Fisheries Management and Conservation Group Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform, & Islands, has notified Parliament on Sea Fisheries Regulation Amendments

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform, & Islands, Mairi Gougeon MSP, has notified Parliament on Sea Fisheries Regulation Amendments

In a letter addressed to Finlay Carson MSP, Convener of the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee at the Scottish Parliament, Mairi Gougeon MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform, and Islands, informed about the upcoming Sea Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations 2024 and sought approval from the Scottish Parliament.

The Sea Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations 2024 aims to remove expiry dates from landing obligation exemptions and extend the Data Collection Framework (DCF) and associated Multiannual Plans (MAP) from 2024 to 2026. The regulations also include provisions related to the regulation of sea fisheries in the Scottish zone, falling under devolved competence.

The letter outlines that the UK Government intends to lay the final Statutory Instrument (SI) on February 28, 2024. However, as of now, the final SI is not available in the public domain.

Mairi Gougeon MSP attached a Type 1 notification, providing details of the SI and reasons for contentment that Scottish devolved matters are included in this SI. The notification outlines the necessity of the amendments, primarily focusing on landing obligation exemptions and the extension of the DCF and associated MAP.

The landing obligation exemptions, introduced by the EU in 2013, aim to reduce waste associated with discarding fish back into the sea and increase accountability. The proposed amendments seek to remove the expiry dates of these exemptions in UK waters.

Regarding the extension of the DCF and MAP regulations, the letter emphasizes the need to avoid breaching legal obligations and to ensure coordination across the Fisheries Administrations to meet international commitments for fisheries data management and collection.

The letter reassures that stakeholders, particularly the Fisheries Management and Conservation stakeholder group, were engaged in 2021 when the exemptions were initially extended and re-written. The Scottish Government plans to supersede the UK SI with its own Future Catching Policy (FCP) in the near future.

Mairi Gougeon MSP has requested a response from Finlay Carson MSP by February 21, 2024. The Scottish Parliament will be advised when the final SI is laid, and its compatibility with the terms of the notification will be communicated accordingly. The letter has also been copied to the Convener of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee.

The proposed amendments, if approved, will have significant implications for the fishing industry and the management of sea fisheries in Scottish waters. The Scottish Parliament will play a crucial role in scrutinizing and providing consent to these regulatory changes.

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