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The SSI on Remote Electronic Monitoring for scallop fishing is set to be withdrawn following the identification of a technical error in its drafting

The Scottish Statutory Instrument (SSI) titled “The Sea Fisheries (Remote Electronic Monitoring and Regulation of Scallop Fishing) (Scotland) Regulations 2024” is set to be withdrawn following a call for views from the committee.

The withdrawal comes after a small drafting error was identified, posing a risk to the technical restrictions crucial for regulating scallop dredge fisheries.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon MSP, highlighted the need for corrective action in a letter to the Clerk. According to Rule 10.8 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament, Gougeon requested the withdrawal of the regulations to facilitate prompt corrections. Officials are already preparing minor amendments to rectify the error before the regulations are re-laid.

The intended policy aims to limit the maximum number of scallop dredges deployable by fishing vessels operating in Scotland’s territorial sea. Specifically, the regulations seek to cap dredge deployment at 8 on each side of the vessel and a total of 16 dredges. However, an oversight in the wording of the regulations could potentially exempt certain areas, particularly those within the definition of “Scottish inshore waters.”

Gougeon clarified that the term “any part of the territorial sea of the United Kingdom adjacent to Scotland” fails to extend the prescribed controls to all areas within Scottish inshore waters, notably the region landward of the baseline. This baseline serves as a reference line for measuring the territorial sea, typically representing the average low-water level along the coastline.

In light of the identified error, Gougeon requested amendments to ensure consistency in the application of restrictions on scallop dredges, maintaining alignment with regulations governing Scottish inshore waters. The Clerk has been tasked with updating the Business Bulletin accordingly and notifying the relevant Committee of the withdrawal.

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