Blogs and News from Partners
You might remember that at the beginning of July, we told you about a new salmon tracking project that was happening in the north of Scotland.
Tagging started on 7 July and by 14th July, we had tagged 36 grilse. tagging will continue in to Autumn-time and we will keep you updated with progress.
The post Keeping track at Armadale: Update one from the tracking project appeared first on Marine Scotland.
Always keen to invest in new talent, and promote women in science, Marine Scotland has taken on two students for two twelve-week placements under Equate Scotland’s Careerwise scheme. Careerwise is a partnership between industry and academia to:
- encourage the participation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas;
- increase awareness of STEM occupations as viable career options for women; and
- increase employability skills in its participants.
Both placements are within the Fishery Analysis and Assessment Group of Marine Scotland Science; reporting on best practice for monitoring, control and surveillance for discards, and looking at the precision and accuracy of CCTV monitoring systems.
Welcome to both Kelly and Anastasia; we hope you enjoy your time with us and look forward to reviewing your findings and progress.
Exercise SAXON WARRIOR 17 (SW17) will take place between 1 and 10 August 2017, delivered by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) from Faslane. The coordination of the administration and safety will be arranged in a similar way to a JOINT WARRIOR exercise.
SW17 is a programme of exercises conducted across the UK by warships, submarines and aircraft from 5 Nations. The maritime and air activity will be focussed in the airspace, offshore and coastal waters of the whole coast of Scotland and to a lesser extent South West Approaches to the UK. The booklet below provides outline information on scheduled activity including details of intended gunnery and aircraft bombing activity at Cape Wrath.
Marine Scotland Image Bank posted a photo:
OSPAR is committed to protecting and conserving ecosystems and biodiversity through the management of human activities and is guided by an ecosystem-based approach. Benthic habitats play a key role in marine ecosystems because marine species rely directly or indirectly on the seafloor to feed, hide, rest or reproduce.
The last OSPAR Quality Status Report (QSR 2010) highlighted a range of human activities with physical impacts on benthic habitats. Focus was given to the impact of benthic fishing on seabed habitats and associated benthic communities, especially on the continental shelf and in vulnerable marine ecosystems in the deep seas.
The development of a regional-scale assessment on physical disturbance from bottom contacting fishing since the QSR 2010 is a major step forward in assessing the scale of this impact. An important initial step towards this assessment was a first region-wide mapping of fishing pressure in 2013, which has since been updated annually. These data have now been combined with region-wide information on the distribution and sensitivity of benthic habitats. A first OSPAR assessment of physical disturbance from bottom trawling is now presented, which shows that 86% of the assessed areas in the Greater North Sea and the Celtic Seas are physically disturbed, of which 58% is highly disturbed. Consistent fishing pressure occurs in 74% of all assessed areas, which is very likely to affect the ability of habitats to recover.
Bottom fishing pressure is one of several pressures that need to be taken into consideration in assessing the cumulative effects of human activity on benthic habitats. In future, this indicator will be developed to include pressures other than bottom fishing.
Alongside this assessment, a new multi-metric approach has been developed to assess the condition of benthic habitats in relation to the full range of pressures, including from other human activities. First assessments under this approach examine the condition of coastal habitats in response to nutrient and organic enrichment and species diversity in subtidal sediments in the southern North Sea in response to physical disturbance caused by fishing.
The post IA2017 – Benthic habitats affected by bottom fisheries appeared first on Marine Scotland.
Last month our Ships Co-ordinator joined the Alba na Mara for a day to observe colleagues during the East Coast Scallop Dredging Survey 0917A. The aim of this visit was to get a better understanding of the scallop dredging process, the equipment and techniques used, and the challenges associated with this sampling method.
The feedback from the trip was that the scientists, skipper and crew aboard were really helpful; providing detailed explanations of procedures used and answering questions fully and with enthusiasm. The wheelhouse and deck operations, as well as the sampling processes, were expertly carried out and there were also some opportunities to discuss potential improvements during future operations.
Scallop dredge hauls were made at the sites shown below on Figure 1 for 30 minutes each time. From each haul all of the scallops were measured to the half centimetre below and aged. Numbers and size distribution of commercial fish and shellfish species were recorded; along with scallop shell damage, and starfish numbers and species. Scallops were also collected for genetic analysis.
Some of you may be aware of Marine Scotland MAPS NMPi (National Marine Plan interactive), Marine Scotland’s key tool for sharing data with stakeholders. It continues the innovation started by Scotland’s Marine Atlas and its follow up e-publication. It’s an online, interactive GIS-based tool allowing you to view different types of information, as map layers, at a scale of your choice.
Updates are happening regularly and in improvements made this week, users now have additional flexibility including:
- Keyword search – NMPi layers will be tagged with keywords and a new dialogue box is used to filter on them. For now the only ‘Vocabulary’ available is ‘layer properties’. This will allow users to identify, for example, all the layers that can be downloaded. Additional vocabularies will be developed in the future that will tag NMPi layers so allowing greater ease of finding data / information.
- Improved links for data download – in future rather than download data from NMPi, links will be provided from where data can be downloaded. For Marine Scotland data this will generally be a link to the appropriate SSDI (Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure, the Scottish INSPIRE portal) page where full metadata and files will be available. For 3rd party data (not previously available from NMPi) it could be to either that party’s SSDI page or other web page where data are available. MS links are available straight away. Marine Scotland will be providing signposts to 3rd party data sources rather than providing the actual data. We will populate 3rd party links over coming months.
