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River Temperature Research

Fri, 2020-09-18 12:57

Latest research and monitoring from Marine Scotland Science indicates that not only are many rivers now far too warm to support healthy growth of fish, but in some cases summer temperatures can reach levels that cause direct thermal stress.

The latest study from Marine Scotland Science found that during the summer of 2018, the warmest on record, 69% of Scottish rivers experienced temperatures that could cause thermal stress to salmon on at least one day during the months of June to August. Salmon and brown trout thrive in relatively cool rivers.

 

Climate change projections from the UK MET Office suggest that summers as extreme as 2018 could be observed every other year by 2050.

While no rivers experienced temperatures that would cause the immediate death of young salmon, modelling suggested that the warmer rivers exceeded the lethal limit for brown trout.

 

Previous work by Marine Scotland Science has shown that riparian tree cover (trees on the banks of rivers) can shade rivers, thereby reducing river temperatures and providing a readily available management action to mitigate temperature extremes.Newly planted riparian planting along riverbank

This is an issue Marine Scotland Science is addressing through the provision and further development of tools to help managers prioritise future tree planting to protect our rivers, conserve iconic wild salmon and protect and restore valuable fisheries resources.

Scottish Forestry’s Climate Programme recognises the wide-ranging benefits of riparian trees, which include the reduction of thermal stress for flora and fauna living in the river, as well as benefits for natural flood management, erosion and water quality.

 

Further Information

Publication – Predictions of National-Scale River Temperatures: A Visualisation of Complex Space-Time Dynamics

Scottish River Temperature Monitoring Network web pages

Where to plant trees leaflet

Scottish River Temperature Monitoring Network leaflet

Maximum river temperatures June to August 2018 animation

The post River Temperature Research appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Sconser Scallops

Fri, 2020-09-11 08:32

For Food and Drink Fortnight Marine Scotland is putting the spotlight on the seafood sector and people who have been working during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the final part of the series we speak to David Oakes of Sconser Scallops on the Isle Skye which received support through the aquaculture hardship fund. David set up his business, which involves diving to harvest king scallops, in 1987. David said:

January is always the quietest month for me so at the beginning of the year I didn’t really notice an impact on sales, but as we moved into February and March our takings were half of what they should have been and when the lockdown came in, I knew that we were going to be in trouble.

At the height of the season 85% of my time is pretty much spent harvesting and 15% stock moving however in March and April time about 60-70% of it is spent moving stock which is important as it’s what helps to get the king scallops growing to size. The harvesting and the moving make it a long-term operation so while we would have been fine for now, if we didn’t receive hardship funding it would have been difficult for us to continue moving the stocks, which would have an impact on our business in the future.

One of the hardest things for me was to continue to keep motivated to go out and move the stock, especially when I didn’t know when we’d be able to properly sell again. While I did continue to do some private sales to a few locals who were cooking nice meals for themselves, it wasn’t comparable to the sales that we were missing out on from the closure of the restaurants and hotels.

Without the hardship funding I would have struggled to know what to do – it helped to cover the costs of fuel and wages, and was an incentive for me to keep going.

We managed to start trading again in July when hospitality reopened. Even though the island has got a bit quieter and some businesses are struggling, I’m feeling more positive about the rest of the year and I’d say our August sales are in line with what we’d usually expect.

Scallop photo Credit Alison Oakes. Diving photo Credit Ben Oakes

The post Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Sconser Scallops appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Shetland Seafood Auctions

Thu, 2020-09-10 08:31

For Food and Drink Fortnight Marine Scotland is putting the spotlight on the seafood sector and how people have adapted their ways of working in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the fourth part of the series we speak to Norma Williamson of Shetland Seafood Auctions. Over the pandemic two new fishmarkets opened in Shetland, including Lerwick Fish Market which received £1.73 million funding from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund which is administered by the Scottish Government. Norma said:

Both fishmarkets were due to open April time but with COVID-19, work on the new markets had to stop.

When all this happened, we had discussions with the fishermen and the buyers and it was agreed to try and keep business going, so we continued to use the old market at Lerwick and an interim facility in Scalloway.

It was a really difficult few months with Europe closing down in front of us, processors shutting and a lack of demand from wholesalers. We decided that rather than flooding the market and not selling, we would put in some restrictions.

So in April time the fleet was split in two so that each group would only go out for 15 days for the month, and then during May they were divided into even smaller groupings to try and continue to manage the landings. By taking this approach we ended up with a constant supply rather than too much which I think worked fairly well.

Prices have been up and down, but on the whole, the fishing industry in Shetland, compared with other types of industries, has come out of this relatively ok. It’s not oversupplied and it’s keep things ticking so it’s still economically viable.

The work on the new markets managed to restart in June and the new facilities opened in August. They are fantastic and are about double the size of the older markets.

Both fishmarkets are great facilities which are long overdue. For example in the old Lerwick market, the despatch doors were open a lot of the time to make it easier for loading the trucks, as they couldn’t back up to the doors but now it’s all enclosed and brought up to modern and efficient standards. There are also visitor and staff welfare areas in the markets which we didn’t have previously.

For both markets we’ve got various restrictions in place to manage COVID-19 including physical distancing, hand sanitisers and we’ve also tried to make it that the fishermen/fish market operatives stay in the groups that they work in when they enter the market. You also can’t just turn up to the fish markets, you have to do an induction before you arrive.

It’s really good to see both new markets open and apart from the social distancing and the restrictions it feels like things are pretty much back to normal with the number of box landings we’d expect for this time of year.

The post Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Shetland Seafood Auctions appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Tobermory Oysters

Tue, 2020-09-08 09:00

For Food and Drink Fortnight Marine Scotland is putting the spotlight on the seafood sector and how people have adapted their ways of working in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the third part of this series we hear from Shauna Munro who during the pandemic, along with her husband Graeme, has been working to re-establish the shellfish business which her late father David Flockhart set up in the 1970s. Tobermory Oysters received 50% of the £25,000 (£12,500) cost from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund earlier this year which will helped to support the installation of bivalve purification equipment. She said:

Tobermory Oysters - Shauna

Tobermory Oysters – Shauna

My husband Graeme and I inherited the oyster farm from my father when he passed away 11 years ago. It was his big passion, even when he was very unwell in hospital he was still talking me through various tasks over the phone  such as how to feed the algae to the young oysters.

He started his business in 1978 at the present site which was originally bathing pools owned by Tobermory Council. He was also able to purchase the foreshore which is a real asset when growing oysters. Even today you can still see the remains of the diving board and where the changing huts once stood.

The site received very little attention for six years as both my husband and I had full time jobs and little spare time. We were also busy playing at events with our ceilidh band. Around 2014 we began to redevelop the business whilst working full time. Graeme worked in the prison service where his shifts allowed him every 4th week off, this was invaluable. We started from scratch, building a new cabin  to sleep in for workers on site. Every Spring for the past five years we have been putting around 150,000 young oysters in the sea which are then ready to harvest three to four years later. Some grow quicker than others which is why they need hand graded at around six month intervals.

Oysters

Oysters

The first oysters are now at  marketable size, and help with 50% of funding from the EMFF means we can build the bivalve purification system which will finally complete this phase of our project. If all goes to plan we will be up and running by the end of October. Then, when issued with the correct certification, we should be ready to sell our first oysters.

It is very important to us that all methods/equipment used are as environmentally friendly as possible. Every process is completed by hand and any old/surplus equipment for example, old loops and bags,  have been ground down and recycled to make the loops we currently use in our oyster bags.

