Future of fisheries management in Scotland: national discussion paper

Seeks to start an in-depth nationwide discussion with stakeholders to help inform and develop Scotland’s Future Fisheries Management Strategy.

Annex A: Our National And International Commitments

National Marine Plan

Scotland’s first statutory National Marine Plan (the Plan) was adopted on 25 March 2015 and published on 27 March 2015 and applies to all decisions taken by public authorities that affect Scotland’s marine area. Our vision for the marine environment is for clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas, managed to meet the long terms needs of nature and people. The Plan contributes to delivery of this vision, as well as High Level Marine Objectives (HLMOs) which are adopted by all UK Administrations and published within the Marine Policy Statement.

The adoption of the HLMOs[16] as the strategic objectives for the Plan, reflect the commitment to the five guiding principles of sustainability, around which the HLMOs and policies of the Plan are organised. The Plan specifies a core set of General Policies[17] and objectives which apply to all plan making and decision making in the marine environment. These apply to all existing and future use and development of the marine environment and are listed at

These are supplemented by sector policies which address specific issues beyond those set out in the General Policies.

The following policies are those in the plan that have a direct relevance to fishing activity and the role of the marine developer, planner or decision maker:

  • Fisheries 1: Taking account of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, Habitats Directive, Birds Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive, marine planners and decision makers should aim to ensure:
  • Existing fishing opportunities and activities are safeguarded wherever possible.
  • An ecosystem-based approach to the management of fishing which ensures sustainable and resilient fish stocks and avoids damage to fragile habitats.
  • Protection for vulnerable stocks (in particular for juvenile and spawning stocks through continuation of sea area closures where appropriate).
  • Improved protection of the seabed and historical and archaeological remains requiring protection through effective identification of high-risk areas and management measures to mitigate the impacts of fishing, where appropriate.
  • That other sectors take into account the need to protect fish stocks and sustain healthy fisheries for both economic and conservation reasons.
  • Delivery of Scotland’s international commitments in fisheries, including the ban on discards.
  • Mechanisms for managing conflicts between fishermen and/or between the fishing sector and other users of the marine environment.
  • Fisheries 2: The following key factors should be taken into account when deciding on uses of the marine environment and the potential impact on fishing:
  • The cultural and economic importance of fishing, in particular to vulnerable coastal communities.
  • The potential impact (positive and negative) of marine developments on the sustainability of fish and shellfish stocks and resultant fishing opportunities in any given area.
  • The environmental impact on fishing grounds (such as nursery, spawning areas), commercially fished species, habitats and species more generally.
  • The potential effect of displacement on: fish stocks; the wider environment; use of fuel; socio-economic costs to fishers and their communities and other marine users.
  • Fisheries 3: Where existing fishing opportunities or activity cannot be safeguarded, a Fisheries Management and Mitigation Strategy should be prepared by the proposer of development or use, involving full engagement with local fishing interests (and other interests as appropriate) in the development of the Strategy. All efforts should be made to agree the Strategy with those interests. Those interests should also undertake to engage with the proposer and provide transparent and accurate information and data to help complete the Strategy. The Strategy should be drawn up as part of the discharge of conditions of permissions granted.

    The content of the Strategy should be relevant to the particular circumstances and could include:
  • An assessment of the potential impact of the development or use on the affected fishery or fisheries, both in socio-economic terms and in terms of environmental sustainability.
  • A recognition that the disruption to existing fishing opportunities/activity should be minimised as far as possible.
  • Reasonable measures to mitigate any constraints which the proposed development or use may place on existing or proposed fishing activity.
  • Reasonable measures to mitigate any potential impacts on sustainability of fish stocks (e.g. impacts on spawning grounds or areas of fish or shellfish abundance) and any socioeconomic impacts.

Where it does not prove possible to agree the Strategy with all interests, the reasons for any divergence of views between the parties should be fully explained in the Strategy and dissenting views should be given a platform within the Strategy to make their case.

  • Fisheries 4: Ports and harbours should seek to engage with fishing and other relevant stakeholders at an early stage to discuss any changes in infrastructure that may affect them. Any port or harbour developments should take account of the needs of the dependent fishing fleets with a view to avoiding commercial harm where possible. Where a port or harbour has reached a minimum level of infrastructure required to support a viable fishing fleet, there should be a presumption in favour of maintaining this infrastructure, provided there is an ongoing requirement for it to remain in place and that it continues to be fit for purpose.
  • Fisheries 5: Inshore Fisheries Groups (IFGs) should work with all local stakeholders with an interest to agree joint fisheries management measures. These measures should inform and reflect the objectives of regional marine plans.

