The Scottish Government’s view of fisheries

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead.

lochhead“Fisheries is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s three overarching aims of creating more, better paid jobs in a strong sustainable economy, building a fairer Scotland by tackling inequalities and passing power to people and communities.

“Scotland’s coastline provides a wonderful environment in which to enjoy recreational sea angling, as well as supporting jobs in fragile coastal economies throughout Scotland.

“2015 has been a good year for the fishing industry with a growing abundance of key commercial stocks promising to keep businesses buoyant. Increasing stocks bring confidence and I am hearing about thriving businesses, about plans to invest and young skippers coming through.

“This year, we also adopted Scotland’s first ever National Marine Plan. The Plan marks the beginning of a long term commitment to protect our seas for future generations and introduces an easy to use framework with planning information available online through National Marine Plan interactive. The Plan also ensures that the impact of potential development on salmon and other migratory fish species is considered in decision making and mitigation adopted where possible.

“Our seas provide energy, food and recreation and many other crucial goods and services which is why we have ensured that the marine environment is at the heart of our marine plan. Our ambition is to ensure the marine environment remains a prized asset for future generations by growing the economy and protecting the marine environment.

“At the start of the year we provided funding to support the development of a hub network to deliver the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN) outreach programme to encourage responsible angling. Significant progress has been made with many hubs delivering events ranging from classroom based activities through to outdoor sea angling taster sessions. The programme has generated a lot of enthusiasm about sea angling and the wider marine environment and has attracted experienced anglers as well as novices.

“SSACN also actively participate in our Angling Working Group. The Angling Group was set up in October last year and provides an informal forum for members to share examples of good practice and joint working, to discuss areas of developing policy, to look at opportunities to promote angling in Scotland, and to celebrate examples of success. The group has discussed many important issues including youth participation, angling for all and data collection.

“This year we have continued our work on marine protected areas. In the long term MPA management measures should strengthen the wider marine ecosystem and help improve the health of Scotland’s Seas. In turn this should boost the economy through improved ecosystem services, and provide wildlife experiences for recreation and tourism.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the industry to ensure the best deal possible for our coastal communities and their economies.”

Richard Lochhead MSP was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and 2003 via the North East regional list. During the second session of Parliament he stood down from his regional seat and was elected as constituency MSP for Moray in the by-election in April 2006. Prior to becoming an MSP Mr Lochhead worked for Dundee City Council, and was also Alex Salmond’s constituency office manager for four years. Mr Lochhead lives with his wife Fiona and sons Angus and Fraser.

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