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Updated: 1 hour 10 min ago

Guidance for interacting with seals

Tue, 2021-02-09 11:00

Scotland is well known for our diverse flora and fauna, both on land and in the sea. Some of the most iconic species seen around our coasts are seals. Scotland is home to a population of approximately 122,000 grey seals and 27,000 harbour (common) seals.

Haul out sites are where the seals come out of the water to rest, moult, breed and to have pups. Seals that are hauled out may be particularly sensitive to approach by humans whether from the land, sea or air and therefore caution is required in such circumstances.

Grey seal cow and pup. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Grey seal cow and pup. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Section 117 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 provides Scottish Ministers with the power to designate seal haul out sites. The sites were identified following work between Marine Scotland and the Sea Mammal Research unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews.  A link to a map of all 195 locations can be found here.

Under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly harass a seal at a designated haul out site. Marine Scotland has produced guidance which includes examples of actions that might constitute harassment and information on behaving responsibly around seal haul outs.

Seal behaviour

Seals rest on land to conserve energy or for females to nurse their young. This is also time when the seals can regulate their temperature while they moult, either due to pups growing in their adult fur, or the annual moult of adults. Regulating temperature in water and swimming all expends energy and when forced to enter the water to avoid a perceived threat seals are stressed and use additional energy. It is also a danger to new pups that may be injured or killed by adults in large groups that rush into the water.

Colony of harbour seals in Millport Bay - Picture courtesy of Jack Lucas. Crown Copyright

Colony of harbour seals in Millport Bay – Picture courtesy of Jack Lucas. Crown Copyright

There are some body language cues that can let you know if you are at risk of disturbing seals. They have a three stage response to a perceived threat:

  1. Heads-up” response – The clue is in the name and is when the seals raise their heads and watch your location and approach. If you see this behaviour, you should back away and/or change your method and speed of approach.
  2. Movement – The seals will start to shift around and appear agitated, if they were laying on their sides they may move to position on their stomachs to allow them to retreat further if they think they need to. If you notice this behaviour you need to back off from the seals so you do not cause the third stage of the response.
  3. Stampede – The seals will quickly retreat from land to the water to escape. This puts the seals at risk of injury as well as any pups that are amongst them.

The Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code (SMWWC) provides recommendations and advice on responsible wildlife watching in three sections: on the coast, on the sea and in the sea. Advice specific to watching seals from the coast:

  • Look up the site you are thinking of visiting to see if there are any local wildlife management schemes or initiatives that provide information on the population. Follow any of their guidance and be aware of the local pupping seasons and avoid visiting breeding sites during these periods.
  • On land, and especially at breeding sites, keep your distance. Keep dogs away as they can become over excited and cause a stampede response. Do not try to touch or feed seals. Seals can move surprisingly fast even on land and as cute as they may appear, they are predators and are known to bite.
  • Do not try to touch or feed seals. Seals can move surprisingly fast even on land, and as cute as they may appear, they are predators and are known to bite.
  • Never separate pups from mothers, this again leads to stress for both mother and pup and risks the pup being abandoned by its mother.
  • If you see any lone pups, leave them alone – the mother may only be foraging for food. There are signs that a pup may have been abandoned which can be found on the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) website.
  • Don’t stay too long as other people may be nearby waiting to see them and you should not crowd or encircle seals. If there are a number of you, keep to one side of the seals and do not stand between them and an escape route to the water.
  • Keep the noise down and avoid sudden movements. Much like you wouldn’t want a loud group of people jumping out and blocking you from leaving your peaceful resting spot.

The world is going through so much right now and mental health is so important. Going for a walk on the beach gives you that dose of fresh air and daily exercise, we just want to ask that you remember to do so safely for the animals that know those beaches as safe places.

Female Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)_©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Female Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)_©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

Frequently asked questions:

  • What is a designated seal haul out site?

A designated haul-out site is any place, which Scottish Ministers designate as such by Order, after consulting with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). These are identified by survey as areas of consistent high density (hotspots) for harbour and grey seals.

  • What are the 195 sites designated for?

Of a total of 149 haul-out sites:

  • 62 are used mainly by harbour seals (Phoca vitulina)
  • 20 are used mainly by grey seals (Halichoerus grypus)
  • 67 are shared by both these species.

An additional 45 sites are grey seal breeding colonies, used by this species specifically during their pupping season.

All of these sites provide protection all year round.

  • Are there any times of year that are particularly sensitive?

Harbour seals usually give birth in early summer (June – July) and spend time ashore in August for their annual moult.

Grey seals give birth in the autumn (September – December) and stay on land for several weeks. Adults and pups leave in the spring once they have finished their moult and the pups have been weaned.

  • What constitutes harassment?

Details on intentional and reckless harassment can be found in the Marine Scotland document guidance on the offence of harassment at seal haul out sites.

  • What should I do if a group of seals reacts to me watching them?

This is an early sign that the seals could be scared from their resting place. If you notice either steps one or two detailed above in the seal behaviour section, you should back away and review your approach.

  • What should I do if I see a seal that doesn’t look healthy?

You can contact Scottish SPCA or BDMLR if you are concerned for the welfare of a seal.

  • What should I do if I suspect someone of committing an offence by harassing seals?

If you are concerned that you have seen someone to commit a wildlife offence, you can contact Marine Scotland Compliance on 0131 244 2286 or via our website.  Alternatively you can contact Police Scotland on 101 or using their website.

