Sandeel fishing: consultation

We are consulting on proposals to close fishing for sandeel in all Scottish waters. This paper explains the background of the consultation, options considered, and outlining the questions for respondents.

Consultation on proposals to close fishing for sandeel in all Scottish waters.

Dear Sir/Madam

Given the importance of sandeel to the wider ecosystem and the subsequent benefit in aiding long-term sustainability and resilience of the marine environment, it remains an overarching Scottish Government position, which is reflected in Scotland's Fisheries Management Strategy, not to support fishing for sandeel in our waters. For this reason, the UK, supported by the Scottish Government, has not allocated sandeel quota since 2021.

There are several measures in place for the protection of sandeel stocks, through the network of Marine Protected Areas. Furthermore, a closure in sandeel management area 4 has been in place since 2000, for the purpose of avoiding bycatch of cod and haddock in the area, and to avoid negative impacts on the food supply for seabirds. The Scottish Government has responsibility for the part of the closed area which lies in Scottish waters.

Following the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands in May, the Scottish Government now wishes to consult on proposals to close fishing for sandeel in all Scottish waters to further ensure the sustainability of the sandeel stock, as well as providing wider ecosystem benefits. This letter seeks your views on this proposal.

All respondents should be aware of the guidance in Annex A, including on how we will handle your response and, complete the Respondent Information Form (RIF) in Annex B.

Supporting this consultation are a range of documents that should be considered alongside the consultation paper. These documents can be found on our consultation hub Citizen Space, or on the Scottish Government website as follows:

The deadline for responses is 13 October 2023

We look forward to hearing your views.

Marine Directorate



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