New Aquaculture & Fisheries Bill
The Scottish Government has introduced the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill before the Scottish Parliament.
The government says that the new Bill will ensure that farmed and wild fisheries continue to be managed effectively, maximising their combined contribution to supporting sustainable economic growth with due regard to the wider marine environment.
The Bill was developed and informed by a comprehensive consultation process, and feedback from more than 1,300 respondents was listened to.
Minister for environment Paul Wheelhouse said: "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.”
Key features of the Bill include:
- New legal measures for fish farms operators – including statutory farm management agreements, requirements for technical equipment standards, and control mechanisms for the operation of wellboats
- Moves to improve the management and governance of District Salmon Fisheries Boards, making them more transparent and accountable, with powers for Ministers to intervene if that is not the case
- 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measures to ensure shellfish waters continue to be protected from pollution once the EU Shellfish Waters Directive is repealed in 2013
- Powers to impose charges in connection to services provided by Marine Scotland in carrying out of functions relating to fish and shellfish farming, freshwater fisheries, and sea fisheries
- Some additional enforcement powers to support sea fishery officers in carrying out monitoring and investigation duties, and the extension of Fixed Penalty Notices to respond to issues of regulatory non-compliance