Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM): island communities impact assessment - draft

The draft partial islands communities impact assessment (ICIA) considers the Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) Scottish Statutory Instrument (SSI) in relation to their impacts on people living in the Islands under Section 8 of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018.


Our assessment has not identified any unique islands impacts that are required to be taken into account.

  • Demographic: It is not anticipated that there will be any unique impacts. The regulation is not expected to move fishing activity away from the islands and thus should not impact available work.
  • Economic: The policy change will impact vessels across Scotland in the same way, for example vessels based in Shetland, Fraserburgh and Peterhead. There is not anticipated to be any additional costs for vessels based on the islands, nor are the costs expected to change these vessels' ability to make profit and thus stay in business. A full Business Impact Assessment (BRIA) on this policy has been undertaken and has not revealed any impacts that are unique to island operators.
  • Gaelic: N/A
  • Social: The policy will not have a unique social impact on island communities in terms of deprivation and social exclusion in the islands.

No additional barriers have been identified that are unique to island communities. Some feedback detailed in the consultation responses did raise questions about accessing installers and maintenance facilities for vessels operating from rural coastal locations, which include both island and mainland locations. These two issues are fully addressed in the legislation – time to access repairs and maintenance is equitable across all fleets, should a technical failure occur. On the issue of installation, pelagic vessels are being given a long lead-in time, with scallop dredge boats having already had ample time to prepare for REM. As such, it is our view that rural and island based vessels are not placed at any disadvantage as a result of the introduction of REM.

As we do not believe there are different impacts for island communities, we do not propose any particular mitigations need to be put in place. That said, we do recognise the need to be pragmatic in introducing an REM requirement that is sensible and proportionate and which does not unfairly impact on businesses. Fishing businesses operating in more rural areas, which would include islands, can experience issues in terms of access to services. With this in mind, we have built-in several mitigations to ensure the legislation is applied in a pragmatic way, these are;

  • where a vessel’s system breaks down at sea, if this is a first breakdown the vessel is permitted to continue to fish and fix the breakdown when they return to port.
  • For scallop dredge vessels only, which can operate in more rural locations, where a malfunction occurs in a winch sensor they will be permitted to continue to fish (as long as the camera/s and vessel positioning system of the REM device are functional) for a 28-day period to allow them additional time to get this fixed.

For scallop dredge vessels, which do not tend to have satellite technology onboard and which are reliant on mobile phone or wi-fi signals to transmit data, the data transmission requirements within the SSI are drafted in such a way as to not unfairly penalise this section of the fleet. The data is stored on the REM device until the next available opportunity to transmit it. There have been no issues with data transfer due to connectivity in the voluntary rollout of REM around the Scottish coastline.

Is a full Island Communities Impact Assessment required?

1. Are there mitigations in place for the impacts identified and noted above from stakeholders and community consultations? (If further ICIA action is not required, complete the section below and publish).

No significantly different impacts for islands communities are expected, therefore, no specific mitigations have been put in place to address this.

2. Does the evidence show different circumstances or different expectations or needs, or different experiences or outcomes (such as levels of satisfaction, or different rates of participation)?

No. The evidence suggests that, while 37% of the scallop dredge fleet and 38% of the pelagic fleet are administered from Scottish islands, their expectations regarding mandating of REM are in line with the wider industry and, in particular, with vessels operating from other rural coastal locations in Scotland. The evidence does not point to any unique outcomes for island based vessels resulting from the requirements for REM.

3. Are these different effects likely?


4. Are these effects significantly different?


5. Could the effect amount to a disadvantage for an island community compared to the mainland or between island groups?


A full Islands Community Impact Assessment is not required

In preparing the ICIA, I have formed an opinion that our policy, strategy or service is NOT likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities (including other island communities). The reason for this is detailed below.

Reason for not completing a full Islands Communities Impact Assessment: Our assessment has not identified any unique islands impacts that are required to be taken into account.

Screening ICIA completed by: Jessica Roscoe

Position: Policy Officer, Catching Policy and Future Fisheries Management Team

Signature and date: Jessica Roscoe 05/12/2023

ICIA authorised by: Malcolm Pentland

Position: Deputy Director – Marine Economy and Communities Portfolio

Signature and date: Malcolm Pentland – 05 March 2024



Back to top