The research assesses a number of scenarios and finds that, based on the modelled assumptions, there could be net benefits to Scotland as a result of the inshore gear restrictions, although it suggests these would be outside the fisheries sector.
The research is designed to help inform thinking in this area and the Scottish Government will now undertake discussions with a wide-range of stakeholders on the issues highlighted in the report and any implications for future policy considerations.
Commenting on the report Cabinet Secretary for Fisheries Richard Lochhead said: “This substantial piece of research highlights a number of key issues and will help inform our thinking around improving the management of our inshore fisheries.
“This work gives us a better understanding of the interactions between fishermen in inshore waters and the potential impact of different management measures.
“We will carefully consider the report and fully involve interested parties in discussions to use this report to ensure we promote sustainable and profitable fisheries."
Calum Duncan, convenor of Scottish Environment LINK's marine taskforce and Scotland's Programme Manager for Marine Conservation Society, also commented on the report, saying: "The report reveals that changes in management around our shores would deliver net gains to Scotland's economy. The environmental benefits of limits to trawling and dredging have always been clear, but this report highlights that reducing their damaging impacts would lead to overall economic benefits too.
"Protecting fragile inshore habitats would help to boost struggling demersal fish stocks and further promote a range of different activities: from sea angling to commercial line fishing and creeling. We must now wait to see how Marine Scotland responds to these increasingly well-evidenced links between ecosystem and economic health. Our fisheries must be more strategically and spatially managed for the public interest. We also need, and are campaigning, for well-managed MPAs that protect important inshore and offshore areas, so that we can recover the health and economic potential of Scotland’s seas.”
You can view the full report by clicking here.