Six pilot IFGs were established as a result of the Strategic Framework For Inshore Fisheries 2005 1 . This framework identified a need for more localised management of inshore fisheries around the Scottish coast and a system that would place fishermen at the heart of the decision making process.
Each pilot IFG was tasked with engaging with commercial fishermen operating within their IFG area and developing local management proposals. An Executive Committee comprising catching sector representatives, an independent Chairman and a Co-ordinator developed these Management Plans, assisted by an Advisory Group of stakeholders including Government Agencies and other organisations with an interest in the marine environment.
Once completed, these Management Plans were submitted to the Scottish Inshore Fisheries Advisory Group and successor body the Fisheries Management and Conservation Group for approval, as outlined in the Strategic Framework. The Plans have now been approved and generally cover the following areas of activity:
- Activities to support the opening of new and/or closed fisheries, including the collection of baseline information
- Improved data collection and management information
- Fisheries management measures, e.g. creel controls, limiting access, increasing minimum landing sizes, reducing discards/bycatch
- Conflict resolution mechanisms, e.g. codes of conduct
- Economic activities, e.g. marketing, labelling, sustainable fisheries accreditation, measures to support fisheries diversification
For additional information on IFGs and to view the Management Plans developed by the pilot IFGs, please go to: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/Sea-Fisheries/InshoreFisheries/IFGsMap
High Level Objectives
The Strategic Framework set out a list of High Level Objectives which management proposals should reflect. These were:
- BIOLOGICAL: to conserve, enhance and restore commercial stocks in the inshore and its supporting ecosystem.
- ECONOMIC: to optimise long-term and sustained economic return to communities dependent on inshore fisheries, and to promote quality initiatives.
- ENVIRONMENTAL: to maintain and restore the quality of the inshore marine environment for fisheries and for wildlife.
- SOCIAL: to recognise historical fishing practices and traditional ways of life in managing inshore fisheries, to manage change, and to interact proactively with other activities in the marine environment.
- GOVERNANCE: to develop and implement a transparent, accountable and flexible management structure that places fishermen at the centre of the decision-making process, and that is underpinned by adequate information, legislation and enforcement.
Background of SEA
The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires that certain public plans, programmes and strategies ( PPS) be assessed for their potential effects on the environment. The IFG management proposals fall under Section 5(4) of the Act.
As part of the SEA process, the Management Plans were assessed to determine whether the proposals contained had the potential for environmental impact - whether that be a positive or negative impact. Many initiatives, such as development of marketing brands for local fish products, were seen to have no or little environmental impact and were 'screened out' of the process; these initiatives are not the focus of this document or the accompanying environmental assessment.
The SEA process has focussed on those initiatives in Management Plans with the potential for environmental impact and these proposals are explored in more detail in the accompanying Environmental Assessment.
Development of Management Plans
As detailed above, IFGs developed Management Plans for their areas in which they proposed management initiatives they believed could be of benefit to their areas.
These initiatives are largely at an early stage of development and not yet ready to be implemented.
For many of these proposals a lot more work needs to be undertaken to establish their feasibility/desirability before they can be put in place. However, a key aim of the SEA process is to factor in environmental considerations at an early stage of policy development. Therefore, before these proposals are substantially developed we want to invite comments on the proposals listed below which are explored in depth in the accompanying Environmental Report.
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