Fisheries Management Plan
The Outer Hebrides Regional Inshore Fisheries Group management plan was developed by the Group's Executive Committee and the Advisory Group with local objectives that will contribute to the delivery of the three broad outcome Strategy themes, as outlined in the Scottish Government’s Future Fisheries Management in Scotland.
Despite the many challenges facing Scotland’s fishing industry, local inshore fisheries should continue to improve providing measures to ensure their long term sustainable management are adopted at local level.
The Outer Hebrides Regional Inshore Fisheries Group also hopes to provide excellent career opportunities for young fishermen willing to invest in the future of the industry.
Considerable financial support from both Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar (CNES) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has been of significant benefit to the inshore industry over the past number of years.
The area covered by the Outer Hebrides Regional Inshore Fisheries Group covers inshore waters from baselines between the Butt of Lewis and Barra Head. The sea out from St Kilda, the Flannan Isles, North Rona and Sula Sgeir are also included within the Group's geographical scope. The boundaries with neighbouring Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups delineate a similar sea area to that proposed for the Western Isles Marine Region.
The characteristics of the Outer Hebrides illustrate the significant importance of the shellfish sector to the inshore fleet operating within inshore waters around the Outer Hebrides. Whilst pelagic and white fish fisheries used to be of importance within inshore waters, migratory patterns for pelagic species and restrictive catch composition rules coupled with reduced quota allocations for white fish, has now resulted in minimal effort being directed at those fisheries.
The Group operates an Executive Committee of catching sector representatives, an independent Chairman and a Co-ordinator responsible for the Group's Fisheries Management Plan, with assistance of an Advisory Group of stakeholders from Government Agencies and a wide range of other Organisations with an interest in the Marine Environment.
Fisheries are of vital importance to the local economy with the majority of fishing activities of the local fleet being inshore . The lack of alternative employment opportunities means that the Outer Hebrides is heavily dependent on marine resources for the future social and economic survival of its communities. Maximising the benefits from fisheries is of paramount importance to the local economy.
An increasing number of renewable energy companies are showing a keen interest in developing wave and tidal projects to the west of the Hebrides and it is of paramount importance that the interests of the fishing industries are protected. The Group is represented on the various Renewable Groups that will be discussing all future developments of marine renewables within the inshore area.