AN independent report, aimed at ensuring the management of Scotland’s wild fisheries is fit for purpose in the 21st century, has been published today.
The report, written by Andrew Thin and his panel, contains 53 wide-ranging recommendations for change including:
Creation of a multi-species fishery management system which is founded on evidence-based decision making and recognises the public value of Scotland’s wild fishery resources;
Locally empowered delivery through a network of Fishery Management Organisations in line with agreed local plans;
Creation of a National Wild Fisheries Unit within Scottish Government with a responsibility to provide strategic leadership and co-ordination through development of a national wild fisheries strategy and a research and data strategy;
A ban on the killing of wild salmon except under licence;
A review of the salmon levy to widen it in line with all-species management and introduce greater flexibility in deployment;
Enhancing and further professionalising the skills and experience of those currently working in the sector;
Better promotion of angling as a sport, tourism and social activity, with particular focus on access for young people;
Andrew Thin, who chaired the independent review said: ‘It has been a real privilege to have led this important work, meeting many talented and committed individuals along our journey.
‘The process of coming to our conclusions has involved huge efforts by a great many people on an entirely voluntary basis and, on behalf of the panel, I would once again like to reiterate our immense gratitude to all who have helped us with the review.
‘The review’s recommendations have been made in response to the challenges and opportunities that our wild fisheries are likely to face over the coming decades.
‘These recommendations signal significant change, but also describe an evolutionary process that will enable the sector to build on its inherent strengths, experience and skills of all those involved in it.’
Receiving the report Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: ‘The Scottish Government is committed to supporting our famous and valuable wild fisheries. Each year angling alone is worth £134 million to the Scottish economy.
‘Wild fisheries is a complex area and we have a manifesto commitment to modernise the management structures.
‘This independent review was tasked with considering the requirements of a modern, evidence-based management system that is fit for purpose in the 21st century and is guided by the conservation needs of our wild species.
‘We need to ensure we have a robust and sustainable system so our fish thrive and people can continue to enjoy wild fishing and the socio-economic benefits that flow from it for generations to come.
‘I would like to thank Andrew and his panel for the report and for all the work he and his team have undertaken to produce it.
‘It is clear that many individuals interested in the future of Scottish wild fisheries have had the opportunity to be involved and share their views; I extend my thanks to them also.
‘The report is thorough, wide-ranging and contains many recommendations. I will study it in depth and consult on proposals to implement a new management system.’
The report is available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreview/WFRFinal