New rules will also apply to all under-12s fishing in Scottish waters

Scottish under-12m boats will have to install electronic tracking and monitoring technology if Scottish government proposals go ahead.

They will have to use the technology wherever they operate, and all under-12m boats fishing in Scottish waters will have to install the tracking devices.

The proposals are part of a consultation package on new fisheries measures launched by the Scottish government last week.

The consultation also asks whether remote electric monitoring (REM) systems – which are more sophisticated than vessel tracking – should be required on some inshore vessels.

Environment minister Gillian Martin, whose portfolio includes inshore fisheries, met industry representatives in Peterhead last Monday (14 August) to mark the launch of the consultation.

She said: “These proposals will support the sustainable management and development of our marine environment – the next step in delivering a blue economy that benefits our communities, economy and environment. I encourage the inshore sector and others with an interest to continue to engage with us and to take part in the consultation on vessel monitoring.

“Government, industry and communities all have a shared interest and commitment to a healthy marine environment. Open dialogue and constructive working of the sort that has helped to develop these proposals will ensure that we benefit from the expertise of the fishing industry. Co-operation and co-management will ensure that both Scotland’s fishing industry and our marine environment can thrive sustainably.”

The consultation says the data generated from using the technology on under-12m vessels ‘will provide a greater insight into where fishing operations take place and improve the evidence base on which decisions are taken by the Scottish government and other relevant public authorities’.

Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the SFF, said: “The Scottish industry is fully committed to sustainability, and recognises how important it is for consumer confidence in our fabulous seafood produce. The industry for many years has led and been involved in a number of initiatives and projects that embed sustainability into what we do.

“We will be studying the detail of these proposals and responding in due course to the consultation, while being mindful of the multitude of existing pressures on the small-boat sector around our shorelines.”

The inshore vessel tracking and monitoring consultation is open until 7 November, and can be completed on the Scottish government consultation hub at:

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.50 here

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