Proposals to introduce electronic tracking and monitoring technology for small fishing vessels will be consulted on as part of package of new fisheries measures, the Scottish Government has announced.
The consultation proposes that vessel tracking devices will be required by Scottish commercial fishing vessels under 12 metres in length wherever they operate, and by all vessels of the that size when they operate in Scottish waters. It also asks whether Remote Electric Monitoring systems (REM) – which are more sophisticated than vessel tracking – should be required on some inshore vessels.
The technology will provide data which would help fisheries to be managed more sustainably and informing marine planning.
Environment Minister Gillian Martin, 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.”
The Scottish Government has also published the outcome of two consultations:
- Remote Electric Monitoring (REM) will become mandatory on large pelagic vessels and all scallop dredge vessels in Scottish waters. Further rollout of REM will be considering alongside the Future Catching Policy development.
- Future Catching Policy will take concrete action to increase the sustainability of our fishing activity, supporting fishers to avoid catching fish and other sensitive marine species which they don’t want to land, or catch in the first place.
These announcements represent the next steps in Scotland’s Fisheries Management Strategy – which has been developed in partnership with the fishing industry and other stakeholders.
Separately, Defra has launched a consultation for expanding the use of remote electronic monitoring in English waters.
The inshore vessel tracking and monitoring consultation is open until 7 November 2023 and can be completed on the Scottish Government consultation hub.
The outcome reports of the consultation on REM can be read at:
- Analysis of Consultation: Marine Resources – Ensuring Long Term Sustainability: Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM)
- SG Response to Consultation: Marine Resources – Ensuring Long Term Sustainability: Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM)
The outcome reports of the consultation on Future Catching Policy can be read at:
- Future Catching Policy Consultation Analysis Report
- Future Catching Policy: Scottish Government response to consultation analysis report
Further information from the Scottish Government can be read here.