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Wild Fisheries Reform

In January 2014, the First Minister announced that a Wild Fisheries Review would be undertaken during 2014.

The aims of the review were to: 

  • develop and promote a modern, evidence-based management system for wild fisheries fit for purpose in the 21st century, and capable of responding to the changing environment
  • to manage, conserve and develop our wild fisheries to maximise the sustainable benefit of Scotland’s wild fish resources to the country as a whole and particularly to rural areas

On 8 October 2014, the review submitted its final report and 54 recommendations to the Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Following on from the Review, Marine Scotland has embarked upon a programme of Wild Fisheries Reform, including a package of Conservation Regulations. The Salmon Conservation Measures (formerly known as the Kill Licence) were progressed separately from the wider reform programme.

Wild Fisheries Reform Programme

During 2015, a consultation paper was published which set out the Government’s response to the Wild Fisheries Review. The consultation closed on 7 August 2015. The responses have been considered and the analysis has been published

Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, launched a consultation paper on Draft provisions for a Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill and draft Wild Fisheries Strategy on 8 February 2016. The consultation closed on 2 May 2016. The responses have been considered and the analysis has been published.

District Salmon Fishery Boards (DSFBs) and those interested in establishing new DSFBs can now bid for a share of £200,000 for mergers or to set up new boards which will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries management. You can find the Wild Fisheries Governance Fund conditions online.

Stakeholder Groups

An external Stakeholder Reference Group was established to inform detailed proposals for legislation arising from the consultation on the broad policy principles on the reform of the management system.

In addition, a number of working groups have been established to inform and develop thinking across a range of key issues:

An external National Wild Fisheries Strategy Development Group was established to inform the development of the National Wild Fisheries Strategy.

The Marine Scotland and Local Biologist Liaison Group has been set up to co-ordinate the involvement of local biologists throughout Scotland in refining the data and methods used to determine conservation status and develop an agreed template for salmon conservation plans.

Value of the Wild Fisheries Sector

The findings from the 'An Analysis of the Value of Wild Fisheries in Scotland' report will inform the Wild Fisheries Reform Programme in the future.