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;
- 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
The Chair of the Wild Fisheries Review was Andrew Thin, the current chairman of Scottish Canals and former chair of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The Review panel also included Jane Hope and Michelle Francis, and was supported by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) drawn from Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Institute of Fisheries Management. The remit and scope can be viewed here.
The report and recommendations of the Wild Fisheries Review Panel were published on 8th October 2014.
The Scottish Government announced its Programme for Government on 26th November 2014. It referred to the review and provided an indication of the timetable for the rest of the current Parliamentary session:
“…The independent review reported in October 2014 and the Scottish Government will now consider its conclusions and recommendations. We will consult in Spring 2015 on broad policy options for a new fisheries management system, followed by a public consultation on a draft Wild Fisheries Bill before the end of the parliamentary session.”
The review has now moved forward into a reform process, and Scottish Government are began consulting on a draft Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill and draft Strategy on 8 February 2016. This consultation can be viewed HERE. ASFB and RAFTS are working closely with members and various groups to input to the consultation which closes on 2 May 2016.
ASFB & RAFTS Joint Working Group
On completion of the review in autumn 2014, ASFB and RAFTS formed a Joint Working Group (JWG) to help develop ideas and identify information requirements needed to inform the decision making process within both organisations. The aim is to give the members and their representatives an informed baseline from which to develop responses to any proposed future changes arising from the WFR and the consultation process and ensure they best meet our fishery management requirements. Whilst the Review reported in October 2014, Ministers have still to consult on proposals arising from the review. The consultation is expected to begin in Spring 2015.
The JWG is not a decision making or policy making group. It has been formed to facilitate discussion and to establish how our respective organisations and members might best contribute to the process. It is also working on the principle that a unified voice, from the two most important representative bodies in the Scottish fisheries/catchment management world, will assist us in making our case to Government about any proposed changes in an effective manner.
ASFB and RAFTS will be convening the JWG on a regular basis, and its deliberations and output will be reported back to members through these briefings so that members, and others, are fully appraised of issues under consideration.
Click on the links below to read more about the work of the Joint Working Group.