The hardest thing throughout COVID-19 has been the loss of our incomes, we both gave up our full time jobs to pursue the oyster farm and have been funding this with income from Clappydoo Ceilidh Band but because of the pandemic, all our gigs have been cancelled and we have had to use all of our savings. Thankfully we were issued with critical worker certificates which allowed us to continue working with oysters during the pandemic. If it wasn’t for the EMFF grant we wouldn’t be able to finish our project. The build has also been a challenge, mainly due to no road access therefore everything has had to be taken to the site by foot or by boat.

The new building

The new building

My dad has really been our motivation. He had almost reached the stage we’re at now, but he didn’t have the bivalve purification facilities. Knowing that this is something that he wanted to complete has spurred Graeme and I on. I think he would be very proud of our achievements.

The post Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Tobermory Oysters appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Women in Scottish Aquaculture

Mon, 2020-09-07 09:00

For Food and Drink Fortnight Marine Scotland is putting the spotlight on the seafood sector and how people have adapted their ways of working in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the second part of this series we hear from the new co-chairs of the Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) Teresa Garzon (above left) and Rowena Hoare (above right) who explain how they have led the group through these challenging times.

 What challenges have women working in aquaculture faced during the pandemic?

Many women have been trying to juggle work and childcare whilst working from home. In many instances even home schooling which can be time consuming and challenging! Others have been put on shift patterns to accommodate social distancing at farm sites e.g. one week on one week off, which leaves the partner who remains at home without support. Many researchers’ work halted overnight as laboratories were shut and it was not possible to go sampling in the field, resulting in many people being put on furlough. In addition, all face to face networking events were cancelled or postponed. Indeed, these situations were the case for many people, not only women. However, in some cases default expectations continue to exist that it is women who will pick up the childcare/housework tasks; and some of these attitudes even exist in women’s own expectations of themselves. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has made life more difficult for some women depending on their situation.

How has WiSA adapted and helped people during this time?

WiSA was determined to remain active during lockdown and we quickly adapted a number of our activities to continue in other formats.

During lockdown there were WiSA online coffee mornings and these will continue post lockdown. In addition, a series feature interviews launched – this has been a great success tapping into the wealth of female talent and role models in aquaculture. A webinar with Valeria Montelscot of SAMS and co-ordinator of the Global SeaWeedSTAR programme has kick started what we hope will be a series of informative webinars. Regular steering group meetings continued via Zoom to enable the group to continue driving forward with important aspects such as the mentoring programme on Facebook and designing a newsletter to promote WiSA activities.

What’s the biggest misconception about the aquaculture industry?  

One main misconceptions about a career in aquaculture is that it is a career involving ‘beefy’ physical work and that the sector is utterly male-dominated. However, the industry is at the cutting edge of technology, using sophisticated equipment to monitor livestock, feeding regimens etc. Scotland’s aquaculture sector is full of people committed to improving the sustainability of the industry with an overriding focus on fish health and welfare; the WiSA website features examples of women working on vaccine development and biological controls to reduce the need for medicinal interventions. Producers are increasingly examining the role technology plays in sustained growth, with research areas including enhanced growth rates, appropriate stock maturity regimes, more efficient food conversion, improved disease resistance and control, and efficient selective breeding programmes. Aquaculture already fulfils a vital role in the goal of providing a sustainable and healthy source of protein, achieving and maintaining food security.

What are the priorities for WiSA in the year ahead? And have they had to be adapted given the circumstances?

Keeping in touch with members and their needs is a priority for WiSA in these uncertain times. We will continue to communicate via the website in addition to the interview series, newsletter, online seminars and coffee mornings to enable as much networking and support for members as possible.

What is the one thing you’d say to encourage women to consider a career in aquaculture?

Aquaculture is an exciting sector that offers a huge variety of roles in interesting locations around the world. There are stimulating and rewarding jobs in places as varied as central belt offices, labs and Highland engineering workshops to freshwater hatcheries and remote island marine farms. Other benefits include competitive salaries and plenty of opportunities for travel, training and career progression. WiSA seeks to increase awareness of the diverse roles within the industry; we also offer a range of support to women in the sector as they advance their careers.

Do you have advice for people interested in getting involved in the group?

Contact details can be found on our website which has links to sign-up for the newsletter and an email address to contact us about any advice or to get involved.

The post Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Women in Scottish Aquaculture appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Food and Drink Fortnight – Focus on fishermen working during coronavirus

Sat, 2020-09-05 10:00

For Food and Drink Fortnight Marine Scotland is putting the spotlight on the seafood sector and how people have adapted their ways of working in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the first of this series we hear from fishermen who received hardship funding from the Scottish Government and hear how this has helped them during challenging circumstances.

Boxful of Nephrops

Copyright: Alistair Roberts

Alistair Roberts of Brora Fishing Company Ltd lands langoustines in Greenock, he said:

It was devastating when my two boats were tied up at the start of the pandemic for about five or six weeks. I’m also in the process of building a new boat so I’ve had to put this work out on hold for now.

We were relatively lucky to be among the first to get back at sea because we had quota for langoustines from our mother company in France.  We’re now back out fishing five days during daylight hours. During the summer it is really long, long hours but we need to make hay when the sun shines, and get as much as we can before the winter and the hours close in. Even with this, we’re 50% down in our takings from last year.

Receiving the fisheries hardship funding has been a massive help over these last few months. Even with two small boats we’ve got lots of on-going costs between insurance, pier dues and our six men.

It’s been a really difficult time but the loss of markets has made us consider alternative ways of selling our langoustines. Since June we have been selling directly to people in Greenock at the James Watt Dock on a Thursday night.

It’s not something I would have thought about before, but it’s been an eye-opening experience with people coming to us and telling us they can’t get langoustines like that elsewhere. We’ve had queues of people turning up all just through word of mouth and social media, and for three weeks in a row we completely sold out. Going forward it’s something we will definitely try to keep on doing.

Eilidh Anne at Sea

Copyright: Finlay Oman

Ian Wightman who operates the Eilidh Anne GK2 lands prawns at Largs. He explained:

I could see what was coming so thought I’d try and use the opportunity to try and get things together to paint the boat and utilise the downtime, but everything literally stopped overnight with the markets collapsing and the shipyard completely shutting down.  You always get peaks and troughs but this has been something I’ve never experienced before.

As my business came to an abrupt stop the grant was quickly and effortlessly made available helping me to continue paying for services like marina/berthing fees, insurances and other expenses that seem insignificant until your income has completely dried up.

The grant eased a good deal of the mental torment that myself and my family found ourselves under through no fault of our making.

About 95% of our market is in France so my first week back was in June. While I’m really happy things have gone back we’re still down 40% on where we would usually be. These are testing times but I’m really lucky that I’m able to be back out on a four-day week with quotas from my buyer. The saving grace has been that over the last seven years we’ve focused on a live market. We’re happier working a quota for a premium price with a well-cared for product on a shorter day than catching more than the market can handle for poorer returns.

Jamie McMillan

Copyright: Alan Watson

Jamie McMillan is the owner of Lochfyne Seafarms Ltd a shellfish processing factory and Loch Fyne Langoustines which has three boats catching langoustines, razor clams and king scallops in Tarbert Lochfyne. He received fisheries hardship funding and funding towards the costs of his processing factory through the Seafood Resilience Fund, he said:

Because we export into China, Hong Kong and Singapore, just before Chinese New Year, our markets crashed overnight. We completely lost far east sales but then by 23 March the pandemic had reached Europe and the UK and we had to close our operations for six weeks.

