Fisheries management strategy 2020 to 2030: delivery plan

The delivery plan supports the delivery of outcomes and policies set out in Scotland’s Future Fisheries Strategy and will help stakeholders understand the progress so far in delivering key aspects of the strategy so far, indicating timelines for delivery of actions over the next 10 years.

FFM Strategy 12 Point Action Plan (delivery and progress)

Action 1

We will promote fishing as an attractive and safe career of choice, with a focus on improving safety standards, fair work, supporting new entrants into the sector, and equal treatment regardless of national origin or gender

Ongoing & in progress


We continue to support the Scottish Fishing Safety Group (SFSG) and in the financial year 2021/22 worked with partners to support a range of improvements through Marine Fund Scotland. This included funding to provide 100 new onboard defibrillators and a range of life-saving training opportunities. £140,000 has been awarded for industry body Seafish to deliver free safety training for fishing vessel crews. This has been match funded by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to realise total funding of £280,000 through to March 2022. A further £300,000 grant funding from Marine Fund Scotland has been awarded to Seafish for safety training in 2022/23.

For more info: Scottish Government news article - Funding for fishing sector training and equipment - (

Breaking down barriers

We have supported 30 young fishers to enter the fishing sector through the award of £2.1m under the Marine Fund Scotland.

In addition, Scottish Government funded research is ongoing into the barriers faced by new entrants and women in the fishing industry.

The Women in Scottish Fisheries Report was completed as part of a collaborative PhD internship between Marine Scotland and the University of Glasgow. The project consisted of a review of research literature, case studies and examples of good practice from Scotland and beyond, alongside existing government strategies. The main aim was to improve the evidence to support the delivery of the FFM Strategy outcome to promote equality, fairness and sustainability in the marine sectors.

Fair work

We committed previously to ensuring that the Scottish Government will continue to influence UKG on workers’ rights, and will continue to influence industry by considering fair work practices in their businesses and ensuring this stays on UKG Ministerial radar.

Longer term working

We will continue to work in partnership with the Scottish fishing industry through the Scottish Fishing Safety Group (SFSG), identifying and supporting the delivery of actions to support safety and career development training.

We will continue to identify opportunities to support young fishers to purchase their first vessel or a share in an existing one, and develop a career in the fishing sector in order to support ongoing resilience.

We will engage with stakeholders to consider our research findings into the barriers facing key groups in the sector, and will consider what practical actions we can put into practice to help break down barriers to entry and progression within the industry.

Action 2

We will secure the resilience of the fishing industry, working with stakeholders to strengthen links to local and global markets, supporting diversification and exploring new fishing opportunities

Ongoing & in progress


In response to COVID-19, we secured the sector’s immediate resilience through three rounds of hardship funding throughout 2020 and in 2021, to support the Scottish fishing industry and its communities, providing emergency hardship support to businesses operating fishing vessels 12m and under in length and over 12m who experienced market failure due to the pandemic. This was worth £8.47 million in total. In addition, the launch of Marine Fund Scotland has paid out more than £12 million to marine organisations and businesses working across the seafood sector.

We established the Scottish Nephrops Working Group (“the Group”) in Autumn 2020 to help the sector respond to the challenges arising from EU Exit and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Group published the Scottish Nephrops Working Group recommendations report in September 2021 and we published the Scottish Nephrops Working Group Report: Scottish Government response in November 2021. We awarded £799,855 under the Marine Fund Scotland in 2021-22 to support the delivery of many of the recommendations in the report across the four priority workstreams: Recovering Markets, Developing New Markets, Improving Product Quality and Improving Data Management. The steering group for the project is drawn from businesses throughout the Nephrops sector, as well as Scottish Government, which is enabling collaboration and development of innovative actions right across the supply chain. We further supported the sector to help respond to the barriers and increased costs of trading with the EU after the disastrous impact of Brexit, as part of Scotland’s approach to the allocation of additional quota.

New Opportunities and diversification

We continue a scientific trial of electro-fishery for razor clams (until end January 2024), to establish the environmental impact of the fishery. A small number of vessels are permitted to prosecute the fishery as part of the trial.

We have continued to support opportunities to diversify inshore fisheries where possible, and, as part of our move towards a just transition, to provide additional fishing quota opportunities to inshore vessels to support diversification, for example to lower impact catching methods.

