CR/2021/07 – Literature review of fishing practices which have been adapted in commercial fisheries around the world in order to help mitigate the sector’s contribution to climate change
The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, which amends the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, sets targets to reduce Scotland’s emissions of all greenhouse gases to net-zero by 2045 at the latest, with interim targets for reductions of at least 56% by 2020, 75% by 2030, 90% by 2040. The UK Fisheries Act 2020 sets out a commitment for the government to develop policy to deliver the ‘Climate Change’ objective to mitigate and adapt to climate change. These commitments will mean that industries in UK (and peoples’ daily behaviour) will have to undergo significant changes in order to meet these targets.
The recently published Future Fisheries Management Strategy (FFM Strategy) sets out the Scottish Government’s approach to managing Scotland’s sea fisheries from 2020-2030 as part of the wider Blue Economy Strategy. It explores how we will achieve the delicate balance between environment, economic and social outcomes, and how we will work in partnership with our fisheries stakeholders at home, within the UK, and in an international context, to deliver the best possible results for our marine environment, our fishing industry and our fishing communities.
We know that the main impacts from fishing are seabed abrasion and removal of species. But we also need to balance mitigation measures against the socio-economic benefits that fishing also brings. This is why the FFM strategy is addressing a number of issues and themes relating to fishing with one important strand of the strategy seeking to tackle the impact that the fishing industry has on climate change. It identifies the need to secure a robust evidence base which will increase our understanding and help us develop a clear plan of action which can be delivered in partnership with our stakeholders, particularly the sea fishing industry.
The impacts of climate change on the marine environment and activities within it have been well researched and documented (SMA2020 ; MICCP ). However there is a clear need to properly understand the impact that sea fishing activity (including use of fishing gear, seabed abrasion, capture of species key to the wider ecosystem, emissions from vessels, use of fuel etc) is having on climate change and the options we have to reduce its impact whilst ensuring that businesses can continue to operate successfully.
This project would be a first step in developing the evidence-base to support a ‘climate-smart’ fishing industry, understanding the pathways for fisheries to prepare for a Net Zero target. The Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework and Scotland’s Environment Strategy outline our overall approach to fisheries management in Scotland and our commitment to play a full part in responding to the global climate and nature crisis. Scotland’s National Marine Plan outlines the vision for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas, managed to meet the long-term needs of nature and people’. New provisions in the UK Fisheries Act (2020) mean we will take into account climate change impacts on our fisheries, with a new objective to move towards ‘climate-smart fishing’ in UK waters.
Further information can be found here.