Regulating Order for sustainable fishing in Firth of Clyde rejected by Scottish Government

The Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust (SIFT) reports, 28th July 2016: SIFT is disappointed by the Scottish Government’s decision not to approve its Clyde Regulating Order application. We regard this decision as a missed opportunity for Scotland’s vulnerable coastal communities, who have suffered from decades of economic decline under short-term fisheries policies.

Note: The Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust is a Scottish charity founded in 2011. SIFT’s aim is to promote the sustainable management of Scotland’s inshore waters so that they provide the maximum long term benefits to all coastal communities. At SIFT’s core is a coalition of community and maritime interests who wish to replace unfair, short-termist fisheries in their local inshore waters with a mix of sustainable and resilient maritime livelihoods.

Note: A Regulating Order is a piece of legislation granted by Scottish Ministers under the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967. It aims to improve the management of shell-fisheries by granting rights to a ‘Grantee’ to regulate the fishery for one or more named shellfish species in a designated area. A Regulating Order does not cover fin-fish fisheries — at present no such legislation is available.

The inshore fisheries problem
Scotland’s inshore waters are important. They extend 12 nautical miles from Scotland’s enormous 11,800km coastline, cover over half of the country’s territorial area and were historically a rich source of wealth for coastal communities.

Despite the importance of inshore waters, their management has been neglected. Over-fishing and the use of fishing gears which damage habitats have not only been permitted but promoted. As a consequence the inshore ecosystem has been degraded and the valuable fin-fish stocks have collapsed to the point that coastal communities no longer enjoy a mixed and vibrant economy.

SIFT’s solution
SIFT promotes fisheries policies which conserve and restore the diversity of the marine ecosystem. In particular SIFT promotes ecosystem based management and reductions in effort of damaging bottom trawls and dredges within specific inshore areas.

These policies will assist the return of a more lucrative, sustainable and mixed economy featuring revived fin-fisheries, which will benefit all commercial and recreational fisheries, alongside activities which rely on a healthy sea — such as wildlife tourism and diving.

All sectors that rely on our inshore waters — including the static and mobile fishers, sea anglers and the tourism industry — need robust new management measures to be put in place. The evidence from around the world is that stock recovery — and the economic benefits associated with it — cannot be delivered without the use of modern fisheries management techniques.

SIFT remains confident that the practical difficulties in managing quota are surmountable and that the economic benefits from an improved fishery would far exceed the costs of management.

Whilst SIFT welcome some of the management measures introduced under the Marine Protected Areas process, these measures were not implemented to directly benefit or improve the Clyde fisheries and so there remains a continuing need for a holistic fisheries management plan as was proposed in the Regulating Order application.

There is now an urgent need for the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership and the South West Inshore Fisheries Group to produce tangible fisheries management proposals for the Clyde.

Despite this disappointment [the Scottish Government’s decision not to approve SIFT’s Clyde Regulating Order application], SIFT looks forward to continuing to work with all those who share its aim to promote the sustainable management of Scotland’s inshore waters so that they provide the maximum long term benefits to all coastal communities.

Source: SIFT Press Release, 28th July 2016. For further details, see

About SIFT


Mark Rose (Chairman)
Mark is the Chief Executive of Faunafauna The animals characteristic of a region, period, or special environment & Flora International, a leading UK based charity which aims to achieve a sustainable future for the planet, where biodiversitybiodiversity Biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals. is effectively conserved by the people who live closest to it. He has helped broker partnerships with the finance sector and local governments to develop models that can harness the economic value of ecosystem services.

Charles Millar
Charles is a corporate environmental consultant. He is Chairman of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, and a former member of the Environmental Advisory Council of the British Standards Institution.

Howard Wood
Howard chairs the Community of Arran Seabed Trust which established the first No Take Zone in Scottish Waters. He is a former scallop diver and has dived in Scottish inshore waters for nearly forty years. He is the 2015 European winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists.

Jock Fleming
Jock was previously the proprietor of a well-known Clyde based ship chandlery business. He was also previously the Commodore of The Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club.

Michael Breslin
Michael is an Independent Councillor in Argyll & Bute and was previously the Principal of Argyll College, an academic partner of The University of the Highlands and Islands. He has a strong interest in economic development, employment creation and devolving decision making to the most local level possible.

Rupert Ormond
Rupert is a marine biologist with particular expertise in the behaviour and ecology of sharks and other coral reef fish, and in the monitoring and management of marine protected areas. Currently an Honorary Professor at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, he has previously served as Director of the University Marine Biological Station at Millport in the Firth of Clyde, and as Chief Scientist of the Save Our Seas Foundation.

Staff: Alex Watson Crook
Alex is the Project Co-ordinator of SIFT’s Firth of Clyde Project. She was previously the Senior Fisheries Officer at the Solway Shellfish Management Association and from 2009-2012 was the Local Fisheries Co-ordinator at the Clyde Inshore Fisheries Group.

Advisory Committee
In addition to its Board of Directors, SIFT has an Advisory Committee of leading inshore fisheries stakeholders. The Committee includes representatives from the Scottish static gear fishery, dive fishery, recreational sea angling fishery, freshwater fishery and the fish processing industry as well as leading experts on marine science and environmental and public law.

Information Pack on Firth of Clyde proposed Regulation Order

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