Promoting Best Practice for Inshore Fisheries: A consultation on measures for hobby/unlicensed fishermen in Scottish inshore waters

The Inshore Fisheries Management and Conservation Group (IFMAC) established a short-life working group to discuss the issue of hobby/unlicensed fishermen and report back with possible actions to reduce the incidence of unlicensed fishing. This publication

Section 2: Background on the Consultation Process

The purpose of this consultation document is to seek the views of those who actively fish in Scottish inshore waters whether as commercial or hobby fishermen, and stakeholders with a wider interest in the marine environment. Responses to this consultation will be used to inform policy development in this area.

The consultation will last for 12 weeks and responses are invited by 24 April 2015.

The views and suggestions received in consultation responses will be analysed and presented to the Inshore Fisheries Management and Conservation Group ( IFMAC) the national co-management body for discussion and endorsement of next steps.

Please send your returns or address any queries to:


Michael Cutts
Inshore Fisheries Management and Coastal Communities
Scottish Government
Area 1B South
Victoria Quay

If you have any queries please contact the Inshore Fisheries Management and Communities Branch on 0131 244 4756

The Scottish Government may make the responses to this consultation paper available to the public and to the Scottish Parliament. We will acknowledge responses. If you respond to this consultation you are requested to complete the enclosed responded information form attached at Annex I. This will ensure that we handle your responses appropriately.

A consultation report will be published by the Scottish Government.

Background on the Consultation Process

What is the aim of this consultation?

2.1 This consultation is about how the Scottish Government can address the issue of unlicensed fishermen selling their catch for profit. There is no desire to prevent hobby fishermen from catching small amounts for personal consumption.

2.2 The aim of this consultation is to build upon the report produced by the short-life working group on hobby/unlicensed fishermen which was presented to IFMAC on 29 September 2014, a copy of which can be found on the Marine Scotland website:

2.3 The Report made a number of recommendations, some that could be categorised as educational in nature and others that would require a legislative solution. It is these legislative solutions that are the subject of this consultation together with the opportunity for interested parties to propose relevant solutions.

2.4 Proposals for the implementation of possible measures are discussed.

Scottish Government Considerations

2.5 The Scottish Government supports the public right to fish for personal consumption. However, this public right should not be used as a smokescreen by unlicensed commercial fishermen to evade licensing and other requirements that the majority of law abiding commercial fishermen comply with.

2.6 The key issue for the Scottish Government is to ensure proportionality of response to protect the interests of licensed and genuine hobby fishermen while not imposing unnecessarily restrictive practices on the whole fleet or sector. Scottish Government's principal aim is to identify a balanced and effective policy on reducing the impact of unlicensed commercial fishermen and is acutely aware of the significant impact that unlicensed commercial fishermen can have on others. In consequence it is important that those individuals fishing commercially without a license are subject to enforcement action.

2.7 With any change in policy the Scottish Government will need to take account of the cost of implementing and enforcing any new proposals.


Back to top