When we reopened we actually found that while we’d lost sales in the far east there was an increase in demand from fishmongers in the UK because everyone was looking to buy local, and we increased our fishmonger trade by about 20%. Over the period we also started a home delivery service on the website where people can do an online shop which has been relatively popular.

The biggest loss since March has been sales to wholesalers and restaurants, it’s starting to come back a bit now, but we’re only running at 70% of what we were doing pre pandemic.

Without the hardship funding, we would have had to close our doors, there’s no getting away from the fact that it helped us survive because even when the business is shut you’ve still got bills coming through the door.

The post Food and Drink Fortnight – Focus on fishermen working during coronavirus appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Proposed seafish amendments for UK Fisheries Bill

Thu, 2020-09-03 11:35

After clause 37

1 After clause 37, insert—

“Sea Fish Industry Authority

Sea Fish Industry Authority: powers in relation to parts of UK

(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 2(1) (duties of the Authority)— (a) after the third “of”, insert “(amongst other things)”, (b) delete the words “as a whole”.

(3) After section 3 (powers of the Authority), insert—

“3A Exercise of functions in relation to different parts of the UK etc.

The Authority may exercise its functions separately and differently in relation to—

(a) the sea fish industry in different parts of the United Kingdom,

(b) sea fish and sea fish products landed in different parts of the United Kingdom,

(c) sea fish and sea fish products trans-shipped in different parts of the sea within British fishery limits adjacent to different parts of the United Kingdom.”.”

2 After clause 37,

insert— “Sea Fish Industry Authority: delegation of functions

(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 3A (exercise of functions in relation to different parts of the UK etc.), insert—

“3B Delegation of functions

(1) The Authority may authorise any other person to exercise on its behalf such of its functions and to such extent as it may determine.

(2) The Authority may give to any person authorised under this section to exercise any of its functions— (a) financial assistance (by way of loan, grant or guarantee),

(b) other assistance including assistance by way of the provision of property, staff or services, for the purposes of those functions.

(3) The giving of authority under this section to exercise a function does not—

(a) affect the Authority’s responsibility for the exercise of the function, or

(b) prevent the Authority from exercising the function itself.”.”

3 After clause 37, insert—

“Sea Fish Industry Authority: accounts and reports

(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 11 (accounts and reports)— (a) after subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) The statement of accounts must specify the total amount of income received in the financial year from levies imposed under section 4 in relation to sea fish or sea fish products landed in Scotland or trans-shipped within the Scottish zone.”,

(b) after subsection (7) insert—

“(7A) The report must include details of how income received from levies imposed under section 4 has been applied in the financial year in respect of each part of the United Kingdom by the Authority in exercising its functions including in particular details, in respect of each part of the United Kingdom, of how the income has been applied by the Authority in—

(a) promoting the efficiency of the sea fish industry in that part,

(b) promoting the marketing and consumption of, and the export of, sea fish and sea fish products relating to that part.”.”

4 After clause 37, insert—

<Sea Fish Industry Authority: plan relating to allocation of Scottish levies

(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 11 (accounts and reports), insert—

“11A Plan relating to allocation of Scottish levies

(1) Before the start of each financial year, the Authority must—

(a) prepare a plan setting out—

(i) an estimate of the total amount of income that the Authority
expects to receive during the financial year from levies imposed
under section 4 in relation to sea fish or sea fish products landed in
Scotland or trans-shipped within the Scottish zone (“Scottish
levies”), and

(ii) a description of how the Authority proposes to apply that income
in the course of exercising its functions, and

(b) refer the plan to the committee appointed under paragraph 16(A1) of
Schedule 1 (“the Scottish committee”) for approval of the Authority’s
proposal mentioned in paragraph (a)(ii).

(2) If, as a result of relevant regulations, the Authority estimates that the total
amount of income that it expects to receive from Scottish levies during a
financial year is greater than the total amount of income that it received from
Scottish levies during the previous financial year, the Authority’s plan
prepared under subsection (1) for the financial year must include a statement
describing how the Authority proposes in particular to apply the additional
income from Scottish levies in the course of exercising its functions.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)—

(a) “relevant regulations”, in relation to a financial year, means—

(i) regulations made by the Authority under section 4(2) during the
previous financial year, and

(ii) regulations which the Authority expects to make, and to be
confirmed by the Scottish Ministers, under section 4(2) during the
financial year,

(b) the total amount of income received by the Authority from Scottish
levies during a previous financial year is the total amount of such income
as recorded in the Authority’s accounts kept under section 11(1) in
respect of that year.

(4) The Authority—

(a) must publish a plan prepared under subsection (1) as soon as reasonably
practicable after receiving the Scottish committee’s approval as
mentioned in subsection (1)(b), and

(b) may publish the plan in such manner as it considers appropriate.

(5) The Authority must, as soon as reasonably practicable after publishing a plan
under subsection (4)—

(a) send a copy of the plan to the Scottish Ministers, and

(b) lay the plan before the Scottish Parliament.

(6) The Authority must have regard to each relevant plan—

(a) in the exercise of its functions, and

(b) in particular, in authorising any other person under section 3B to exercise
any of its functions on its behalf.

(7) A person who is authorised by the Authority under section 3B to exercise any
of the Authority’s functions must have regard to each relevant plan in the
exercise of those functions.

(8) In subsections (6) and (7), “relevant plan”, in relation to the exercise of a
function, means—

(a) the latest plan published under subsection (4), and

(b) any earlier plan published under that subsection in so far as it contains a
proposal mentioned in subsection (1)(a)(ii) (or, as the case may be, in
subsection (2)) to apply income during the financial year in which the
function is being exercised.”.>

5 After clause 37, insert—

“Sea Fish Industry Authority: committee for Scotland

(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In schedule 1 (the Sea Fish Industry Authority), in paragraph 16—

(a) before sub-paragraph (1) insert—

“(A1) The Authority must appoint a committee for the purpose of assisting the Authority in the exercise of its functions in relation to the sea fish industry in Scotland.

(A2) The committee is to consist of or include persons who are not members of the Authority.

(A3) The Authority must consult the committee on the exercise of its functions in relation to the sea fish industry in Scotland.”,

(b) in sub-paragraph (1), before “committees” insert “other”,

(c) in sub-paragraph (2), for “such committees” substitute “committees appointed under this paragraph”.”

6 After clause 37, insert—

“Sea Fish Industry Levies Sea Fish Industry Levies: powers in relation to Scotland and the Scottish Zone

(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 4 (levies)—

(a) in subsection (2), for “Ministers” substitute “appropriate Ministerial authority”,

(b) in subsection (7), for “Ministers” substitute “appropriate Ministerial authority”,

(c) after subsection (8) insert—

“(8A) In this section, “appropriate Ministerial authority” means—

(a) in relation to sea fish or sea fish products landed in Scotland or transshipped within the Scottish zone, the Scottish Ministers,

(b) in any other case, the Ministers.”,

(d) in subsection (9), after “order” in both places where it occurs insert “of the Ministers”,

(e) after subsection (9) insert—

“(9A) Any order of the Scottish Ministers—

(a) under subsection (2) is subject to the negative procedure,

(b) under subsection (7) is subject to the affirmative procedure.

