Management Proposals of Inshore Fisheries Groups

Consultation on the initiatives developed by Inshore Fisheries Groups with the potential for environmental impact.

3.0 Assessment Methodology

3.1 Scope of the IFG Management Proposals to be Assessed

3.1.1 The measures contained in the IFG management proposals were reviewed to ascertain whether they would be likely to give rise to significant environmental effects. The results are set out in Tables 2, 3a and 3b.

3.1.2 Table 2 identifies measures that have been screened out of the assessment, because they are considered to be the kinds of strategic action that would result in no or minimal environmental effects. In general these comprise operational procedures ( e.g. catch reporting, gear marking); economic activities ( e.g. marketing, labelling, sustainable fisheries accreditation, measures to support economic diversification); funding and/or training activities; and engagement activities, including codes of conduct and conflict resolution mechanisms.

3.1.3 The SEA has therefore focused on the potential environmental effects of the measures summarised in Tables 3a and 3b. Table 3a summarises actions proposed by more than one IFG for managing catch size, including increasing minimum landing size and permits/access limits for Nephrops fisheries, amongst others. Table 3b summarises other measures, which include data gathering and/or scientific surveys to inform the potential establishment of new or re-opened fisheries, as well as measures to manage gear type, amongst others.

3.1.4 The Consultation Authorities were consulted on the proposed scope of the proposals to be assessed and, as a result of this consultation, fisheries accreditation measures have been included in the assessment (Table 3a).

3.2 Scope of the Environmental Topics to be Assessed

3.2.1 The potential environmental effects of the proposed measures were reviewed during the scoping exercise and are identified in Figure 2. The results were reviewed against the environmental topics set out in Schedule 3 of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. Table 5 sets out the resulting scope of the environmental topics that have been addressed in the SEA.

3.2.2 The Consultation Authorities were consulted on the proposed scope of the environmental topics to be assessed, and agreed that the topics of soil and water could be considered as part of the assessment of "biodiversity". Air, material assets and landscape were scoped out as it was considered unlikely that the proposed measures would give rise to additional emissions, development or activities that would result in a significant effect on these environmental parameters.

Figure 2. Potential effects of the proposed measures in the Management Plans

Figure 2. Potential effects of the proposed measures in the Management Plans

Table 5. Scope of environmental issues

SEA Topic

Scope: in/out

Reasons for inclusion / exclusion

Biodiversity, flora and fauna


Management proposals could have positive and negative effects on biodiversity. For example, measures to increase minimum landing size may have positive effects on fish populations, while the opening of new fisheries has the potential to have negative effects.

Population and human health


We do not anticipate that measures will have significant effects on population and human health. It was agreed by the Consultation Authorities that this topic could be scoped out.


Included in biodiversity

It was agreed by the Consultation Authorities that effects on ecological status 7 /potential be considered under "biodiversity". Pollution is also included under "biodiversity". Other effects on the physical and/or chemical aspects of water quality are not anticipated.


Included in biodiversity

Potential morphological and/or physiological changes to seabed strata and/or bottom sediments could affect ecological status/potential. It was agreed by the Consultation Authorities that these be considered under "biodiversity".



Local air quality issues were discussed and it was agreed that these would mainly arise from fishing vessels, particularly in port areas. It was agreed that the proposed measures are unlikely to have significant effects on local air quality, e.g. fuel efficiency measures, and that air quality could be scoped out.

Climatic factors


Fuel efficiency measures could reduce GHG emissions, which would result in significant positive effects.

Material assets


Fish stocks could be considered to be a material asset, but it was agreed by the Consultation Authorities that this issue will be considered under "biodiversity". At this stage the measures do not include a requirement for supporting infrastructure and it was agreed therefore that this topic be scoped out.

Cultural heritage


Fishing methods may affect underwater archaeology in new and/or re-opened fisheries. Disruption of bottom sediments may also have a negative effect.



It was agreed by the Consultation Authorities that the proposals are unlikely to have significant effects on landscape, and that this topic could be scoped out.

3.3 Environmental Protection Objectives

3.3.1 The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires that the SEA should identify the environmental protection objectives (established at international, European, UK or Scottish level) relevant to the IFG management proposals. Environmental legislation and policy has been reviewed and a summary as well as details of the environmental protection objectives are provided in Appendix 1. The principles underlying these environmental protection objectives have been incorporated into the SEA objectives (Table 6).

3.4 Methods

3.4.1 Given the nature of the proposals, this SEA has been undertaken as a high-level assessment. Where appropriate, spatial information has been used.

3.4.2 The proposed measures have been assessed against the SEA objectives set out in Table 5. The results are set out in Chapter 6.

Table 6. SEA objectives

SEA Topics

SEA Objective

Biodiversity, flora and fauna 8

  • To safeguard marine and coastal ecosystems, including species and habitats, and their interactions
  • To avoid pollution of the coastal and marine environment
  • To maintain or work towards good ecological/environmental status
  • To maintain integrity of sediment and coastal processes
  • To maintain and protect the character and integrity of the seabed

Climatic factors

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from marine activities

Cultural heritage

  • To protect and, where appropriate, enhance the historic marine environment
  • To avoid damaging coastal and marine archaeology

No SEA objectives are provided for the following topics, as they have been scoped out of the assessment:

  • population and human health
  • chemical and physical water quality
  • air
  • landscape
  • material assets

3.5 Reasonable Alternatives

3.5.1 The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires that reasonable alternatives be assessed. At the scoping stage we envisaged that all the proposed management measures comprised all the reasonable alternatives identified through the IFG management plan preparation process, which involved considerable consultation 9 . This was agreed by the Consultation Authorities.

3.5.2 We also noted, in the scoping report, that should other reasonable alternatives be identified in the course of the assessment (including for mitigation purposes), these would be included. No additional alternatives have been identified in the course of this assessment.


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