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Scottish Marine Bill debate

Feb 27th, 2009 | By ssacn | Category: SSACN Announcements

There were many contributions of interest to sea anglers in yesterday’s Holyrood debate on motion S3M-03528  — introduced by Cabinet Secretary Lochhead - That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver a Scottish Marine Bill to drive sustainable economic growth and improve the stewardship of the seas around Scotland; acknowledges the positive response to the consultation, Sustainable Seas for All, and the widespread support for the proposals, and further notes the recent agreement with the UK Government to secure executive responsibility for marine nature conservation and planning in the offshore zone.

The following extracts from the various contributions are of direct interest to us.

Elaine Murray (Lab) - Like those respondents and others, we think that the purpose of the marine bill must be to ensure the recovery of the marine ecosystem. The purpose is not simply to conserve the ecosystem’s current state of health and prevent it from getting worse, or indeed to ensure that we can continue to exploit the seas as we have become accustomed to doing.

In the consultation document, the Scottish Government claimed:

"The seas are generally healthy and biologically diverse".

The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network responded to that claim: "This of course is untrue when one considers the state of our inshore waters. Fish stocks around our coasts have collapsed … Sustainable exploitation is NOT the answer, we need to REGENERATE the biodiversity of our inshore waters".

…….. Under the UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill, sea fisheries committees will be replaced by inshore fisheries and conservation authorities for coastal waters out to 3 nautical miles. If the inshore fisheries group’s membership in Scotland is restricted to commercial interests and the group has no input from organisations that have an interest in conservation and recreation, such as the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network, we will not address the local depletion of many species that has happened during the past 20 years to the extent that there is local extinction in some places.

………….. The proposed bill is important, but it is extremely important that we strike the right balance between economic growth and the need for not only conservation but regeneration of our marine environment. That must be the focus of the bill.

Nanette Milne (Cons) - Likewise, recreational sea-angling interests should have a strong voice in Marine Scotland, as a healthy marine environment is crucial to the continuing future of an activity that makes a major financial contribution to the many coastal communities that depend on the business that visiting sea anglers create. We are concerned about the European Commission’s article 47 proposals to regulate sea angling and ask the Government to consider whether it can use the marine bill as a means of safeguarding recreational angling off the Scottish coastline from the Commission’s potentially damaging plans.


Peter Peacock (Lab) - Sea anglers and others can tell us about the huge damage that has been done to our inshore waters. Whole species have disappeared, the seabed has been destroyed in parts, and corals have vanished.




Kenneth Gibson (SNP) - The Community of Arran Seabed Trust—COAST—worked for 13 years to build bridges between islanders, fishermen, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Government’s marine directorate. COAST was formed to redress the dramatic collapse of marine life around Arran’s shores and in the Firth of Clyde, drawing on positive examples of similar schemes from around the world, including those in the Isle of Man, Lundy island and New Zealand. The NTZ seemed a final step in that endeavour, and the cabinet secretary played a fundamental part in its delivery. However, there remain concerns that management of the NTZ and the MPAs will be in the hands of inshore fisheries groups, with conservation no longer at centre stage. I seek assurances from the minister that erosion of the conservation imperative will not happen.

Rhoda Grant (Lab) - Colleagues have talked about the proposed structure of marine Scotland in detail. It is unfortunate that a decision has been made before any parliamentary scrutiny. Will the structure of Marine Scotland be set out in the bill and will it be possible to amend it at that stage? I hope so. The approach is more about political expediency than it is about what is good for our marine environment ……… In the proposed bill, political ideology again comes ahead of the needs of the communities that we serve. The minister must change the balance and put our communities before that dogma.

John Scott (Cons) -

Amendment (accepted) S3M-3528.1, to insert at end: "and considers that the forthcoming marine legislation must fully take into account the interests of commercial fisheries and recreational sea anglers and could provide an appropriate vehicle for tackling the severe decline in breeding sea bird populations."

Related posts:

  1. Westminster Marine Bill passes
  2. Marine Scotland Bill: Stage 1
  3. Scottish Marine Bill summary
  4. Marine Bill Sails On

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