Support for Scottish Fishing Fleet

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A ‘Four Pillar’ fisheries management plan designed to take action to secure the future of the Scottish fishing industry has been put forward by Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead.

More than £12 million is now in place to support the new plan, which includes funding for a licence parking scheme and fleet modernisation. The Scottish Government has secured European Fisheries Fund support to more than double the £6 million domestic investment available.


A ‘Four Pillar’ fisheries management plan designed to take action to secure the future of the Scottish fishing industry has been put forward by Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead.

More than £12 million is now in place to support the new plan, which includes funding for a licence parking scheme and fleet modernisation. The Scottish Government has secured European Fisheries Fund support to more than double the £6 million domestic investment available.

At its heart, the plan offers actions to weather current economic conditions, prepare for the future prosperity of the fishing industry and promote Scottish priorities within Europe.

Presenting the final plan in Edinburgh to the Scottish Fisheries Council (SFC), Mr Lochhead said:

“Our plan will help steer the industry through both the short term and longer term challenges and into hopefully more profitable and calmer waters. Currently, a combination of ill-fitting restrictions from Brussels and the economic climate has led to parts of the industry facing the perfect storm.

“The innovative measures we are taking in Scotland to help the fleet cut costs and to protect stocks will also be backed up with steps to maximise the value of the catch.

“Most importantly the current review of European fisheries policy provides the opportunity to put the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) behind us and put in place measures more suited to Scottish circumstances.

“The industry and other stakeholders have played an important part in developing the plan and will have a vital role in ensuring its successful implementation.

“The fact that we have continued to innovate, even within the context of the broken CFP, has brought Scotland the respect of other countries who look to Scotland for fresh ideas. While meeting conservation targets is vital, it is equally important to reassure our coastal communities that fishing can continue to be a viable industry for years to come.

“Scottish fishing policy must be about fisheries conservation on the one hand and supporting our fishing communities on the other. It must also celebrate and protect an industry that brings a healthy and valuable food to our tables.”

The four pillars of the plan are intended to:

  • improve the wider international framework for fisheries management
  • manage Scotland’s own fishing quota and effort allocations to promote sustainability and profitability
  • work with industry to maximise catch value
  • make sure Scotland has a resilient fleet, crewed by a skilled workforce

Mr Lochhead added:

“The setting of annual quotas and associated problems of discards, the cod recovery plan and the current emergency measures on the west Coast are examples of how poorly designed regulations can exacerbate difficult fisheries management issues.

“Our Four Pillar Plan is a survival toolkit for the current economic climate but also much more. It contains actions that focus on changing the regime. Less rigid effort restrictions, increased scope for catch quotas and the return of decision making to Member States as part of the CFP reform are important priorities for Scotland.

“The SFC will work hard to ensure that a shared understanding of the issues faced by all parties – government, fishermen and NGOs – is achieved, as this will be essential if we are to work in a co-ordinated and productive way.”