Oyster and mussel rights transfer

The rights to naturally occurring oysters and mussels is transferring to Scotland from the Crown Estate.

This follows the Smith Commission’s recommendation that responsibility for the management of the Crown Estate’s economic assets in Scotland, and the revenue generated from these assets, be transferred to the Scottish Parliament.

Naturally occurring oysters and mussels in Scottish territorial waters form part of the ancient rights currently administered by the Crown Estate Commissioners. Preparations have been made for the transfer of existing rights and titles to Marine Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Ministers.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead has welcomed the news, but has also described it as a “limited step”, as the Scottish Government has continually argued for full devolution of the Crown Estate to Scotland.

“We believe the Scottish people are best placed to make the decisions about our waters and seabed out to 200 nautical miles. I am pleased the Smith Commission has agreed the case for transfer of all the responsibilities of the Crown Estate,” said Mr Lochhead.

“The Scottish Government committed in June that island and coastal communities should receive 100% of the net income from seabed leasing revenues from activities in their adjacent waters currently administered by the Crown Estate, including those from renewables leases, reversing the current situation where this income is taken by the Crown Estate Commissioners. The Smith recommendations will enable us to make sure that now happens.

“Controlling Crown Estate revenues in Scotland will enable greater investment in a wide variety of projects ranging from harbour improvements to community tourism projects, with far greater decision making taking place at a local level.”

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