“Scottish Fishermen’s Federation”
Marine Scotland has allocated the Scottish Industry/Science Partnership (SISP) funding for projects covering the Firth of Forth, Western Isles, east coast, west coast and the northern North Sea.
A Shetland-based group of fishermen and scientists has been awarded £125,000 for a study that will compare industry and scientific perceptions of northern North Sea whiting, which is worth over £8 million to Scottish vessels.
A further £49,000 will go towards the collation of data on ling. The partners for both these projects include The NAFC Marine Centre,
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, the Shetland Fishermen’s Association and the Orkney Fisheries Association.
Another £50,000 will go towards trials of coverless and low headline trawls aimed at reducing whitefish catches in Nephrops fisheries.
The trials will take place on fisheries in both the east and west coasts and will involve the Anglo Scottish Fishermen’s Association, Scottish Whitefish Producers Association and Mallaig and North West Fishermen’s Association.
In the Western Isles, the effects of mesh size and escape panels on catch composition in the Nephrops creel fishery will be investigated thanks to funding of £14,000 and a project in Shetland will receive £5,000 to study the biological and economic impacts of the size of escape gaps in creels for velvet crabs.
Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“The standard of applications this year was extremely high. The partnership continues to generate innovative research programmes which give fishermen a vital input.
“Tapping into the experience, knowledge and understanding of Scottish fishermen has undoubtedly produced results and I wish the successful applicants every success with their projects.
“This funding can enhance Scotland’s impressive conservation credentials, and help bridge the gap between fisheries scientists and the catching sector.
“The partnership is playing an increasingly important role in supporting and developing the sea fisheries industry. The information gathered is a vital source of information for the industry Scotland-wide.”
Leslie Tait, Chairman of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association, said:
“I am delighted the project is going ahead. Shetland fishermen have been reporting large and increasing abundances of whiting in the waters around Shetland. I am hopeful that this study can help illustrate why there is a different perception of the stock and bring scientists and fishermen closer together.”
Marine Scotland allocates up to £250,000 per year to the Scottish Industry/Science Partnership, administered by Marine Scotland Science, for supplementary research into sea fisheries issues, based on ideas put forward by representatives of the sea fisheries industry.
The SISP Steering Group approves applications and has representatives from Marine Scotland, Marine Scotland Science and Scottish Fishermen’s Federation. The group also includes an independent expert (Ole Arve Misund – Institute of Marine Research, Norway). The applications approved by the Steering Group are those which are considered to have most merit by a Consultative Group which is made up entirely of industry, scientific and NGO representatives.
The North Sea whiting Total Allowable Catch has fallen by 15 per cent in 2010 after scientific advice reported a decrease in whiting abundance at North Sea-level. However, information from both fishermen and scientists suggests that pockets of high abundance exist in certain areas including the waters around Shetland and Orkney.
As such the project aims to investigate industry concerns over the way scientific assessments are made. In doing so the group hopes to enhance the relationship between fishermen and fisheries scientists as well as provide additional information which could be used in future scientific assessments.