The SCFF successful in Judicial Review against Marine Scotland “right to trawl” in High Court action
The Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation (SCFF) has been successful in their Judicial Review challenge in the High Court on the “right to trawl” imposed by the Scottish Government.
The Judge, Lady Poole concluded Marine Scotland acted unlawfully by rejecting creel fishermen’s sustainability trial.
The SCFF has accused the SNP Government of “listening to its cronies in the industrial trawling sector and summarily ending a proposed pilot no-trawl scheme in the Inner Sound off the Isle of Skye which could have brought greater benefits to the economy and the Scottish marine environment.”
The SCFF has lodged the petition for the judicial review on the grounds that Marine Scotland based its refusal of the pilot scheme to ban trawling in the inshore nephrops fishery on a public consultation in which the SCFF claim, the responses were dominated by objections from members of the trawl industry, instead of on their own predetermined criteria. The SCFF challenged a decision of the Scottish Ministers affecting fisheries in the Inner Sound of Skye.
The Scottish Ministers exercise powers of management of inshore sea fisheries through Marine Scotland, a directorate within the Scottish Government.
On 26 February 2020, Marine Scotland published a document entitled “Inshore Fisheries Report: Inner Sound of Skye Consultation Outcome Report” (the “2020 Outcome Report”). The 2020 Outcome Report concerned a proposal for an inshore fisheries pilot scheme (the “New Proposal”). The 2020 Outcome Report intimated the decision of Marine Scotland not to take forward the New Proposal in its entirety. The SCFF took an action in the Scottish High Court seeking to overturn that decision.
The SCFF claim there are wider concerns in that this case follows a pattern which suggests that the mobile sector (fishing by trawling or dredging) wields too much influence with Marine Scotland and that the management of Scottish fisheries appears more aligned with the interests of the industrial trawlers than with the public interest or fisheries policy under the National Marine Plan.
Amongst her findings on the case, Lady Poole found that Marine Scotland has not acted in accordance with procedural fairness or with legitimate expectations on the proposal for the inshore fisheries pilot scheme. She also found that Marine Scotland also reached a decision that was irrational and, also failed to provide adequate reasons for its decision not to take forward key aspects of the New Proposal.
You can read the full opinion of Lady Poole here.