Local and global markets

We want to make sure that our fisheries are accountable and deliver confidence for consumers that our seafood products are sustainable and that we are using responsible fishing methods. Many of our actions are linked to this, particularly those around the Future Catching Policy and Remote Electronic Monitoring, alongside our approach to international negotiations and the setting of quota levels. This will help to build confidence in the Scottish brand, and support domestic and international marketing.

We and our enterprise agencies are working with seafood exporters as they recover and rebuild their exports in Europe and other key markets. We committed support of £5m in 2020/21 and £5m in 2021/22 to the joint industry and Scottish Government recovery plan to help the farming, fishing, food and drink sector recover from Brexit and COVID-19. It has a number of actions to stimulate demand in important markets and help producers meet that demand and many of these will benefit the seafood sector.

We further committed £1.8 Million to support Seafood Scotland in 2021-22, and much of their work has been to identify and deliver access to new markets.

We will continue to work with the sector to deal with the technical challenges arising from EU Exit, including through the work of the Scottish Seafood Industry Action Group and the Seafood Scotland chaired Policy Issues, Sector Cooperation, Engagement (and) Support (PISCES) working group.

Longer term working

Strengthening links to local and global markets

We will publish a strategy for seafood in 2022 with actions to revitalise the sector consistent with a sustainable and natural capital approach, to ensure remote and rural communities benefit from activity to support growth– and which sits within the Blue Economy Vision for Scotland launched in March 2022.

Diversification and new fishing opportunities

As we work towards a fishing sector that is sustainable and helps deliver our nature restoration and net zero objectives we recognise the need to work in partnership with stakeholders to deliver a just transition – further work will take place on this with our co-management group FMAC. As part of work on delivering a just transition where possible we will explore diversification opportunities for the fleet working our inshore and offshore waters.

In the longer term, our intention is to review pelagic capacity limits and consider options for distant water and other opportunities.

Action 3

We will increase the benefit from fishing to local areas through our policies around allocation of additional quota, ensuring quota is in the hands of active fishers, and increasing the volume of fish landed into Scotland including through the introduction of a Scottish economic link licence condition

Ongoing & in progress

Additional quota

For 2021, we agreed with other UK Fisheries Administrations to apportion and allocate quota based on a mix of historic track record and zonal attachment. This helped ensure additional quota was directed at the active fishing fleet.

Allocation of Scottish Additional Quota

We consulted and allocated Scotland’s share of additional quota following the outcome of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). We have worked with the UK Government (and other Administrations) on a UK wide consultation.

Economic Link

New economic link licence conditions will be introduced from Jan 2023.

Longer term working

Additional quota

We will consider new options for the allocation of Scotland’s share of additional quota.

Action 4

We will support delivery of a strong relationship between the fishing industry and local communities, with strengthened links to local supply chains, support for consumers to buy local / Scottish and recognising the importance of inward migration for remote and coastal communities

Ongoing & in progress

Seafood strategy

In our 21/22 Programme for Government, we committed to publishing a strategy for seafood with actions to revitalise the sector consistent with a sustainable and natural capital approach, to ensure remote and rural communities benefit from activity to support growth.

Alongside our strategy for seafood, as part of our 21/22 Programme for Government, we are undertaking scoping work into a single marketing brand for all Scottish food and drink produce – Sustainably Scottish. The development of this branding, and our local food strategy consultation, will underpin the marketing of our high quality sustainable Scottish seafood. The Scottish Government is currently reviewing the wider delivery landscape for support for businesses across all food and drink sectors, identifying opportunities to align our ambitions for growth with the wider policy environment and to offer businesses access to a simple and effective support landscape that maximises the positive impact of public funding.

We are working with a range of sectors to support future workforce planning. We have committed to developing a Talent Attraction programme and Migration Service to attract workers with the skills that Scotland needs. We are delivering on the Good Food Nation ambition[4] with the enactment of the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022[5] which requires that each relevant authority must publish a good food nation plan.

