Chapter 7 - Science and skills
63. Fisheries management and regulation should be based on sound science. As noted in the WFR report, considerable effort has been made by many parties to embed evidence-based decision making and to develop our shared scientific understanding. Work has been undertaken to improve collaboration, raise standards and promote best practice and skills development.
64. The WFR report recommends the development of a national research and data strategy to ensure that data collection priorities and processes are clearly defined and prioritised in line with management objectives. As outlined in paragraphs 28-29, we will begin work to develop a national research and data strategy as part of the national wild fisheries strategy. The WFR report lists projects which are recommended as priorities in the short to medium term. Work is already underway in relation to some of these areas; the topics identified will be considered further in the context of developing a draft strategy. The issue of Citizen Science and its potential to support fisheries management will also be considered as part of the process of developing the strategy.
65. Science and research on fish and fisheries is currently carried out by a number of different bodies in Scotland at both national and local level. We are aware that there are concerns among some local bodies about the potential loss of this role in any future management system. We consider that there is a clear role for local fishery management organisations to help deliver the national research and data strategy via the fishery management planning process. It will be important that this is achieved within a framework of consistent methodologies and standards. Work is already underway which would help frame such standards, including existing standards developed by the Scottish Fisheries Coordination Centre and the Institute of Fisheries Management.
Q24. Do you agree that data collection priorities and processes for fisheries management at a local and national level should be predicated on a consistent approach and that this should be via a national research and data strategy?
Q25. Do you have any suggestions for additional means to ensure that evidence-based decision making is embedded within the fisheries management system?
66. The WFR report highlighted the importance of those working at all levels within the sector having appropriate skills. The report listed a series of priorities and recommended that the national unit, working with the Institute of Fisheries Management and other suitable organisations, should ensure effective training and CPD availability for all decision-makers in the system.
67. We agree with the WFR's recommendation on this topic and have asked the Institute of Fisheries Management, with support from Scottish Government, to lead a workstream to develop training and CPD programmes for the sector. These will include the priorities identified in the report:
- Research and data collection
- Risk-based decision making using relevant models
- Habitat management and enhancement
- Project and contract management
- Leadership and governance
- Marketing, partnership working and community/stakeholder engagement.
Q26. Do you have any suggestions for additional skills areas which might usefully be covered in training and CPD programmes?