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Scottish fishing industry receives boost for research

Scottish fishing vessels. (Photo Credit: David Linkie/Scottish Fishermen Federation)

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Thursday, December 04, 2014, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Four fisheries projects that aim to improve the understanding of Scotland's inshore fish stocks and reduce unwanted catches will receive almost GBP 160,000 (USD 230,000) in funding.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead announced the funding of the projects while on a visit to Orkney. The projects have all been proposed by the Scottish fishing industry to help further improve their knowledge of the science involved. This will include knowledge of fish and shellfish stocks around the Scottish coast and helping develop fishing gears which will reduce unwanted catches.

Following a call for proposals and selection process, the Fishing Industry Science Alliance (FISA) allocated the  Marine Scottland funds for projects covering Shetland, Orkney and the west coast.

Lochhead was in Orkney yesterday to meet members of the Orkney Fisheries Association, who have been awarded GBP 24,200 (USD 37,800), alongside Heriot-Watt University , for a study to verify and quantify important areas for juvenile scallops in Orkney waters. The study will inform spatial management decisions and includes the training of commercial fishermen to contribute to underwater surveys.

"I’m delighted to announce this funding today in Orkney. It is a great boost to the industry and four very worthy projects. I am looking forward to seeing what each organisation will achieve with the money that has been allocated to them," said the Scottish secretary.

"The landing obligation, which forms part of the discard ban, is fundamentally changing the way we fish, therefore it’s obvious to me that we have to rethink the fundamentals of how we manage fishing. I have pledged to work with the industry to make this obligation work for our fisheries, and today’s funding announcement is just part of that."

A further GBP 35,000 (USD 54,800) has been allocated to the North Atlantic Fisheries College and Shetland Fishermen’s Association to undertake a tagging study to obtain movement data on a range of data limited species caught within the Northern Sea.

Another GBP 60,000 (USD 93,900) will go towards a large scale project conducted in both Shetland and the west coast to investigate the commercial viability of demersal fish traps. The partners for this project include the North Atlantic Fisheries College, Shetland Fishermen’s Association, Marine Scotland Science and a west coast fisherman.

On the west coast, the effects of lifting bags on the selectivity of nephrops trawls will also be studied through the provision of GBP 40,000 (USD 62,200). This project builds upon on the successful work funded by FISA in 2013/14 to assess the effect of codend mesh size on the selectivity of nephrops trawls.

The projects are currently being finalised and discussions are taking place between project partners. The work is expected to start from early 2015, with a duration of 1-2 years. 

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