Action 5 - We will address issues around the shared marine space linking with wider developments through our actions on the Blue Economy, considering how fishing interests can work alongside others marine users including offshore renewables

Ongoing & in progress

Blue Economy Vision

In our 21/22 Programme for Government, we committed to develop a Blue Economy Strategy and subsequent delivery plan. Our approach recognises the importance of Scotland’s marine space and marine sectors as national assets that are critical in meeting our climate, biodiversity, and societal ambitions and for the recovery from Brexit and COVID-19. The Blue Economy Vision was published on 31 March 2022 and sets out long term outcomes for the marine environment up to 2045. The National Marine Plan, regional marine planning and the FFM Strategy are key delivery mechanisms for our Blue Economy outcomes, and will allow us to achieve our ambition for sustainable stewardship of Scotland’s Blue Resources, consistent with our international commitments for the marine environment.

National Marine Plan

In 2021, we fulfilled our statutory requirement to review Scotland’s National Marine Plan. This review pointed to the need to update the Plan and an announcement on that process and timeline will be made by Scottish Ministers in 2022. Any programme of work undertaken as a result of this review would include a review of the policies in the current plan, as well as sustained and proactive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders on the sustainable management of the multiple uses of Scotland’s seas.

Longer term working

Blue Economy Vision

As we develop our Blue Economy outcomes we will be working closely with key stakeholders and our international neighbours to deliver on joint ambitions for our shared marine space.

National Marine Plan

Effectively managing how we use the marine space is critical to our transition to net zero, our biodiversity commitments and maximising blue economy opportunities. The shared marine space has become increasingly valuable and contested, especially as net zero industries emerge and as we strive to restore the rich biodiversity of Scotland’s seas. We recognise the need for a clear policy framework that reflects our new shared priorities and commitments and helps guide decision-making in cases where there may be conflict between different interests.

Action 6

We will strengthen our co-management processes and support transparent and responsive management to a local level wherever possible, in particular by strengthening the RIFG network. As part of this, we will always consider local community impact as part of our decision making process

Ongoing & in progress


We continue to support our Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups (RIFGs), which are designed to give fishers a voice in inshore fisheries management and wider marine matters, helping to deliver our vision for local management that is strong, resilient and capable of evidence based decision making. Furthermore our Inshore Fisheries Pilots have set a positive example of stakeholder-driven fisheries management.

We already have a well-developed network of fisheries stakeholders in place in Scotland, meaning that we can often deliver our policies using a co-management approach that takes account of different interests, and which draws from expertise in the fishing industry, academic arena and environmental sphere. We will continue to build on this approach as we deliver the FFM Strategy.

We know fishing plays an important role in the life of many of Scotland’s rural and coastal communities, supporting local identify, providing jobs both offshore and as part of the onshore supply chain. As we progress with our plan and policies, we will seek to ensure that local communities have a voice to help inform our development and delivery, for example through engagement around consultations.

Consultation processes

The Scottish Government has a well-established consultation process which enables us to engage with stakeholders in the development of policies. As part of the consultation process, we develop appropriate impact assessments, which help us and our stakeholders to understand the implications of our policy proposals and to make a reasonable assessment of where potential impacts needs to be managed. This is embedded within our policy making process and will be a key feature of our policy development under the FFM Strategy.

Longer term working


We will undertake a review of our co-management groups in partnership with FMAC during 2022. Part of this will include how we can strengthen and streamline our processes, particularly around communication.

In the longer term we will review the status of our RIFGs and consider additional improvements.

Action 7

We will deliver a robust licensing regime to manage domestic and foreign vessels fishing in Scottish waters and will improve quota management arrangements for the non-sector fleet which are not administered by a Fish Producer Organisation or a Quota Management Group

Ongoing & in progress


We continue to deliver our statutory licensing function.

New management measures for inshore fishing vessels

The Bute House Agreement includes three proposals to help improve inshore fisheries management and enhance our capability in marine monitoring, building on the actions in the FFM Strategy.

We will publish a consultation during 2022 to seek views on these specific measures:

I. Applying a cap to fishing activity in inshore waters (up to 3 nautical miles) that will limit activity to current levels and set a ceiling from which activities that disrupt the seabed can be reduced in the light of evidence as it becomes available;

II. Reviewing and revising the management of unused ‘latent’ scallop fishing entitlements; and,

III. Extending the requirement for vessel tracking and monitoring systems across the whole commercial fishing fleet.

Longer term working


We will continue to deliver our statutory licensing function.

Non-sector management

We intend to review the management arrangements for non-sector vessels in 2023/24.

Action 8

We will strengthen our quota management processes supported by the right management groups and delivery mechanisms, and through expanding the use of TACs where appropriate

Ongoing & in progress

Strengthen our quota management processes

We established a trial of Quota Management Groups (QMGs).

