Marine Scotland

Marine Scotland is a civil service directorate within the Scottish Government, responsible for leading the protection of Scotland’s coastal waters and seas, to both build sustainable economic growth from Scotland’s marine assets, and to safeguard its valuable marine ecosystems.[1][2] Marine Scotland is responsible for the Marine (Scotland) Act and devolved areas such as fishing.

Marine Scotland
Directorate overview
FormedApril 1, 2009 (2009-04-01)
Preceding agencies
HeadquartersVictoria Quay, Leith, Edinburgh
Employees700 (2016)
Annual budget£47.9 million (2016)
Ministers responsible
Directorate executive
  • Graham Black, Director
Parent departmentEconomy Directorates
WebsiteMarine Scotland


Marine Scotland was established on 1 April 2009,[3] merging two executive agencies (Fisheries Research Services and the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency) and the Scottish Government marine and fishery policy divisions.

Role, staffing and budget

Marine Scotland has responsibility for marine science, planning, policy development, management and for monitoring compliance. Its role is to encourage all concerned with the marine environment to work together towards agreed priorities and outcomes: and to ensure complementary approaches so that the impact of marine management activity across Scotland exceeds the sum of its constituent parts. While many of its activities are focused on marine issues, it also continues to play an important role in the research and management of freshwater fisheries.

Marine Scotland has around 700 staff, possessing a range of skills and professions including scientists, sea fishery officers, policy, administrative and professional/ technical staff.[2] Staff are predominantly located in Edinburgh or the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen, but Marine Scotland also have a Scotland-wide network of offices and field stations and support assets including 3 research vessels, 3 patrol vessels, 2 surveillance aircraft and a fisheries monitoring centre responsible for remote monitoring of fishing vessels.

Marine Scotland's operating budget for the 2015/2016 fiscal year was approximately £47.9m. Graham Black is the Director of Marine Scotland.[4]

Office of the Chief Scientific Advisor Marine (OCSAM)

Professor Colin Moffat is the Chief Scientific Advisor Marine.[5] The aim of Office of the Chief Scientific Advisor Marine (OCSAM) is to foster Scottish, UK and international cooperation in the areas of natural, economic and social marine science and provide clear advice to the Scottish Government and other International Organisations.[6] OCSAM also covers internal business functions including Information Quality and Management, Statistics, Data Management and GIS.

Marine Scotland Compliance (MSC)

Marine Scotland's Compliance division monitors and enforces marine and sea fishing laws in Scottish waters. It reports as appropriate to the Scottish prosecuting authorities and provides intelligence on fishing activity in the seas around Scotland.[7]

Coastal Offices

Marine Scotland have 18 fishery offices located around Scotland.[8]

Marine Protection Vessels

Marine Scotland have three Marine Protection Vessels (MPVs):[9]

  • MPV Minna (launched: 2003, length: 42 meters, top speed: 14 knots, tonnage: 718 g.r.t.)
  • MPV Jura (launched: 2005, length: 84 meters, top speed: 18 knots, tonnage: 2,181 g.r.t.)
  • MPV Hirta (launched: 2008, length: 84 meters, top speed: 18 knots, tonnage: 2,181 g.r.t.)

Surveillance Aircraft

Marine Scotland owns two Reims Cessna F-406 Caravan II aircraft for aerial surveillance, operated by Airtask[10][11]

UK Fisheries Monitoring Centre

Marine Scotland operate the UK Fisheries Monitoring Centre (UKFMC), on behalf of the four UK fisheries administrations. The UKFMC acts as the UK single-point-of-contact for manual reporting of ERS, VMS and other EU/national fisheries schemes.[12]

Marine Scotland Science (MSS)

Marine Scotland's Science division undertakes research and provides scientific and technical advice to the Scottish Government (and the UK and European Union authorities) on a number of marine and fisheries issues including aquaculture and fish health, freshwater fisheries, sea fisheries and the marine ecosystem in Scotland's seas.[13] MSS operates two research vessels which are fitted with a wide range of deployment and recovery facilities for fishing gear and equipment, scientific and environmental sensors, and data gathering systems:[14]

MSS also have an additional vessel, the MV Temora, which is used for sampling as part of the Long Term Climate Change Monitoring Programme.[14] Tim McDonnell is the Head of Marine Scotland Science.[15]

Marine Scotland Planning & Policy (MPP)

Marine Scotland's Planning & Policy division covers three main policy areas and the Licensing Operations Team (LOT)

Marine Spatial Planning

Marine Scotland are involved in marine spatial planning at both at a national and regional level.[16] Scotland's Marine Atlas was published in 2011 [17] as a baseline assessment, with Scotland's first National Marine Plan published in 2015.[18] The information from the Atlas and National Marine Plan is available through Marine Scotland Maps and Marine Scotland Information portals. These portals form part of the Marine Scotland Open Data Network which contributes towards Marine Scotland's INSPIRE and open data obligations[19]

Offshore Marine Renewables

The Scottish Government is developing plans for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy in Scottish waters. Marine Scotland will explore how offshore wind, wave and tidal energy can contribute to meeting Scotland’s target of generating the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources and also seek to maximise the contribution of these technologies to achieving a low carbon economy.[20]

Marine Conservation

Marine Scotland follows a strategy for Marine Nature Conservation in Scotland's Seas[21] based on the three pillars of species conservation, site protection, and wider seas policies and measures. Work continues on a Marine Protected Area network with 30 nature conservation MPAs designated in 2014.[22]

Licensing Operations Team (LOT)

The Marine Scotland Licensing Operations team is a central point-of-contact for activities such as depositing or removing objects or substances from the seabed; construction or alteration works, dredging; depositing or using explosives.[23]

Aquaculture, Crown Estate, Recreational Fisheries, EMFF and Europe (ACRE)

The ACRE division handles policy areas covering Aquaculture, Salmon & Recreational Fisheries, Fishery Grants, Post-EU Referendum (Brexit) and the Crown Estate in Scotland.

Sea Fisheries

The Sea Fisheries division handles policy areas covering Access to Sea Fisheries, EU Quota Negotiations and Discards, Inshore Fisheries and Coastal Communities, and International Fisheries and Environmental Interactions.

See also


  1. Marine Scotland, Scottish Government, 26 June 2016
  2. "Marine Scotland Review". Scottish Government. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  3. Haworth, Jenny (10 February 2009). "New body to manage Scotland's waters". The Scotsman. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  4. "Marine Scotland on Twitter". Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  5. "Marine Scotland on Twitter".
  6. "Marine Scotland website". Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  7. "Marine and Fisheries - Compliance". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  8. "Fishery Offices". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  9. "Marine and Fisheries - Compliance Fleet - Vessels". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  10. "Marine and Fisheries - Compliance Fleet - Aircraft". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  11. "Directflight commences trading under the Airtask Group Brand". Airtask. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  12. "5 Yearly Report on the application of the Control Regulation" (PDF). Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  13. "Science & Data". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  14. "Research vessels & technology". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  15. "Marine Scotland on Twitter".
  16. "Marine Scotland - Marine Planning". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  17. "Scotland's Marine Atlas". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  18. "Scotland's National Marine Plan". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  19. "National Marine Plan Interactive". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  20. "Offshore Marine Renewables". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  21. "Marine Scotland Marine Nature Conservation Strategy". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  22. "Marine Scotland - Marine Protected Areas". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  23. "Marine Scotland - Licensing Operations Team". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
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