(9B) Before laying a draft Scottish statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (7) before the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Ministers must consult—

(a) the committee appointed under paragraph 16(A1) of Schedule 1, and

(b) such other persons as they consider appropriate.”.

(3) In section 14 (interpretation of Part 1), in the definition of “the Ministers”, in paragraph (c), after “with” insert “(except in the case of an order under section 4(2) or (7))”.

(4) In schedule 2 (Sea Fish Industry Levies)—

(a) for “Ministers” in each place where it occurs substitute “appropriate Ministerial authority”,

(b) after paragraph 3 insert—

“4 The Scottish Ministers must, before making an order confirming any regulations, consult—

(a) the committee appointed under paragraph 16(A1) of Schedule 1, and

(b) such other persons as they consider appropriate.

5 In this schedule, “appropriate Ministerial authority” has the same meaning as in section 4 of this Act.”.”

7 After clause 37, insert—

“Sea Fish Industry Levies: definitions relating to Scotland and the Scottish Zone

(1) The Fisheries Act 1981 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 14 (interpretation of Part 1), after the definition of “the Ministers” insert— ““Scotland” and “the Scottish zone” have the same meanings as in the Scotland Act 1998 (see section 126(1) and (2) of that Act);”.”

The post Proposed seafish amendments for UK Fisheries Bill appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Scottish Marine Energy Research Symposium

Thu, 2020-09-03 11:27

Save the date for the fourth Scottish Marine Energy Research Symposium (ScotMER), taking place over three half days on 27, 28 and 29 October. This year the symposium will be held virtually for the first time which means there will be a wider programme of talks and topics available to attend.

The symposium, which is supported by the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) as the delivery partner, will present recent research on seabirds, mammals, fish and socio-economics as well as provide an update on the Scottish Government’s commitment to a Blue Economy Action Plan and the work to support the Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind.

The work of ScotMER aligns with the Blue Economy Action Plan, which was announced in the 2020-21 Programme for Government builds on the work of ScotMER as it aims to unlock opportunities in areas like skills, science, innovation, infrastructure and regulation by taking a more joined-up strategic approach and encouraging collaborations in marine sectors such as offshore renewables, aquaculture and fisheries.

The symposium will also set out priorities for future ScotMER research with Crown Estate Scotland announcing that it will be partnering with Marine Scotland to co-fund five new projects to help improve the evidence base and assessment methodologies for decision-making relating to the next generation of offshore wind projects.

ScotMER supports the Scottish Government’s climate change ambitions, by providing scientific evidence to promote sustainable developments of the offshore renewables industry. The symposiums are organised as an opportunity to present ScotMER’s findings to representatives from environmental organisations, renewables and fishing industries, regulatory and advisory bodies, and academics.

While limitations on venue size have led to past symposiums being themed, the virtual nature of October’s event means there are no restrictions and there will be a diverse programme of speakers ranging from talks on unique Scottish reefs to seabird behaviour in the sky. A recording will also be made available following the event.

Information on how to sign up for the sessions will be published shortly on the Marine Scotland Blog and through the MASTS network. 

For more

ScotMER March 2020 Symposium

The post Scottish Marine Energy Research Symposium appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Seafood sector preparations for the end of the EU Exit Transition Period

Wed, 2020-09-02 16:17
Introduction

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end on the 31st of December 2020. From that point forward, businesses trading with EU Member States, EFTA countries and several other countries will do so on a ‘3rd country’ basis, which will have documentation and certification implications that we have not been accustomed to for several decades. Negotiations continue with the EU with respect to a trade agreement, but the significance of that mainly relates to tariffs: the new non-tariff trading obligations are likely to largely remain in force.

The Scottish Government worked hard to provide helpful information and guidance to importing and exporting businesses in 2019, and that material remains relevant and applicable to the circumstances we are likely to encounter at the end of 2020. However, new issues have emerged since then, and this update document covers some of these. Work is still ongoing on several issues, and we will brief you on each of these as they are resolved – expect further update communications over the next few weeks and months. Some of the links we provide in this paper will remain active and may be updated – it is worth checking back with them from time to time.

We should note that much of the material we direct you to is UK government information/guidance, but it doesn’t always apply in Scotland due to many policy areas being devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This is why tailored guidance and support for Scottish seafood stakeholders will be required and is in preparation. It is also worth noting that the UK government does not necessarily represent Scotland’s views on some matters, and in some instances the approach taken by the UK government in devolved areas is yet to be agreed by Scottish Ministers.

There will be inevitable overlaps in the information provided in the links referred to in this document. The Scottish Government seeks to ensure that this guidance is up-to-date and accurate. However, requirements may change. You should consider seeking professional advice before making specific preparations. This guidance does not constitute legal or professional advice and we cannot accept liability for actions arising from its use. The Scottish Government is not responsible for the content of pages referenced by external links.

The following sections contain the main topics seafood exporters and importers will need to consider. Click on the relevant embedded hyperlinks.

European Commission Guidance

The EC offers guidance on what traders need to do to prepare for the end of the transition period: guidance.

Guidance on the Marine Scotland website

Marine Scotland produced guidance material on international trade in 2019, preparatory to a potential no-deal Brexit – guidance. We would urge you to visit this website in the first instance, and consider downloading the guidance leaflets and following up the links that would be relevant to your business.

Preparing for Brexit on Scottish Government website

For additional comprehensive guidance from the Scottish Government, please visit this website: preparing for Brexit.

Fishing Vessel Registration and Inspection by LA’s – URGENT

Marine Scotland believes there is now good industry knowledge about the requirement for all vessels intending to put their catch into an export supply chain to be a registered food business. This requires an inspection, which will be undertaken by Local Authority officials. Food Standards Scotland has been leading this initiative, and details can be found here: guidance.

Listed Food Businesses

Although this topic will potentially be covered in some of the other guidance referred to in this paper, please also see: guidance.

UK Transition website

As a general portal to all things related to the end of the transition period, the UK government has launched its Transition website.

The Border Operating Model

Much of the information you will need to trade with EU Member States, whether as an importer or an exporter, is contained within the recently published Border Operating Model. This is an extensive document, and much of it is not relevant to the seafood sector. Nevertheless, some of the generic guidance to importers and exporters is valuable, and there are specific sections related to seafood sector trade. Webinars are available. Importers should note the UK government’s proposal to phase the requirements for imports over the first six months of 2021. In addition, there is a UK government consultation for 2025.

How to import and export goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021

HM Revenue and Customs put this guidance material online on the 13th of July.

Export Health Certificates

Seafood sector exporters will be aware of the need for Export Health Certificates after the end of the transition period, and this topic is covered in some of the other guidance referred to in this paper. There is a lot of useful information contained within the following webpages. In addition you can search for available certificates. SG and FSS are proposing FSS leads on EHC provision at a minimum of two key logistics hubs in Scotland, which will operate a ‘groupage’ system to help food business export effectively and efficiently after the EU-exit transition period. More information will shortly be communicated, and will be available through the Brexit section of the Food Standards Scotland website.

Marine and Fisheries Compliance

Effective monitoring and enforcement of marine and fishing laws is vital if we are to protect Scotland’s valuable marine areas and fisheries. It is important that these are protected by detecting breaches of fisheries regulations by monitoring and inspection at sea and in ports, and then reporting as appropriate to the prosecuting authorities, and by providing intelligence on fishing activity in the sea areas around Scotland. Comprehensive guidance on all relevant issues, and particularly Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and Catch Certificates can be found here: guidance.

