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Chamber and committees

Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee


Provisional UK common framework on Fisheries Management and Support

Letter to the Convener from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, 17 February 2022


Dear Finlay,

Laying of the provisional UK Fisheries Framework

Further to my letters of 17 January and 10 February 2022 in relation to the Joint Fisheries Statement, I am now writing to share the text of the provisional Fisheries Management and Support Framework with your Committee.

My officials, together with their counterparts in the UK Government, Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive have been working jointly to develop the Fisheries Management and Support Framework. This provisional framework was confirmed by the portfolio Ministers of the four governments in February 2022. I am sharing this provisional framework for your Committee to scrutinise.

As you will be aware, the Fisheries Framework is formed of the Framework Outline Agreement (FOA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which sit alongside the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) and will help manage the cross-UK governance of fisheries where that is required. The Fisheries Framework is different from most of the other UK frameworks due to elements of it pre-dating the formal agreement on UK frameworks. In effect this splits the framework into two parts with the first being the JFS, legislated for in the UK Fisheries Act (2020) and the second containing the FOA and MOU. The JFS has its own statutory process which requires agreement by all UK fisheries Minsters, a full public consultation, and scrutiny by each of the four legislatures before final adoption. The MoU is subject to the broadly similar standard frameworks clearance process, with the differences being no requirement for a full public consultation, nor is it statutory (or bound by statutory timetables). The different processes are the reason these documents have been shared at different times with the Committee.

Please find an updated cover page attached, with the Framework Outline Agreement and MoU included as annexes. My officials are happy to provide any further information if that would be helpful. My letter of 10 February shared confirmation that the scrutiny period for the JFS has been extended until 12 April. I would be grateful if the committee would consider scrutinising the Fisheries Framework within the same timescale.

I will of course be happy to attend sessions of the Committee to answer questions on the JFS, MOU and FOA, and other matters of interest to the Committee.

I am copying this letter and all attachments to Clare Adamson MSP, Convener of the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee due to the Committee’s interest in the overall UK Common Framework programme.

Yours sincerely,

Mairi Gougeon


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Annexe A


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Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee

Provisional UK common framework on Fisheries Management and Support

Letter to the Convener from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, 17 February 2022