The UK Government and devolved administrations are launching a public consultation on the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS).
This component of the Fisheries Act 2020 sets out the legally binding policies the UK Government and Devolved Governments will follow, at both UK and individual level, in delivering sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management.
The consultation runs from 18th January to 12th April and seeks views from industry and environmental stakeholders, the public and all those interested and affected by the proposed policies.
The Joint Fisheries Statement sets out policies from the respective governments for achieving, or contributing to achieving, the eight objectives outlined in the Fisheries Act 2020.
According to an official statement, in line with the Fisheries Act’s objectives and international obligations, the Joint Fisheries Statement sets out how the UK intends to adopt an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management and includes a commitment to mapping and protecting blue carbon resources.
The Joint Fisheries Statement includes policies designed to help the industry thrive, including commitments to upskilling industry and succession planning, and promoting the consumption of locally sourced seafood.
It sets out three main areas of focus: protecting and, where necessary, recovering fish stocks, reducing the effects of fishing on the marine and coastal environment, and supporting a modern, resilient, and environmentally responsible fishing industry.
‘I am pleased to launch the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) which respects the devolution settlement on fisheries management and is clear about the limits and extent of its role in terms of devolved powers and responsibilities. This document is the result of careful work by officials from across the UK and demonstrates what can be achieved though meaningful and purposeful engagement,’ said Mairi Gougeon MSP, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands.
‘The Joint Fisheries Statement will help us use our devolved powers to secure a sustainable future for the Scottish fishing industry, onshore and offshore, within the context of tackling the twin crises of climate and biodiversity and our commitment to achieve and maintain good environmental status for all of Scotland’s seas.’
Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd Wales commented that the JFS reflects the devolved nature of fisheries, while recognising the benefits of joined up working.
‘We all want to see fishing and aquaculture industries which are sustainable and environmentally responsible, as well as economically viable and thriving,’ she said.
‘I want to thank everyone, including the industry, who have engaged with us during the development stage and I now look forward to hearing views on the proposals we have set out.’
Consultation responses can be submitted online via the Citizen Space online portal