The Northern Ireland Protocol

The UK government recently published first a ‘command paper’ on the NI border, then the NI Business Guidance, which is intended to outline some of the requirements for the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The guidance includes a section on moving consignments of fish from GB to NI, and for GB vessels landing fish directly into NI. Other aspects of the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol are still subject to the outcome of negotiations. The working assumption is that Export Health Certificates (EHCs) will be required for trade in products of animal origin between GB and NI. Further guidance will be issued in due course.

MMO survey

The Marine Management Organisation has just launched a survey with registered users of the Catch Certificate system. MMO is only going to contact its English registered users, but there is an expectation that Scottish registered users should also get involved in the survey – and we would urge you to do so. The link to the survey is here.

Seafish Guidance

Seafish has produced guidance that will help prepare seafood businesses for the end of the transition period. It focusses on the day-to-day scenarios likely to be encountered. This includes food safety, traceability and trade, but does not cover issues arising from the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Seafood Scotland Guidance

As Seafood Scotland notes “In light of the imminent departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, it is essential that actions are taken by the Seafood industry to ensure continued success, deal or no deal”. The website contains helpful information and links.

The Short Straits consultation

Scottish seafood exporters suppling live or fresh product to the EU market have been concerned about possible delays in crossing the English Channel, especially at the Short Straits. They may be reassured to learn that Scottish Government pressure has resulted in a proposal to have a prioritisation scheme for live/fresh seafood – albeit only to be activated on a fall-back basis, if vehicles are starting to pile up. There is a consultation on the proposals, which we would urge you to participate in if it is still active when you receive this.

Further Information

Please keep checking back to relevant Scottish Government websites for updates, and of course several more of these update briefings will be widely circulated in due course.

Much of the online guidance we have pointed you towards contains details of who you can contact for further advice, in relation to the specific area or topic you are concerned about.

If you have any general enquiries that you would like to direct to Marine Scotland, Food and Drink Division or Food Standards Scotland, the contact details are:

Marine Scotland: MARINE.BREXIT@GOV.SCOT
Food and Drink Division: goodfoodnation@gov.scot
Food Standards Scotland: enquiries@fss.scot

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Vacancy: Fishing Mate – closing date 22 September

Wed, 2020-09-02 11:30

We are currently seeking applications for a Fishing Mate within the Marine Scotland Compliance based in various locations. This is a permanent and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

Overview:

We are currently seeking applications for a Fishing Mate to work for Marine Scotland on board one of our Marine Research Vessels. This is a permanent and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

We are seeking applications from an experienced Fishing Mate to be part of the crew that ensures the safe and efficient operation of the vessel, under the direction of the Commanding Officer. You will be a navigational watch keeper who is experienced in fishing and able to assist Fishing Master with the operation of fishing and scientific equipment and operations.

You will also have responsibility for Passage Planning and maintenance of charts and nautical publications, including Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs), and for inspecting and ensuring that all lifesaving appliances (LSA), portable firefighting equipment (FFE) and pollution prevention equipment are maintained in good condition and ready for immediate use.

Main duties:
  • Assisting the Commanding Officer or Fishing Master to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the vessel.
  • Acting as Navigational Watchkeeper as required for navigation and science programmes.
  • Assisting the Fishing Master with regard to fishing and science equipment and operations.
  • Ensuring bridge and navigational equipment is operational, and informing Commanding Officer of any deficiencies.
  • Passage Planning, maintenance of charts and nautical publications, including ENCs for the ECDIS.
  • The upkeep and filing of Publications supplied by the contracted chart Agent as part of the new edition service. This also includes the update of Admiralty Digital Publications. (ADPs).
  • Inspecting and ensuring that all lifesaving appliances (LSA), portable firefighting equipment (FFE) and pollution prevention equipment are maintained in good condition and ready for immediate use and reporting any deficiencies to Commanding Officer.
  • Maintaining records for LSA and FFE.
Important Information Regarding Interviews:

In recognition of the Scottish Government’s ongoing measures and guidance in its response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus), we would like to advise applicants that a decision has been taken that all interviews must be conducted in a virtual/remote setting. In order to facilitate this new way of working, we are asking all applicants to ensure that they have a suitable space to complete the virtual interview as well as a personal device of choice with an account registered to the ‘Zoom’ app by which you can undertake the interview/assessment if selected. We are also asking you to ensure that your personal Wi-Fi/Broadband capacity will be sufficient to carry both audio and video feeds to undertake the interview. This will then ensure that there are no issues incurred during the interview.

Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Mari Valli or Lewis Mitchell who can be contacted on mscompliancebsu@gov.scot. If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the Resourcing Team recruitment@gov.scot.

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Vacancy: Oceanographic Modeller, Aberdeen – closing date 21 September

Wed, 2020-08-26 15:00

We are currently seeking applications for an Oceanographic Modeller within the Marine Scotland Science Department based in Aberdeen. This is a Fixed Term Appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

Overview:

This is a post to carry out numerical (hydrodynamic and bio-physical) modelling to develop a modelling framework for aquaculture applications in Scottish waters, in particular managing interactions between sea lice from fish farms and wild salmonids. This project is part of ongoing activities by Marine Scotland Science (MSS) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), using hydrodynamic modelling tools developed by MSS for aquaculture development pre-screening and marine spatial planning. This work contributes to the strategic development of a regulatory framework with close involvement of SEPA and stakeholders (e.g. Farmed Fish Health Framework sea lice sub-group and Crown Estate Scotland).

This post in the dynamic Oceanography Group, which performs varied cutting-edge research, would have access to HPC facilities and advanced oceanographic instrumentation.  This is a unique opportunity to apply state of the art research on oceanographic modelling and analysis in a policy/regulatory context, with highly publishable outcomes.

Qualifications Required:

A relevant postgraduate qualification in a mathematical, physical or any other relevant discipline with clear evidence of a strong numeric ability.

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the qualification as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

Essential Criteria:

1. Experience of development or use of hydrodynamic models and oceanographic data sets (preferably) or equivalent physical environmental data (e.g. meteorological models and data)
2. Knowledge and experience of scientific quality assurance procedures, scientific data handling and processing.
3. Expert knowledge of one or more high-level programming languages (e.g. C, Fortran, Matlab, Python, R).
4. Good verbal communication skills to ensure that you can work effectively within the team and engage with other scientists, policy colleagues and stakeholders.

Provisional sift and interview dates:

TBC

Important Information Regarding Interviews:

In recognition of the Scottish Government’s ongoing measures and guidance in its response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus), we would like to advise applicants that a decision has been taken that all interviews must be conducted in a virtual/remote setting. In order to facilitate this new way of working, we are asking all applicants to ensure that they have a suitable space to complete the virtual interview as well as a personal device of choice with an account registered to the ‘Zoom’ app by which you can undertake the interview/assessment if selected. We are also asking you to ensure that your personal Wi-Fi/Broadband capacity will be sufficient to carry both audio and video feeds to undertake the interview. This will then ensure that there are no issues incurred during the interview.

Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Alejandro Gallego. If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the Resourcing Team.

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Vacancy: Policy Manager – Access to Sea Fisheries, Edinburgh, closing date 15 September

Wed, 2020-08-26 11:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Policy Manager within Marine Scotland based in Edinburgh. This is a permanent and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

This post offers the opportunity to work in a dynamic and high-profile policy area. Scotland’s marine resource is of key importance to the Scottish Government and our policies need to balance protection for the marine environment with requirements of the rural economy – where sea fishing is often a key employer in fragile coastal communities.  In addition, Brexit presents new challenges and opportunities for the management of sea fishing.

