Proposals to introduce electronic tracking and monitoring technology for small fishing vessels will be consulted on as part of package of new fisheries measures announced by the Scottish government.
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 this size when operating in Scottish waters. The consultation also asks whether Remote Electric Monitoring systems (REM) should be required on some inshore vessels.
A rollout of such technology across Scotland’s fishing fleet is seen as an opportunity to demonstrate that vessels are operating sustainably and within the law, increasing consumer confidence in Scottish seafood. This could also provide valuable data which would help fisheries be managed more sustainably and informing marine planning, benefiting Scotland’s fishing industry and the marine environment.
‘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,’ said Environment Minister Gillian Martin following a meeting with fishing industry representatives in Peterhead.
‘Government, industry and communities all have a shared interest and commitment to a healthy marine environment. Open dialogue and constructive working of the sort that has helped to develop these proposals will ensure that we benefit from the expertise of the fishing industry. Cooperation and co-management will ensure that both Scotland’s fishing industry and our marine environment can thrive sustainably.’
The inshore vessel tracking and monitoring consultation is open until 7th November 2023 on the Scottish Government consultation hub.
The Scottish Government has published the outcome of two previous consultations. As a result, 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 considered alongside the Future Catching Policy development.
Alongside this, 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.