable development potential. This Scottish Government believes the Scottish Parliament and Government require control over all the powers and tools they need to give the marine sector the support it needs and the prioritisation it deserves.

An independent Scotland would be able to:

  • make decisions and choices about the future of our marine sector
  • manage Scotland’s marine resources, including fisheries, sustainably to support economic growth in rural, island and coastal communities
  • protect Scotland’s marine resources to help tackle climate change and biodiversity loss and make sure the marine ecosystems stay healthy

Read more detail in the marine paper. 

European Union membership

Following a vote for independence, Scotland would apply to re-join the European Union (EU) as soon as possible. As an independent member of the EU Scotland would: 

  • be part of the Single Market and have unrestricted access to the one of the world’s largest market for seafood products 
  • help to ensure coastal and island communities thrive by having full powers to attract people to Scotland to live, work, study, raise their families and build their lives
  • have access to a larger labour market with no restrictions on employing EU citizens to work in Scotland 
  • benefit from the EU’s role in setting, monitoring and enforcing common environmental standards   
  • have access to EU funding programmes and more opportunities for collaboration on marine science 
  • negotiate for Scotland’s interests in international marine forums, especially for fishing and our coastal communities, without reliance on the UK Government  
  • have the ability to influence and vote on future EU legislation
  • play a constructive role in supporting the advancement of the Common Fisheries policy and other parts of EU law.

More information is available in the:

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