News In Focus
Bill introduced to support fisheries sector
4 October 2012
A Government bill just introduced to the Scottish Parliament is aimed at underpinning the sustainable development of the fish farming and freshwater fishing sectors.
The Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill contains new measures for fish farm operators, including statutory farm management agreements, requirements for technical equipment standards, and control mechanisms for the operation of wellboats.
It also provides for the improved management and governance of district salmon fisheries boards, making them more transparent and accountable, with powers for ministers to intervene if that is not achieved.
There are safeguards for the shellfish industry, with measures to ensure shellfish waters continue to be protected from pollution once the EU Shellfish Waters Directive is repealed in 2013; and powers to impose charges in connection with services provided by Marine Scotland in carrying out functions relating to fish and shellfish farming, freshwater fisheries, and sea fisheries.
Sea fishery officers will also have additional enforcement powers in carrying out monitoring and investigation duties.
Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said that both the aquaculture and freshwater fisheries sectors were critical to the economies of many remote and rural communities. He commented:
"We want to ensure both sectors have a successful and sustainable future – while providing protection for the environment – and that’s why we have progressed an Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill at this time. The Bill was developed and informed by a very comprehensive consultation process, where we listened to feedback from more than 1,300 respondents and sought further views.
"I believe we now have a forward-thinking bill, which achieves a balance between supporting fish farming and freshwater fisheries to thrive, while putting in place the legislative steps to ensure Scotland’s precious marine environment continues to be protected – something which is recognised as key in the interest of all stakeholders."
Click here to access the bill and related papers.