- Links to Metadata – The Marine Scotland INFORMATION pages that support MAPS NMPi also contain some metadata for all the NMPi layers. These can now be accessed using the right click context menu and clicking on ‘Show Metadata’
- Refreshed icons – the opportunity has been taken to refresh the buttons on NMPI but their functionality remains the same.
- Time aware – when first activating the time aware function now (right click context menu), the first time period of data will show on screen. Previously all the data showed until you clicked the time aware start button. If you still wish to see all the data for the whole period of data included in the layer, do not activate time aware.
- Mobile site – small changes have been made to the way the layer control works on the mobile site which is accessed by users when on a tablet or phone.
More details about these changes can be found in our quarterly update report.
Marine birds are valuable indicators of ecosystem condition. OSPAR assesses the abundance and breeding success of marine birds.
In the Norwegian Arctic, the Greater North Sea and the Celtic Seas, there has been a considerable (>20%) drop in abundance compared to the levels observed 25 years ago, for more than a quarter of the marine bird species assessed. Frequent and widespread breeding failure has been observed for many species, especially those feeding on small fish in the surface waters of the Greater North Sea and Celtic Seas. Prey availability is likely to be driven by ecosystem-specific changes, possibly impacted by commercial fisheries and climate change.
In the last OSPAR Quality Status Report (QSR 2010), OSPAR highlighted the occurrence of breeding failure in parts of the Greater North Sea and the Arctic, and stressed the need for research into links between environmental factors and the long-term health of marine bird populations.
Marine Scotland is tracking salmon from uly 2017 and would like your help!
Atlantic salmon can migrate thousands of miles – from home rivers to high seas feeding grounds, and back to spawn – but how they find their home river remains a mystery.
A number of historic tagging studies have shown that fish captured in coastal nets at one location have then been recaptured in nets much further around the coast, but our picture of homing movements is very patchy.
To try and address this, these data are being augmented by a modern acoustic tracking study due to commence in July this year. Up to 750 salmon will be captured in a net fishery on the north coast of Scotland and fitted with miniature transmitters. A network of receivers is being deployed around Scotland to detect where those fish then go. The study will add to our knowledge of the extent to which coastal fisheries impact of different rivers as well as increasing our understanding of salmon homing behaviour.
If you catch a salmon with a tag (as shown in the attached photograph) near the dorsal fin, then please remove it by cutting through the plastic cord to remove the acoustic black cylinder). Please note that the colour of the cord may vary from yellow.
Please send the acoustic tag, also with a note of day and location of capture, to:
Armadale Tracking, Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory,
Please enclose your name, postal and email (if applicable) address and we will send you £20 in reward.
If you have any other information about the fish (eg a photo, length, sex) then please nclude it when you send in the tag. However, please do not delay the safe return of the fish to the water to obtain any such information.
The Armadale Tracking Team
Considerable progress has been made in developing OSPAR’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) network.
Since the last OSPAR Quality Status Report (QSR 2010), a further 289 MPAs have been added to the network, bringing the total number to 448. MPAs now cover 5.9% of the OSPAR Maritime Area compared with a total coverage of only 1.1% in 2010.
OSPAR is undertaking further work to understand what constitutes an ecologically-coherent and well-managed MPA network, and additional efforts are needed to implement the management measures necessary to achieve the conservation objectives of the protected features of OSPAR MPAs.
Successful ecosystem-based management of the OSPAR MPAs in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) requires coordination between the organisations responsible for regulating human activities in these areas. As a start, OSPAR and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) have an ongoing arrangement in place to take into account each other’s objectives and activities.
The post IA2017 – The network of OSPAR Marine Protected Areas is expanding appeared first on Marine Scotland.
The OSPAR Intermediate Assessment 2017 (or IA2017K) is an assessment of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic and its current status. It’s not the first time they’ve done this – its previous holistic assessment, the QSR 2010, was a culmination of ten years of joint assessment and monitoring by OSPAR Contracting Parties and seven years on, with the benefit of significant developments in monitoring and assessment methodology, the IA 2017 provides an update on the 2010 assessment as well as presenting some new indicators and assessment methodology.
But who are OSPAR? OSPAR are a collection of Governments and the European Union who are working together to improve the marine environment. It began in 1972 with the Oslo Convention against dumping and was broadened to cover land-based sources and the offshore industry by the Paris Convention of 1974. The two conventions were unified, updated and extended to form the 1992 OSPAR Convention (OSPAR is so named because of the original Oslo and Paris Conventions (“OS” for Oslo and “PAR” for Paris).
The 15 Governments who have signed and ratified the Convention are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, along with Luxembourg and Switzerland. Marine Scotland, along with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and all the other members of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy Evidence Groups are all involved in the UK input.
Although their work covers many areas, the recently agreed Intermediate Assessment covers the North-East Atlantic and over the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting the 12 key findings from the assessment, linking it to some information and reading that you might find interesting.
The pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan (PFOW MSP), which was developed by a collaboration of Marine Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and the Highland Council, has won the Excellence in Plan Making Practice category at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2017. The team was presented with the award at a ceremony in London on 15 June 2017. The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the planning industry. They highlight exceptional examples of planning and celebrate the contribution that planners and planning make to society. The PFOW MSP was one of 90 finalists competing across 14 categories and was the only shortlisted entry relating to the marine environment.
The judges’ comments were:
“This plan, a first of its kind for the UK, should be held up as best practice for other councils struggling to integrate land and marine planning into a single plan. It is an interesting and imaginative approach to marine planning and given Britain’s maritime heritage, it’s surprising there aren’t more plans like this one”.
(L to R) Wayne Hemmingway, James Green (Orkney Islands Council), Tracy McCollin (Marine Scotland) , Shona Turnbull (Highland Council), Steffan Rees (Quod)