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sea fisheries

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Allocating & Managing Scotland's Quota

Fish quotas are the amounts of fish of different species that may be legally landed by the UK as a Coastal State. The purpose of our quota management arrangements is to enable the fishing industry to make full use of the fishing opportunities which we receive following annual negotiations with other Coastal States, while ensuring that quotas are not exceeded.

The UK Government is the allocating authority for UK fish quotas. The UK Government apportions UK fish quotas amongst the four UK Fisheries Administrations (i.e. Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland) pro-rata to the Fixed Quota Allocation (FQA) units associated with the licences administered by each Administration.

After receiving quota from the UK, each of the four UK Fisheries Administrations (FAs) allocates quota to its fishermen. In relation to most quota stocks, these allocations are made by the Scottish Government according to the FQA method.

The Scottish Government (and the other Administrations) issues most of its allocations to Fish Producer Organisations (POs), of which there are 10 administered directly by Marine Scotland. POs are quota management and marketing organisations made up of member fishing vessels. POs manage their members’ quotas on their behalf and some seek to market their landings.

Once allocations are made to POs, the quota is fully within their control (subject to quota management rules).

Fisheries Administrations monitor uptake and 'close' fisheries (i.e. prohibit further landings of defined species through the varying of fishing licences) when POs have taken their allocation.

The landings of vessels that are not PO members (known as the "non-sector" in the case of over 10 metre vessels, and the "10 metre and under" fleet) are managed directly by the Scottish Government. Vessels in these groups fish against catch limits set by the Government, which may be monthly or quarterly. These limits are enforced in fishing licences.

Further information can be obtained from (tel. no. +44 [0]131 244 4766).

FQA Register

On 18 December 2013, the UK Fisheries Administrations jointly-published an online FQA register that showed the number and type of FQA units assigned to each UK fishing licence, including PO dummy licences.

Where third parties hold units on dummy licences, they were also identified in the register.

Licensees may apply to transfer units on the FQA register.