1. The Scottish Government has a manifesto commitment to support and protect Scotland's famous and valuable salmon and freshwater fisheries and to modernise the management framework. In this paper the term "wild fisheries" should be interpreted as referring to all salmon and freshwater fisheries (including still water fisheries) in addition to those species for which there is a management need, but no current fisheries - i.e. the new management system is as much about the management of species as it is the management of fisheries.
2. The first stage in delivering this commitment was to update the governance of salmon fisheries via the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013. The second stage was to commission an independent Wild Fisheries Review ( WFR) to consider the requirements of a modern, evidence based management system for all of Scotland's wild fisheries that is fit for purpose in the 21st century. The Review panel, chaired by Andrew Thin, published its report in October 2014 and made 53 recommendations for change  . Taken together these recommendations effectively mean a fundamental re-design of the existing system for fishery management. The WFR report is clear that the new management system should build on the strengths of the current system - we agree.
3. We are taking a strategic and co-ordinated approach to Wild Fisheries Reform and to conserving our wild fish populations. This paper sets out the Scottish Government's response to the Wild Fisheries Review and signals the start of the reform programme which will consider the future management structures and issues such as skills and access to fishing opportunities.
4. Separately, but aligned with the reform programme, we are continuing to act under existing legislation to protect and conserve our wild fish populations, notably wild salmon. The WFR report recommended urgent action by the Scottish Government to improve regulation of the killing of Atlantic salmon. We acted quickly to consult separately on proposed conservation measures to introduce a ban on killing wild salmon except under licence, to make associated baits and lures regulations and to introduce carcass tagging to support enforcement of the licensing system. It is hoped that the strengthened regulatory framework will be in place in time for the 2016 season, ensuring that any killing of Atlantic salmon in Scotland is demonstrated to be sustainable.
5. One Scotland: the Government's Programme for Scotland 2014-15  commits Scottish Ministers to consult on broad policy options for a new management system (this consultation). This consultation signals the start of the next substantive phase of wild fisheries reform, and is the Government's formal response to the remaining recommendations in the WFR. It will be followed by consultation on a draft Wild Fisheries Bill before the end of the parliamentary session (spring 2016).
6. The remainder of this paper is structured as follows:
- Chapter 1 sets out background information relevant to the reform programme
- Chapter 2 sets out the Scottish Government's response to the WFR, including fundamental principles which will guide the development of a new management system and a new national strategy
- Chapters 3 to 10 set out options for progressing a number of themes within the WFR report
- Chapter 11 discusses assessment of the impacts of reform
7. We recognise that fundamental reform of the fisheries management system is a large and complex subject. There is much to be decided and considerable detail to be developed as we move forward. Activities will need to be prioritised and it will not be possible, or desirable, for everything to happen at once. A reference group  of external stakeholders has been established to help inform the programme of reform, particularly the legislative elements, and there will be many opportunities for those with views and opinions to share those and contribute. As we move from the current system towards the future management system a transition plan will be developed to ensure effective transition planning and continuity of delivery of fisheries management.
8. Information about the consultation process and how to respond is at Annex A. We anticipate that while some will take an interest in the full programme of reform and the issues to be explored, others may wish to focus attention on particular aspects. We invite comments on any or all parts of this consultation and hope to engage constructively with the full range of interested parties as the reform programme progresses.
9. Specific consultation questions are listed at the end of the main paper and, in addition to responding to these, there is the opportunity to make further remarks and suggestions. A dedicated website for the reform programme has been established on the Scottish Government webpages  and will be updated regularly to keep everyone informed of progress and enable contributions to be made. Information about the external stakeholder reference group is available on those pages, including the minutes of meetings.