We have close relationships with a broad range of external stakeholders including the fishing industry, environmental NGOs, community groups and other UK administrations. Working closely with these groups we develop evidence based policies to manage Scotland’s fishing opportunities and access to the sea fisheries resource. The team work is wide-ranging from managing Scotland’s fishing opportunities, managing the implications of leaving the EU on domestic regulations to development oversight of new or expanding fishing opportunities.

Qualifications Required:

For jobs in Band B & C you must hold a minimum of 3 Highers or equivalent. Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact to discuss.

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

Essential Criteria:

1. Well organised and the ability to balance competing demands whilst maintaining attention to detail and meeting targets.
2. Strong communication skills (both written and verbal) and confidence in working constructively with colleagues across the organisation and a range of external stakeholders.
3. Ability to work effectively as part of a team, sharing information and communicating effectively.
4. Good project management skills, with the ability to collate and analyse information, and present it clearly and succinctly.

Important Information Regarding Interviews:

In recognition of the Scottish Government’s ongoing measures and guidance in its response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus), we would like to advise applicants that a decision has been taken that all interviews must be conducted in a virtual/remote setting. In order to facilitate this new way of working, we are asking all applicants to ensure that they have a suitable space to complete the virtual interview as well as a personal device of choice with an account registered to the ‘Zoom’ app by which you can undertake the interview/assessment if selected. We are also asking you to ensure that your personal Wi-Fi/Broadband capacity will be sufficient to carry both audio and video feeds to undertake the interview. This will then ensure that there are no issues incurred during the interview.

Further Information:
For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Ellen Huis. If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Recruitment@gov.scot.

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Protecting and researching our seas

Tue, 2020-08-25 13:00

You may have seen our recent tweet showing the launch of the marine protection vessel (MPV) Hirta, it really is quite a thrilling moment when you watch the vessel hit the water. The MPV Hirta launched in Gdansk, Poland on 17 August 2007 and so began life on the waves as part of our fleet.

Marine protection vessel Hirta. Crown copyright

Our marine protection vessels are managed ‘in house’ by Marine Scotland Compliance. The marine protection vessels are responsible for deterring and detecting illegal activities. The vessels are deployed according to operational requirements.

During their patrols aboard the MPVs our Marine Enforcement Officers (MEOs) gather information and monitor activity, as well as routinely board and inspect the catches and fishing gear of the fishing fleet at sea. This can take the crew of around 17 out to 200 nautical miles and sometimes beyond when required.

Another August Launch

Another vessel in our fleet that was also launched in August, but a year later is the marine research vessel (MRV) Alba na Mara. The Alba na Mara was launched on 29 August 2008 in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire near to where the vessel had been built to specification.MRV Alba na Mara at sea. Crown Copyright

Staffed with eight crew and five scientists the MRV Alba na Mara is generally used for fish and shellfish stock assessment and environmental monitoring in the North Sea, and on the west coast of Scotland. The vessel usually completes around 22 research surveys per year. However due to coronavirus restrictions this has unfortunately not been the case this year.

At this time of year the MRV Alba na Mara would usually be in the midst of the annual East Coast Nephrops survey. This survey collects information about the  distribution and abundance of Nephrops burrows, using our towed underwater camera systems. This type of work would usually take around two weeks to complete – to read more about what a typical Nephrops survey would entail check out our blog posts from last year’s survey.

 

Further Information:

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Sharks, skates and rays

Thu, 2020-08-13 13:00

It’s shark week and with over 30 species of sharks, skates and rays recorded in Scottish waters there’s a lot to celebrate!

Sharks are part of the elasmobranch family, which also includes skates and rays. Elasmobranchs differ from other fish in the sea by having a skeletal structure made out of cartilage as opposed to bone.

Picture showing basking shark. IStock CopyrightElasmobranchs range throughout the oceans and can be found in all oceanic and coastal zones. All sharks and rays living in Scottish waters are included in the OSPAR list of Threatened and/or Declined Species which assesses the species and habitats in the OSPAR maritime area that need to be protected.

All elasmobranchs share life history characteristics which make them vulnerable to overfishing. This vulnerability means that once depleted, populations take a long time to recover. Many species are also vulnerable to habitat disturbance and loss and some surface dwelling species such as the basking shark are susceptible to boat strikes and harassment from surface vessels.

That is why we have Priority Marine Features (PMFs) which are a variety of habitats and species that are of conservation importance in Scotland’s seas. PMFs are key components of the marine ecosystem and provide a range of beneficial ecosystem services. The following elasmobranchs are classified as such:

Basking shark

The basking shark is the second largest fish in the world and the largest in British waters, growing up to 9.8m in length. They are known to migrate over large distances in both offshore and coastal waters at depths from the surface to over 750m. They are particularly associated with tidal fronts on the continental shelf and shelf edge where they feed on plankton.

Basking sharks have been recorded from around the whole Scottish coast, with sightings peaking in the summer months especially at a number of hot spots on the west coast. Marine Scotland recently consulted on a proposed Marine Protected Area (MPA) to protect basking shark in the Sea of the Hebrides.

Spiny dogfish

This is a large dogfish reaching 1.6m in length and is one of the most abundant shark species in the world. It is widely distributed in Scottish waters and is found just above the sea bed, typically at depths of 10-200m (but can be as deep as 900m).

Porbeagle shark

The porbeagle shark can reach 3.5m in length and is usually found in mid-water between 200-700m, but sometimes in shallower water closer to the inshore. It is widely distributed around Scotland although considered rare.

Portuguese dogfish

This dogfish can reach 1.2m in length and is a deepwater species found in depths of between 400-2700m on the continental slope and right down to the abyssal plain. Around Scotland it is found on the continental slope west of the Outer Hebrides and on the flanks of offshore seamounts and banks such as Rockall and Rosemary Bank, located west and northwest of the Scottish coast.

Leafscale gulper shark

The leafscale gulper shark can reach 1.6m in length and is another deepwater species with a depth range of between 500 – 1500m. Around Scotland its geographic range broadly mirrors that of the Portuguese dogfish.

Common skate

What used to be called common skate is actually two species. The larger flapper skate can grow up to 2.5m in length, and is found at depths down to 600m. It has been recorded from all around Scotland. It was once abundant in north-west Europe but there have been significant declines around the UK over the last century due to overfishing. The Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura Marine Protected Area (MPA) is the only MPA designated for the protection of this species.

The slightly smaller common blue skate is less commonly encountered around Scottish waters than the flapper skate apart from on Rockall Bank where it predominates. It inhabits a very similar depth range to that of the flapper skate.

Blue shark

The blue shark can grow up to 3.8m in length. As part of its annual migration, it can be found in offshore areas to the west of Scotland as well as on offshore banks such as Rockall Bank during the summer months. It is found at depths from the surface down to 600m.

Sandy ray

The sandy ray can reach 1.2 m in length and occurs at depths from 70-600m. It is an offshore species typically found on sandy or muddy sea beds to the west of Scotland but can also be found elsewhere around the coast.

