Future of Scottish fishing set out in Government paper

Retaining fishing quotas and supporting a discard ban in principle are two key aspects of a Scottish Government paper on the future of fisheries.

Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing launched the discussion document and urged those in the industry to have their say on fisheries management in Scotland.

The paper sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for the future of fisheries, and priorities include ensuring the UK Government does not trade away access to Scottish waters and fishing opportunities.

Scotland will continue to use fishing quotas as the main way to manage stock, the paper outlines, and these will be in the hands of “active Scottish fishermen”.

New entrants to the industry would be encouraged through the creation of additional licences and quota.

The document supports the principle of retaining a discard ban, but said this would be adapted to be more “workable”.

It also calls on the UK Government to introduce new permits to secure sustainable labour for the fishing industry.

Fergus Ewing
Fergus Ewing launched the paper in Kirkwall, Orkney (PA)

Launching the paper, Mr Ewing said: “Brexit will inevitably bring changes in the way in which we manage our fisheries and also the relationships which we will have with our friends and colleagues from other seafaring nations.

“Whatever the future holds, Scotland’s role as a world-leading fisheries nation, and as a responsible and sustainable manager of this important natural resource, will continue.

“This discussion paper will help us develop our approach to local management and partnership working that we already have in place.”

He called on interested parties to give their views, adding: “The discussion paper isn’t intended to provide all the answers, but rather act as a catalyst for us to move forward together, and develop ideas which can help deliver an inclusive, productive approach.”

Mr Ewing is meeting members of the local fishing community in Kirkwall, Orkney, on Monday in the first of a series of similar meetings across Scotland to seek views on a new fisheries management strategy for the country.

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