    Regional Policy: Regional marine plans should consider:
  • Whether they require to undertake further work on any data gaps in relation to fishing activity within their region.
  • The potential socio-economic impacts for the local fishing industry (and parts of the industry using their area) of any proposed activity or conservation measure.
  • How to include local Inshore Fisheries Groups as a key part of their planning process.
  • The potential consequences and impacts for other marine regions; and for offshore regions of their approach to planning for fisheries.
  • Taking account of on-going local initiatives, such as Clyde 2020, which may be relevant to their work.

Table A.1: International Fisheries Instruments

International Fisheries Instruments

High level aspirations

UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

To provide an overarching international agreement regulating the various uses of the world’s oceans and seas and their resources.

UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFSA)

To ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks through effective implementation of the relevant provisions of the Convention [UNCLOS].

FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF)

To promote long-term conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources by setting out principles and international standards of behaviour for responsible practices.

FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (FAO Compliance Agreement)

To encourage countries to take effective action, consistent with international law, and to deter the reflagging of vessels by their nationals as a means of avoiding compliance with applicable conservation and management rules for fishing activities on the high seas.

FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA)

To prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing through the implementation of robust port State measures.

FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance (FSP)

To prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing or fishing related activities through effective implementation of flag State responsibilities, thereby ensuring long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources / ecosystems.

International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (IPOA-Seabirds)

To reduce the incidental catch of seabirds in longline fisheries where this occurs.

International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks)

To ensure the conservation and management of sharks and their long-term sustainable use.

International Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity (IPOA-Capacity)

Immediate objective is for States and regional fisheries organisations to achieve world-wide preferably by 2003, but not later than 2005, an efficient, equitable and transparent management of fishing capacity.

International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU)

To prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by providing all States with comprehensive, effective and transparent measures by which to act, including through appropriate regional fisheries management organisations established in accordance with international law.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 61/105 (UNGA Resolution 61/105)

To ensure the sustainable management of deep-sea fish stocks and protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) from destructive fishing practices.

FAO International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas (FAO DSF guidelines)

To provide recommendations on governance frameworks and management of deep-sea fisheries with the aim to ensure long-term conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources in the deep sea and to prevent significant adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs).

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 64/72 (UNGA Resolution 64/72)

To reaffirm the UNGA Resolution 61/105 and ensure the long-term sustainability of deep-sea stocks and non-target species through the implementation of measures outlined in the Resolution and FAO guidelines.

FAO International Guidelines on Bycatch Management and Reduction of Discards (FAO By-catch Guidelines)

To assist States and RFMO/As in implementing the Code [CCRF] and an ecosystem approach to fisheries through effective management of bycatch and reduction of discards.

Guidelines to Reduce Sea Turtle Mortality in Fishing Operations (Sea Turtle Guidelines)

To identify and implement appropriate measures to reduce interactions with sea turtles and thereby help to address theissue of sea turtle mortality in fishing operations.

Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS)

To achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for small cetaceans.

Agreement on the Convention of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP)

To achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for albatrosses and petrels.


There is no separate international instrument solely addressing aquaculture.

Co-ordinating Working Party on Fisheries Statistics (CWP)

To provide a mechanism to coordinate the statistical programmes conducted by regional fishery bodies and other intergovernmental organisations with a remit for fishery statistics.

Table A.2: EU Legislation

EU Legislation

High level aspirations

Regulation (EU) 2017/1004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 on the establishment of a Union framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the common fisheries policy (DCF)

To establish a European Community framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the CFP.

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1251 of 12 July 2016 adopting a multiannual Union programme for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors for the period 2017-2019 (EU-MAP)

To co-ordinate and establish a detailed list of data collection requirements of Member States under the DCF Regulation.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy (‘Control Regulation’)

To establish a Community system for control, inspection and enforcement to ensure compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy.

Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets

To set rules for issuing and managing fishing authorisations for external fishing fleets.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU Regulation)

To establish a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Council Regulation (EC) No 734/2008 of 15 July 2008 on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears (VME Regulation

To protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) from the destructive effects of bottom fishing activities in areas where no regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) are in place.

Regulation (EU) 2016/2336 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2016 establishing specific conditions for fishing for deep-sea stocks in the north-east Atlantic and provisions for fishing in international waters of the north-east Atlantic (DSS Regulation)

To ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable management of deep-sea species and habitats.

Council Regulation (EC) No 812/2004 of 26.4.2004 laying down measures concerning incidental catches of cetaceans in fisheries

To mitigate incidental catches of cetaceans by fishing vessels.

Action Plan for Reducing Incidental Catches of Seabirds in Fishing Gears (PoA-Seabirds)

To provide a management framework to minimise, and where possible, eliminate seabird bycatch to as low levels as are practically possible.


Email: ffm@gov.scot

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