Longer term working

Strengthen our quota management processes

We will undertake a review of Producer Organisations (POs) and QMGs in 2023/24.

Expanding the use of TACs

We will consider expanding the use of quota for non-quota species in 2023/24.

Action 9

We will improve accountability and confidence in our seafood products and fishing operations, supported by a robust compliance regime, making full use of existing tools and new available technology, including REM and vessel tracking solutions, to deliver compliance and improve our knowledge base, ensuring that our decisions are grounded in the best available scientific advice and that we fish within sustainable limits

Ongoing & in progress

Modernisation of the Inshore Fleet Programme

Voluntary installations of REM on active scallop dredge vessels continues to be progressed. Over 90% of active over 10 metre Scottish registered vessels now carry REM.

Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM)

A consultation on REM took place from 15 March to 7 June 2022, seeking views on aspects of pelagic and scallop policy, along with views on potential further rollout to other sections of the fleet.

Legislation on mandatory REM for the pelagic and scallop sectors will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in early 2023 (subject to available Parliamentary time).

Longer term working

Vessel Monitoring Systems

We will consider the potential to increase fisheries spatial data by adjusting the rate of reporting via Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS).


Following the initial REM consultation, we will work with stakeholders to consider further deployment of REM to additional sectors as required.

Inshore Modernisation Programme

As part of our Modernisation of the Inshore Fleet Programme, the Scottish Government has committed to enhancing monitoring of fishing activities in inshore waters by rolling out appropriate and proportionate on-board fishing vessel technology. See ‘Bute House Agreement’ above.

Fisheries Management Plans

The UK Administrations set out in the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) their intent to jointly publish UK FMPs.. The Scottish Government will lead the preparation of these FMPs, collaborating throughout the process with the Northern Ireland Executive, UK Government and the Welsh Government. Each FMP will set out policies and measures to help manage fishing activity to restore and/or maintain fish stocks at sustainable levels. Once prepared, all FMPs will be put to public consultation, after which the UK Administrations will aim to publish the plans as soon as possible.

Action 10

We will deliver a robust Catching Policy, in partnership with our stakeholders, which links stock management with responsive and proportionate technical and spatial measures, which delivers a reduction in waste and which encourages compliance through appropriate enforcement actions, including the application of penalties where appropriate

Ongoing & in progress

We consulted on proposals for a Future Catching Policy from 15 March to 7 June 2022. The Future Catching Policy is intended to take a co-management approach to reducing unwanted catch, tackle the challenges associated with discarding under the current landing obligation by introducing a suite of measures tailored to consider the varied fleet and geographical differences, and provide a means to further enhance our management of fishing activities as set out in our FFM Strategy. Following the consultation we will work with stakeholders to further develop specific proposals under the policy.

Longer term working

We will undertake a review of penalties in the longer term, however this is not an immediate priority.

We want to consider incentive –based options for best practice however, this is a longer term priority.

Action 11

We will work with our stakeholders to deliver an ecosystem-based approach to management, including considering additional protections for spawning and juvenile congregation areas and restricting fishing activity or prohibiting fishing for species which are integral components of the marine food web, such as sandeels

Ongoing & in progress


We have a long held policy position in Scotland, which is also the overarching UK position, to not support fishing for sandeel and Norway pout in UK waters. This is linked to wider environmental and eco-system considerations.

Sandeel is a bilaterally managed stock with the EU, therefore for 2022 catch limits have been agreed which are in line with the ICES advice for all sandeel management areas. However, this does not prejudice our overarching position on this stock. For this reason, the UK did not allocate sandeel quota in 2021 or in 2022.

There are a number of measures already in place for the protection of sandeel stocks in the North Sea. In addition Scottish Government officials worked closely with our UK counterparts on a call for evidence to gather further evidence to better inform our considerations on future management for sandeel and Norway pout. The summary report of the responses was published on 18 March 2022.

In parallel, the Scottish Government are in the process of exploring what additional measures could be introduced in Scottish waters, to manage the North Sea sandeel fisheries in the most sustainable way possible, as soon as possible. If required, we intend to hold a public consultation before the introduction of any new management measures.

