Fishermen and others have voiced concerns that the present system is not providing enough support to active fishermen or to family and smaller local catching businesses. The Government is looking at what improvements can be made to the current system, which has been in place since 1999, that makes it easier for new entrants to get into the industry.
This consultation will look at the current system and what, if any, improvements can be made to it to ensure it pursues the Government’s aims.
The Government’s aims are to:
- Ensure that Scottish fishing communities retain their fishing rights, now and in the future, and that fishing rights remain a Scottish national asset
- Promote a shared approach where all concerned are involved in managing Scottish quotas
- Encourage quotas to be held by those who can fish them, and to prevent them from becoming a speculative asset. We want to see a thriving fishing industry where new fishermen can get a start, enjoy a share in the profits they toil for and in time establish their own businesses.
- Provide a stable regulatory environment for the Scottish fishing fleet, for those investing in its future, and for fishing communities
- Encourage the growth of businesses and the regeneration of the fleet, and to keep down the cost of quotas
Launching the consultation Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Throughout the last year, my officials and I held many meetings the length and breadth of Scotland with hundreds of skippers and a big issue that fishermen wanted to discuss is how we can better allocate and manage our fish quota. It should concern us all when fishermen claim more money to be made by acquiring and leasing out quota than there is in actually catching and selling fish.
“We all want to see a thriving industry where new fishermen can get a start, enjoy a share in the profits they toil for and in time establish their own businesses or join in partnerships through which they can build further success. It is my strongly held conviction that, given their relative scarcity, quotas must be managed in the common interest, and in a way that better provides active fishermen with the access to quota that they need, both now and in the future.
“This consultation will give everyone with an interest an opportunity to have an informed and rounded debate. I know a lot of folk have made significant investments in quota, on which their livelihoods now depend, and any reform to the system would have to take their interests into account in a carefully considered manner. This consultation will provide the information needed to understand whether we keep the current system, amend the current system, or whether we look to develop a new system.
“I want to see if we can respond to fishermen’s pleas by making sure they get better access to quota or at least are in a system that allows them to lease it at a reasonable cost. That's why I have brought forward this consultation process on the management of fish quotas in Scotland.”