The Scottish government has announced that electronic monitoring and tracking of vessels is part of a package of measures being taken to protect Scotland’s inshore fleet.
The programme, which will monitor boats in inshore waters, is designed to help establish local fisheries management arrangements. Technology to support the monitoring programme will be installed by Woodsons of Aberdeen. Work is expected to start in April, beginning with the scallop dredge fleet.
New regulations will also be introduced for marking creels, aimed at reducing the use of plastic items that can become detached and create marine litter. A Scottish Statutory Instrument will be laid in the Scottish Parliament this spring regulating the marking of creels.
‘Scotland’s inshore fisheries are one of our most valuable community assets,’ said Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing.
‘Fishers and their businesses make a significant contribution to the economic and cultural fabric of our coastal communities, which is why we are taking steps to protect this valuable resource.’
Additional measures include the establishment of an Inner Sound Local Fisheries Advisory Group to better manage the waters east of Skye and Raasay, a new website to allow fishermen to better interact with their local Regional Inshore Fisheries Group and continuing work to reduce gear conflict and better manage disagreements between fishermen.
‘Modernising our approach to vessel monitoring and tracking will give us better insight into the inshore fleet’s profile – how it operates, how it adapts and what matters most to its sustainable development,’ Fergus Ewing said.
‘This is a proportionate approach founded on established technology. It will put Scotland at the forefront internationally in how we use innovation to better manage our waters.’
New chairs have been appointed to the mainland Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups. Jennifer Mouat will be chair of North & East Group, with Simon Macdonald chairing the West Group. A new website, rifg.scot, will go live in March.