Essential fish habitats

Under the Scottish Marine Energy Research Programme (ScotMER), Marine Scotland has commissioned a project to develop essential fish habitat maps for key species. This project will use up to date information and modelling techniques to model essential fish habitat. This will help us to consider these habitats through the course of marine planning, licensing and management.

Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs)

The Bute House Agreement includes a commitment to designate 10% of our seas as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) by 2026. These will support ecosystem recovery and biodiversity enhancement, including protection of critical fish habitats. We have held initial discussions with stakeholders to ensure their views and expertise are taken into account as we develop the policy and selection framework for HPMAs and will publish a public consultation during 2022 to seek views on these.

Clyde cod

We have legislation in place to continue the seasonal Clyde cod spawning closure for 2022 and 2023 between 14 February and 30 April. Unlike previous years, there will be no exemptions during the closure period; however the closure area has been adjusted to make it more targeted and focused, allowing some fishing to continue in surrounding areas whilst protecting the cod in the places where it is most likely to be spawning.

Longer term working

Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs)

We are in the process of developing a policy framework for HPMAs with input from stakeholders, and our statutory nature conservation advisors NatureScot and JNCC are developing a set of site selection guidelines. A public consultation on both documents will be held in 2022. Once published, the policy framework and site selection guidelines will inform the identification of initial site proposals in Scotland’s inshore and offshore waters. These will be refined through iterative engagement with stakeholders and thorough assessment of impacts to ensure that socio-economic factors are taken into account. A public consultation will be held for draft site proposals and final sites will be designated by 2026.

Essential fish habitat

Outputs from the ScotMER essential fish habitat mapping project will inform work to establish inshore habitat maps where data is more sparse, and inform ongoing marine planning and management in Scotland’s seas. These outputs will also help us to identify and consider if additional protections are needed once our network of HPMAs is complete and fisheries management for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) fully implemented, to ensure appropriate protection for spawning fish and juvenile congregation areas.

Action 12

We will take action to understand and mitigate the impacts of climate change on our seas, including supporting delivery of the Scottish Government’s net zero targets including by reducing vessel emissions and encouraging shorter supply chains. In addition we will support and encourage sustainable waste management in our fleets, growing our circular economy and reducing marine litter

Ongoing & in progress

Climate change

We have progressed a number of key pieces of research to strengthen our understanding and mitigate the impacts fishing has on climate change as well as how fisheries can adapt to climate change.

We launched a Fisheries Climate Change survey in November 2021 to assess the fishing sector’s readiness/ preparedness to respond to the climate change challenge. The results will be used to inform stakeholder engagements in 2022.

Marine Litter Consultation

The marine litter strategy consultation closed on 22 March 2022. The Strategy contains several actions on fishing and aquaculture gear, in particular relating to waste management and recycling of end of life gear, and contributing to the development of a circular standard for gear design. The aim is to publish the final strategy and action plan by the end of 2022.

Longer term working

We will undertake collaborative working across different stakeholders to identify action to be undertaken to support the fishing industry move towards Net Zero.

Table 1. Planned/ongoing Consultations and Key Stakeholders Engagements for 2022 to 2023
Timescale Policy/Project Action/ Activity
15.03. 2022 (consultation closed 07.06.22) Future Fisheries Management Strategy - Future Catching Policy Consultation and legislation
15.03. 2022 (consultation closed 07.06.22) Future Fisheries Management Strategy- Remote Electronic Monitoring Consultation and legislation
TBC -2022/2023 Future Fisheries Management Strategy - Mitigation and adaptation to climate change Planned work with stakeholders to agree forward action plan and engagement
TBC 2022 Bute House Agreement – New management measures for inshore commercial fishing vessels Consultation
Autumn/ Winter 2022 Highly Protected Marine Areas Consultation on policy framework and site selection guidelines
Late 2022 Offshore – Marine Protected Areas Consultation on fisheries management for offshore MPAs
Summer 2023 Inshore- Fisheries management measures in Marine Protected Areas and Priority Marine Features Consultation
TBC 2022/2023 Sandeels management in Scottish waters Consultation
TBC 2023 Fisheries Management Plans Draft FMPs
Second half 2022 UK Consultation on Additional Quota apportionment Consultation
Second half 2022 West of Scotland Cod Stakeholder engagement
13.07.2022 (consultation closed 3 August) Clyde Herring Delegated TAC Consultation
Summer 2022 onwards Blue Economy Stakeholder engagement



Back to top