National Marine Plan - A Summary of Objectives and Policies

Summary document containing the objectives and policies from the National Marine Plan.

Sea Fisheries

Objectives and policies for this sector should be read subject to those set out in the General Policies and Strategic Objectives. It is recognised that not all of the objectives can necessarily be achieved directly through the marine planning system, but they are considered important context for planning and decision making.

1 Economic Marine Ecosystem

Fish stocks are harvested sustainably (both environmentally and economically) leading to exploitation of Scotland's commercial fish stocks at Maximum Sustainable Yield and with increased long-term stability.

2 Economic Climate Change - Adaptation

A fishing fleet which is seen as an exemplar in global sustainable fishing practices, is confident in securing a long-term income from the available sustainable fishing opportunities across all sectors, and accounts for changes in species distribution and abundance due to climate change.

3 Economic Climate Change - Mitigation

The sea fisheries industry can:

  • Optimise annual quota opportunities across Scotland's fish stocks
  • Optimise the sustainable harvesting of wild fish
  • Optimise the value of its product, both on first landing and through the supply chain
  • Optimise the use of fuel by using fuel-efficient gear and vessels
  • Continue to contribute to food security and provision of a healthy food source
4 Economic Social

Communities where fishing is a viable career option and value is added throughout the supply chain maximising the contribution fisheries makes to Scotland.

5 Economic Social Marine Ecosystem

Management of fisheries on a regional sea-basin ecosystem basis with appropriate stakeholders empowered in the decision making process and, where appropriate, ecosystem-based management of inshore fisheries at local level, on the basis of participative management with interested stakeholders and involving both Marine Planning Partnerships and Inshore Fisheries Groups.

6 Economic Marine Ecosystem Climate Change - Adaptation

Fisheries managed in line with international and national environmental priorities.

7 Economic Social Marine Ecosystem

An evidence-based approach to fisheries management which is underpinned by a responsible use of sound science and is supported by the whole sector.

8 Economic Marine Ecosystem

Tackle discarding through the avoidance of unwanted catches and the implementation of the EU's obligation to land all catches of quota stocks in a way which is workable and sensitive to the impacts on fishing practices both offshore and onshore.

9 Economic Marine Ecosystem

Management of removals rather than landings, where necessary, through fully documented fisheries.

Marine planning policies

Economic Social Climate Change - Adaptation Marine Ecosystem 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.

Economic Social Marine Ecosystem Climate Change - Mitigation 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.

Economic Social 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 socio-economic 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.

Economic Social 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.

Economic Social 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. <applies to inshore waters>

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 ongoing local initiatives, such as Clyde 2020, which may be relevant to their work. <applies to inshore waters>


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