This document proposes a strategy for the sea fisheries industry in Scotland, describing the approach the Scottish Executive is taking to help the industry address the challenges it faces and to make the most of its opportunities. In doing so it recognises the critical role the sector plays in Scotland's marine environment and its importance to Scotland's coastal communities. So the purpose of this strategy is to create the conditions for the industry to thrive, contributing to thriving communities and a thriving marine environment.
Responsibility for sea fisheries management is devolved to the Scottish Executive. Of necessity, most of the fisheries of importance to Scotland are managed in an international context, mostly through the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. We play a full part in that process. We are part of the UK team which negotiates fishing opportunities for Scotland's fleet, we help to develop Europe's fisheries management policies and we implement them here in the waters around Scotland and in Scotland's fleet, wherever it fishes.
Our approach to this task is guided by the shared UK Sustainable Development Framework and our marine and coastal strategy and it is informed by:
- Our commitment to encourage economic growth which benefits all parts of Scotland;
- Our commitment to maintaining strong and prosperous rural communities; and
- Our determination to devise and deliver our policies in partnership with all those with a stake in their success and in partnership with our delivery agents.
The issues at stake for the sector as described in some depth in the setting the scene section. We then go beyond analysis to action. Having set out an overall aim, we spell out our strategy, setting out the overall approach on the three themes outlined in the foreword and some of the steps which need to be taken. Some are straightforward and the Executive will now get on with delivering them, working closely with the relevant partners. Others need more careful consideration and discussion with the industry and other interested parties.
In order to take forward these points - and the strategy as a whole - we are establishing an advisory group of stakeholders. We will look to the Advisory Group for assistance with drawing up an action plan, devising specific performance indicators for each element of the strategy outlined here and ensuring good progress is made.
This document complements the strategic frameworks we have already published for aquaculture and inshore fisheries and the joint UK administrations' response to the 'Net Benefits' report. These frameworks sit within our broad-based marine and coastal strategy which is the link between sector specific objectives and policies for managing our marine resources.
KEY FACTS 1: The Scottish Executive is responsible for fisheries management in all the waters up to 200 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline, covering some 127,000 square miles of sea, nearly one quarter of EU waters. (Source: SFPA.)