Further Information:

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Marine Scotland Science publications for July

Mon, 2020-08-10 11:05

Marine Scotland Science, as a core Scottish Government (SG) Division, is working to support SG’s overall COVID-19 response. It also continues to sustain critical marine science delivery and has over the last month produced the following notable publications:

  • Begg, T., Graham, J. & Matejusova, I. (2020). The marine invasive non-native species Didemnum vexillum: Loch Creran Survey – September 2019. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science, Vol 11, No 5, 17pp.
    The marine invasive non-native species: Loch Creran survey link
  • Daunt, F., Fang, Z., Howells, R., Harris, M., Wanless, S., Searle, K. & Elston, D. (2020). Improving estimates of seabird body mass survival relationships. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science, Vol 11 No 13, 54pp. DOI: 10.7489/12329-1.
    Improving estimates of seabird body mass survival relationships link
  • ICES. (2020). Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal Stocks in the North Sea and Skagerrak (WGNSSK). ICES Scientific Reports, 2:61. 1102 pp.
    Working  Group on the Assessment of Demersal Stocks in the North Sea … link
  • The latest paper from the Girnock “Quantifying the relative importance of stock level, river temperature and discharge on the abundance of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)” has been published. This paper brings together >50 years of data on adult number, ova deposition and juvenile production, the latest developments in hydrological and river temperature modelling and methods developed at FFL for modelling salmon abundance on river networks to assess the relative effects of environment and natural population regulation on juvenile salmon production. The headline finding is that most of the year to year variability in observed juvenile numbers could be explained by stock level and that discharge temperature and artificial stocking effects were much smaller.
    Quantifying the relative importance of stock level, river temperature and … link

The following papers have been produced through the Scottish Government’s Scottish Marine Research Energy Programme (ScotMER):

Additional Information:

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Marine Mammals – updated demographics – how do we measure that?

Thu, 2020-08-06 10:00

Understanding the impacts of human activities, and preventing harm to habitats and species, is one of the biggest challenges to marine industries. The Scottish Government’s Scottish Marine Research Energy Programme (ScotMER) has published three new studies to assist when assessing the impact of offshore renewable developments on marine mammals. These new reports pull together key information on species to better inform marine spatial planning and environmental impact assessments.Picture showing an array of wind turbines in the sea. Crown copyright

Scientists and regulators must rely on predictions, or models, to find out important information about where animals might be found, how many of them there are and how they survive and reproduce. These models are also used to assess potential disturbance or injury caused by noise from ships, pile driving or blasting, collisions with underwater devices, or disruption to an important food supply. However to build useful models, it is vital to have accurate inputs to these models, which often come from scientific observations in the field.Picture showing seal resting on rocks. Crown copyright.

One of the most critical factors in assessing potential impacts to a marine mammal species is whether or not a particular species is likely to occur in the region of a development. For animals like marine mammals, which spend most of their time underwater, it is very difficult to monitor their whereabouts. Scientists can use visual observations or acoustic detectors, which record the unique sounds made by dolphins and porpoises.

Using these observations/detections, scientists can produce density maps based on the estimated number of animals within an area. These density maps can then be used to determine not just whether a species is likely to be present, but how many individuals might be impacted.

Even trickier, is finding out important information about their lives such as how long they might live for, when they start breeding or how often they give birth. This allows accurate predictions of how the population will fare over time under different conditions. Also of interest is how much energy from their food they need each day and if certain human activities could prevent them from getting this energy. All of this information, is used to work out if any impacts to a certain number of these animals, could actually lead to severe effects on the whole population in the longer term.

To find out more about these studies please see the links below: Further reading:

 

 

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New research into marine renewables

Tue, 2020-07-28 10:04

New insights on seabird behaviour and best practice methods for licensing will help government and industry better understand the implications of marine renewables on seabirds.

The papers, which have been produced through the Scottish Government’s Scottish Marine Research Energy Programme (ScotMER) used a mixture of new analyses, modelling and GPS tracking and breeding colony data.

The research provides more information about seabirds including their behaviour at sea, improved estimates of their survival rates and better understanding of the links between habitats and breeding colonies. This will inform new guidance on seabird population analysis and map how sensitive certain populations can be to potential offshore wind locations.

As a result of this new research:

  • There is increased understanding of seabird habitat use and how the potential impacts at proposed windfarm sites link to seabird breeding colonies and Special Protected Areas
  • The accuracy of important parameters including bird flight height, flight speed and the influence of body mass on survival rates has been improved
  • Best practice methods and guidance have been produced to help planners, developers and advisors understand how Seabird Population Visibility Analysis (PVA) should be used in different scenarios for improved estimates of seabird population projections

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

“This new research is helping us understand how we can expand our offshore renewables industry in a way that also protects and enhances the marine environment.

“Renewable energy will play a central role in Scotland’s energy strategy, the stimulation and sustaining of a green recovery in the aftermath of the economic shock created by COVID-19, and our transition to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

“These are key drivers for why we want to harness our fantastic natural resources, which are the envy of many other nations, through creating energy, jobs and unlocking increased investment in the supply chain.  Crucially, though, we need to achieve these economic goals in a way that also protects and pays due regard to the wellbeing of our marine environment, which plays such an important role in making Scotland the attractive place it is to live in, work in or visit, today.

“By bringing together science, planning and environmental interests, the ScotMER programme is significantly improving the scientific evidence for decision making, facilitating transparency and efficiency in the consenting and licensing process, and supporting marine planning as we look towards our final Plan for Offshore Wind and the current ScotWind Leasing round.”

Background

ScotMER is an initiative led by Marine Scotland that involves collaboration from industry, environmental NGOs, Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, and other interested stakeholders, to facilitate the sustainable development of offshore renewable energy in Scottish waters.

ScotMER will publish 16 reports of the summer including five on seabirds.

The first three reports published on 28 July are:

Two further reports will be published on 11 August, and are:

  • Improving our understanding of seabird behaviour at sea using GPS tag data
  • Developing a Bird Sensitivity Mapping tool – Phase 1

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Angling update

Mon, 2020-07-20 08:37

Restrictions on angling have been eased as Scotland moves through Phase 3 of the routemap out of lockdown.

With the five mile travel distance limit for leisure now lifted and holiday accommodation able to re-open, people can now return to fishing across Scotland.

Fisheries Management Scotland has updated its advice to ensure a safe environment for anglers and staff.

Further advice on angling as well as competitive angling, the resumption of coaching and instructing in angling, and guidance for charter boat fishing has been produced by Angling Scotland. 

Individuals should continue to follow the five principles behind the Scottish Government’s FACTS campaign:

  • F – Face coverings
  • A – Avoid public places
  • C – Clean your hands regularly
  • T – Two metre distances
  • S – Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

Further information 

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Recent Marine Scotland Science Publications

Thu, 2020-07-16 14:00

Marine Scotland Science, as a core Scottish Government (SG) Division, is working to support SG’s overall COVID-19 response. It also continues to sustain critical marine science delivery and has over the last month produced the following notable publications:

