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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

The post Seafood sector preparations for the end of the EU Exit Transition Period appeared first on Marine Scotland.

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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