Consultation on a proposal to amend the economic link licence condition

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Closes 31 Oct 2017

Questions

1a. Do you agree that landings into Scotland provide the best economic link to Scotland, and that they should form the main basis of the economic link licence condition, and that therefore the present options to demonstrate a link through crewing and / or operating expenditure should be removed?

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Economic Link Licence Condition to relate to Scotland

The Scottish Government proposes to amend the economic link licence condition so that it relates to establishment of an economic link to Scotland. The Scottish Government considers that this amendment is appropriate in view of the devolution of sea fisheries within the terms of the Scotland Act 1998 and in light in general of the responsibility of the Scottish Government to the economy of Scotland and to the parts of Scotland dependent on sea fisheries.

Establishment of economic link through landings in Scotland

The Scottish Government wishes to strengthen the economic link licence condition so that it delivers more benefits to Scotland and its fisheries dependent areas. It is proposed therefore to amend the licence condition so that landings into Scotland form the main basis of the condition.  Landings into Scotland, as opposed to crewing and vessels’ operating expenditure, are considered to a stronger economic link as in general they will result in increased economic activity.

1b. Please provide reasons for your answer.

2a. Do you agree that the landings target included in the economic link licence condition should in general be 55 per cent?

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Establishing a landings target

The Scottish Government proposes to amend the percentage of landings that can establish an economic link.  It is proposed for the present to increase this to 55 per cent. The vast majority of Scottish fishing vessels already make the considerable majority of their landings into Scotland, and meeting this new landing target will not require any change at all to their day to day operations. While numbers will inevitably vary from year to year, there are normally 3 groups of Scottish vessels that do not routinely make more than half their landings into Scotland

1. A small number of vessels owned by no-Scottish companies targeting demersal fisheries that prefer to make landings into Spain or to other parts of Europe.

2. A small number of generally Scottish owned demersal vessels that sometimes split their landings between Scottish ports and ports in Northern Ireland/England.

3. Pelagic vessels which land a high proportion of their catch abroad.

2b. Please provide reasons for your answer.

3a. Do you agree that there should be transitional arrangements in relation to landings of pelagic fish?

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Establishing a landings target - pelagic vessels

The Government has considered whether, in the circumstances of these fisheries, with the large scale of landings involved, it would be appropriate to allow for transitional arrangements.

Further to this consideration, the Government proposes that there should be such transitional arrangements. The Government proposes that, for pelagic fish, the landings target included in the licence will be:

From 1 September 2017, 30 per cent of total landings into Scotland;

From 1 September 2018, 40 per cent; and,

From 1 September 2019, 55 per cent. 

The Government considers that this staged approach will allow time for appropriate adjustments to be made in the particular circumstances of this fishery.

3b. Please provide reasons for your answer.

4a. Do you agree that there should continue to be arrangements whereby fishing vessels that do not meet the landings target should instead be able to meet the economic link licence condition by making quota gifts to the Scottish Government?

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Arrangements for quota gifting an as alternative to meeting the landing target

The Government proposes to maintain the present arrangements whereby vessels that do not conform to the economic link licence condition by means of meeting the relevant landings target will instead be able to come to arrangement to gift quota to the Scottish Government.  The Government has reviewed the operation of present arrangements for the calculation of quota gifts and proposes to make certain adjustments. 

4b. Please provide reasons for your answer.