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The Scottish Government's Response to the European Commission's Green Paper on Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

(i) Scotland is the major fishing nation within the UK and one of the most significant fishing nations within the EU. The Scottish industry has been at the forefront of fisheries management modernisation and innovation aimed at ensuring sustainable fisheries. Many coastal communities in Scotland are amongst the most fisheries-dependent in Europe.

(ii) The Scottish Government aims to manage Scottish fisheries outwith the Common Fisheries Policy. The Scottish Government proposes that the Commission returns management fully to Member States. The Scottish Government regrets that such a path is more radical than the Commission is willing to consider, and will continue to press the Commission to consider this option. The Scottish Government therefore is seeking to influence and improve EU fisheries policy and has sought the views of stakeholders and the public through a range of means in order to inform this response.

(iii) The Scottish Government strongly believes that the CFP has failed to:

  • support biological and ecological sustainability;
  • match fishing capacity with fishing opportunities;
  • establish clear and fair levels of compliance across EU; and
  • engage with the industry to improve fisheries policies.

(iv) The Scottish Government believes that a successful fisheries policy should deliver:

  • sustainable fisheries management arrangements that will bring an end to discards;
  • co-management with industry and marine stakeholders;
  • fisheries management arrangements which are aligned with marine environmental and marine planning objectives; and
  • fisheries policies which recognise and which are sensitive to the needs of our fisheries-dependent communities and respect their historic fishing rights, including the principle of Relative Stability.

(v) In order to achieve these, fundamental reform is required at EU level. Central to that reform is the delegation of decision making powers to Member States through a regionalised fisheries management framework. Additionally, greater recognition of conservation measures, including discard reduction measures, and closer engagement with marine fisheries stakeholders will lead to improved policy. Finally, the scientific basis of decision making must be reviewed and adapted to be fit for the purpose of advising fisheries managers.

(vi) The vision and objectives laid out provide the basis for addressing the specific questions within the Green Paper. A number of key questions are addressed specifically in the penultimate chapter.

(vii) The Scottish Government response concludes that for as long as Scotland is part of the CFP, a regional model which delegates meaningful decisions to Member States provides the best vehicle for improvement to European fisheries management and asks that the Commission be ready and willing to engage in bringing about the necessary reforms.