  • Greathead, C., Magni, P., Vanaverbeke, J., Buhl-Mortensen, L., Janaz, U., Blomqvist, M., Craeymeersch, J., Dannheim, J., Darr, A., Degraer, S., Desroy, N., Donnay, A., Griffiths, Y., Guala, I., Guerin, L., Hinchen, H., Labrune, C., Reiss, H., Van Hoey, G. and Birchenough, S.N.R. (2020). A genetic framework to assess the representation and protection of benthic ecosystems in European marine protected areas. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 30(7), 1253-1275pp.
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.3401
  • ICES. 2020. Workshop on Scallop Aging (WKSA). ICES Scientific Reports, 2:57, 43pp.
    http://doi.org/10.17895/ices.pub.6090.
  • Isaksson, N.,  Masden, E.,  Williamson, B.,  Costagliola-Ray, M., Slingsby, J., Houghton, J. & Wilson, J.M. (2020). Assessing the effects of tidal stream marine renewable energy on seabirds: a conceptual framework. Marine Pollution Bulletin 157.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111314
  • Kazanidis, G., Orejas, C., Borja, A., Kenchington, E.,  Henry, L.-A., Callery, O., Carreiro-Silva, M., Egilsdóttir, H.,  Giacomello, E., Grehan, A., Menot, L., Morato, T., Ragnarsson, S.A., Rueda, J.L., Stirling, D., Stratmann, T., van Oevelen, D., Palialexis, A., Johnson, D. & Roberts, J.M. (In press). Assessing the environmental status of selected North Atlantic deep-sea ecosystems, Ecological Indicators.
    This study was conducted as part of the four-year EU H2020 ATLAS project to assess the effectiveness of the open-access Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool (NEAT) to assess deep-sea environmental status. It considered nine selected study areas in the North Atlantic focusing on five Marine Strategy Framework Directive descriptors (D1-Biodiversity, D3-Commercial fish and shellfish, D4-Food webs, D6-Seafloor integrity, D10-Marine litter). The main objectives of the study were to i) explore and propose indicators that could be used in the assessment of deep-sea environmental status, ii) evaluate the performance of NEAT in the deep sea, and iii) identify challenges and opportunities for the assessment of deep-sea status. https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/ecological-indicators
  • McKenzie, K., Moffat, C.F. and Petrie, B. (2020). Multi-residue enantioselective determination of emerging drug contaminants in seawater by solid phase extraction and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Analytical Methods, 12, 2881.
    https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/ay/d0ay00801j#!divAbstract
  • Rijnsdorp, A.D., Hiddink, J.G., van Denderen, P.D., Hintzen, N.T., Eigaard, O.R., Valanko, S., Bastardie, F., Bolam, S.G., Boulcott, P., Egekvist, J., Garcia, C., van Hoey, G., Jonsson, G., Laffargue, P.,  Nielsen, J.R., Piet, G.J., Sköld, M. & van Kooten, T. (2020). Different bottom trawl fisheries have a differential impact on the status of the North Sea seafloor habitats, ICES Journal of Marine Science.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsaa050
  • Soares, S.M.C.Anderson, H.E.B., Matthews, C., Smith, L., Turnbull, T. & Munro, E.S. (2020). A case study reporting the occurrence of amoebic gill disease in a public marine aquarium. Bulletin of the European Association of Fish Pathologists.
    During a routine veterinary visit to the Macduff Aquarium, two Atlantic salmon and a corkwing wrasse demonstrated clinical signs of amoebic gill disease (AGD), a condition caused by the parasite Neoparamoeba perurans. In addition, the amoeba was also detected for the first time in small spotted catshark, cuckoo wrasse, grey gurnard and red mullet. The detection of positive marine fish to N. perurans highlights the importance of quarantine procedures and veterinary health checks in public aquariums.
  • Slater, A.-M., Irvine, K.N., Byg, A.A., Davies, I.M., Gubbins, M., Kafas, A., Kenter, J, MacDonald, A, O’Hara Murray, R., Potts, T., Tweddle, J.F., Wright, K., and Scott, B.E. (2020). Integrating stakeholder knowledge through modular cooperative participatory processes for marine spatial planning outcomes (CORPORATES). Ecosystem Services, 44.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2020.101126.
  • Eileen Bresnan co-edited issue 64 of Harmful Algae News.
    http://www.e-pages.dk/ku/1466/
    This is a newsletter from the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) containing news about harmful algal events, research and monitoring from around the world. It contains a summary note produced by Eileen of the ICES-IOC Working Group on Harmful Algal Bloom Dynamics (WGHABD) 2020 meeting.
  • Eileen Bresnan also contributed an update from ICES-IOC WGHABD to the ICES Science Highlight – ICES Science and Advice in a Changing Arctic Ocean
    http://ices.dk/news-and-events/news-archive/news/Pages/ICES-Science-Highlights-Arctic.aspx
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Why we publish our science

Thu, 2020-07-09 09:23

From Japanese sardines to the effects of mackerel grazing on plankton in New Zealand, Environment Monitoring and Assessment Programme Manager Dr Bill Turrell explains why a 25-year-old Marine Scotland Science paper on understanding mackerel in Scotland is still having an impact today.

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Recently a notification popped into my inbox which prompted me to write this blog – about why scientists publish their work, and why Marine Scotland Science is a fantastic place to work, and a fantastic resource for Scotland, having multiple marine science disciplines all within one place.

It was an email from ResearchGate which notified me that someone had just cited a paper I was involved in back in 1995 with the Marine Laboratory’s expert on mackerel for many years – Martin Walsh. Back then he wrote many papers describing the migration and distribution of mackerel, and in 1995 he asked myself an oceanographer, and a fisheries acoustic scientist to collaborate to produce the paper with the snappy title “Understanding mackerel migration off Scotland: Tracking with echosounders and commercial data, and including environmental correlates and behaviour” (ICES Journal of Marine Science 52(6):925-939).

Firstly, it was of course a great paper. But the reason it existed at all was because Martin could pop into an oceanographer’s office down the corridor, and ask him about environmental conditions affecting his mackerel, and then collar a fisheries acoustician to ask him to help find and track his mackerel. That is what we have always been great at doing; bringing together many disciplines to study a subject in a holistic way.

Publishing science

So, why is it important for scientists to publish their science? Well, ResearchGate tells me that our 1995 mackerel paper has been cited 42 times since it was published.

The most recent citation that triggered the notification, and which caught my eye, was by a paper studying the heavy metal content of frozen fish being consumed in Nigeria. It surprised me that our study was used in relation to this subject, but it has been cited by two other similar papers. We helped the authors put into context the life history of fish being eaten in Africa. (Although some sharp-eyed readers may note that the journal this paper was published in might well make it into Beall’s List – but that may be the subject of another blog).

Preparing acoustic releases in hydro lab onboard Scotia

Preparing acoustic releases in the hydro lab, old Scotia, 1995. Photo courtesy of George Slesser.

This led me to look at other reasons why authors used our study. These were (number of citations in brackets):

  • The general distribution, life-history and biology of Northeast Atlantic mackerel (13)
  • The effect of mackerel grazing on plankton (including in New Zealand) (3)
  • Black Sea mackerel migration in relation to temperature (1)
  • Environmental impacts of renewable energy (2)
  • Distribution of herring (3)
  • Impacts of climate change (2)
  • Population structuring of Adriatic mackerel (1)
  • Atlantic sardines (1)
  • Acoustic and trawl surveying techniques (2)
  • Theoretical fish behaviour and modelling (2)
  • Fish distribution in relation to satellite imagery (1)
  • Japanese sardines (1)

And we must not forget that the paper has also been cited many times by ICES Working Groups.

So what, in this case, did ResearchGate show us? That the combination of multi-disciplinary science and peer-reviewed publication allowed quite a small study conducted in Aberdeen to support a large range of additional science and advice, in many countries within and outside Europe – supporting areas of marine management not even dreamt of at the time we did the work (such as offshore renewable energy).

And lastly, we of course must never forget that when we wrote the paper back in 1995, we too were building on work published by others before us (we cited 19 previous studies). Thus science progresses and you never know where it will lead.

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