Scotland's marine environment is rich and diverse, with an abundance of life and significant potential for harvesting and harnessing the seas' resources for the public benefit.
With such an important natural asset comes great responsibility: to preserve and sustain the seas' ecosystems; to support the jobs and livelihoods which depend on them; to strengthen the local communities whose lifeblood is intrinsically linked to the sea; and to encourage all users of the marine environment to develop a positive future together with mutual respect.
Our responsibility as Government, as managers, as users of the sea and recipients of its rewards, is to work together to take and implement the right decisions to support the greater national interest. To manage fishing activity and fishing pressures in a sustainable, safe, responsible and compliant way. And to create the right environment to enable us to trust each other and deliver confidence in the decisions we make, the evidence we use and the policies we deliver.
This strategy sets out our approach to managing Scotland's sea fisheries from 2020 to 2030, as part of the wider Blue Economy. It explores how we will achieve the delicate balance between environment, economic and social outcomes, and how we will work in partnership with our fisheries stakeholders at home, within the UK, and in an international context, to deliver the best possible results for our marine environment, our fishing industry and our fishing communities. It also considers how, as part of our Blue Economy approach, we can best share the marine space, to ensure we are managing in the right way, and making the best decisions, for the marine environment as a whole and all those who depend on it.
Commercial sea fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Over the years, there have been too many accidents and lives lost at sea. Injuries and fatalities take a terrible toll, most obviously on families but also on our coastal communities. We need to do all we can to make fishing as safe as possible, and encourage more people to see fishing as a desirable career, which will help to ensure the sustainability of the industry in the long term. The Scottish Fishing Safety Group, established in May 2019 aims to do just that. This group provides advice - working alongside established safety bodies such as the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) - on how we can improve health, safety and wellbeing on Scottish vessels. The group supports fishing industry efforts to achieve zero deaths annually and the reduction in accidents across the whole Scottish fishing industry.
Our track record of managing Scotland's fisheries is strong with robust regulatory and monitoring frameworks in place. Statistics show there were 2,098 Scottish-registered and licensed fishing vessels in 2019. These fishing vessels landed 393,000 tonnes of sea fish and shellfish with a first sale value of £582 million. Over the nine years 2010 to 2019, the value of pelagic landings by the Scottish fishing fleet rose by 29%, demersal by 7%, and shellfish by 9%, in real terms.
There were 4,886 fishers employed on Scottish registered vessels at the end of 2019, while the fleet itself consisted of 1,559 vessels under 10 metre and 539 vessels which were 10 metres or over.
We will build on this solid foundation. We will continue to deliver on our domestic and international responsibilities. But we will also go further, demonstrating our competence, our creativity and innovation, our world class compliance, our ability to lead and be the best that we can possibly be. To set the right course and encourage others to follow.
"Through this strategy we will set a course to deliver, as part of our Blue Economy Action Plan, our vision for Scotland to be a world class fishing nation delivering responsible and sustainable fisheries management."
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