  • What about other wildlife?

NatureScot’s guide to best practice for watching marine wildlife provides advice on wildlife watching on land and at sea.

  • What do I do if I find a dead seal?

If you come across a seal carcass, you should contact the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS). To report a stranding: phone/text: 07979 245893 or 01463 243030 or Email: strandings@sruc.ac.uk

When you report a stranding, please try to provide the following information:

  • Date found
  • Location (grid reference if possible)
  • Photographs of the carcase
  • Species or description (see species guide)
  • Overall length (estimation)
  • Condition of the animal
  • Your contact details
Further Information:

Main picture: Harbour seal and pup. Picture provided by Jack Lucas/Crown copyright.

The post Guidance for interacting with seals appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Shetland scallop assessment

Mon, 2021-02-08 16:45

An assessment of Shetland scallop was the focus of the Marine Research Vessel Alba na Mara’s most recent survey.

The stock assessments of scallop stocks undertaken by Marine Scotland Science (MSS) use data on the age structure of stocks, which are estimated from scallops sampled at fish markets and processors and in the MSS scallop dredge survey.

Working out of Lerwick for six days then to Sullum Voe to cover the Yell Sound and Scalloway, Marine Scotland Science colleagues completed  37 stations.

After fishing was completed scientists returned to port where catch from the day was worked up in the wet lab, with an additional scientist boarding each night to help. On a normal pre-Covid survey catch would be worked up and sampled on board at the same time as the next station was fished, but now the sampling and work up must be done in port with less staff.

COVID-19 rules were followed throughout the survey with reduced staff numbers on board the ship, social distancing, individual meal times and face coverings. To mitigate the use of shared cabins, some crew and scientific staff were also based in self-catering accommodation in Lerwick.

Colleagues were only able to age, measure and sample scallops for the stock assessment on this survey and dropped all other work such as the recording of bycatch and starfish – this meant sampling fewer stations within the available survey time.

The Shetland survey took a lot of planning, but required flexibility, resulting in shorter fishing days and of course you could not control the weather!

The survey has now been completed and the vessel is currently steaming for Fraserburgh. Scientific staff return to Aberdeen via the Shetland ferry on 9 February.

The post Shetland scallop assessment appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Seafood scheme goes live

Fri, 2021-02-05 16:00

Applications are now available for a new £6.45 million funding scheme for fishers and small aquaculture businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU Exit.

The Seafood Producers Resilience Fund will provide support to eligible shellfish catchers and producers and trout farmers who have faced issues exporting to the EU and lost access to domestic food markets as a result of COVID-19.

Launched today (5 February) the fund is expected to benefit up to 1000 vessels landing shellfish such as crab, lobster, scallops, langoustines and squid, and up to 75 aquaculture businesses that produce shellfish and table trout.

Information on eligibility and separate applications for aquaculture and fishing vessels are available on the Scottish Government website.

Announcing the funding earlier this week Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“The fund for shellfish and trout businesses will help the sector survive the ongoing loss of domestic sales due to COVID-19 and the current immediate challenges of Brexit, giving them some breathing space and allowing businesses to make the changes they need to adapt to the new, tougher, trading realities.”

.@FergusEwingSNP has announced a £7.75 million funding package of support to fishermen, seafood businesses and ports and harbours threatened by the ongoing effects of #Coronavirus #EUExit ⬇https://t.co/Knqf0terlS@greenerscotland @SeafoodScotland @scotfooddrink @thefishmish pic.twitter.com/3kFgG6dQan

— Marine Scotland (@marinescotland) February 3, 2021

Background

 The fund was announced as part of £7.75 million package of support by Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing on 3 February.

Further information is available on the Marine Scotland section of the Scottish Government website. For fishing vessel application queries contact seafoodproducerresiliencefund@gov.scot and for aquaculture queries contact aquacultureintervention@gov.scot.

The post Seafood scheme goes live appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Fisheries Biologist/Data Analyst, Pitlochry, closing date 24 February

Tue, 2021-02-02 15:30

We are currently seeking applications for a Fisheries Biologist/Data Analyst within Marine Scotland based in Pitlochry. 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 is required to support the operation, collation, analysis and quality control of data on Atlantic salmon, brown trout and European eels collected at the Girnock and Baddoch index monitoring sites. These sites and associated fish traps are unique in Scotland, providing robust and detailed long-term data for understanding and assessing population dynamics, status and trends, which in turn inform and underpin development of assessment methods.

Due to the volume and heterogeneity of data collection methods at the monitoring sites, you will require advanced data analysis, database and coding (R) skills. You will be required to publish data in a variety of formats including public datasets, web sites, reports and importantly, peer reviewed publications. You will support maintenance of the traps and field data collection during busy periods, including trap operations and summer electrofishing. You will therefore be required to have (or develop) specialist skills in managing and operating fish traps, handling and processing fish in challenging outdoor environments.

You will be responsible for the direct line management of 4 staff and the day-to-day administration of trap facilities. Additionally, you will also be required to support other projects in the Freshwater Environment Group, including data collation, quality control and database entry of data collected under the National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland (NEPS).

Prospective applicants should note that this role involves outdoor work, often in challenging conditions and in remote locations. Elements of this role are physically demanding, e.g. cleaning and lifting of steel trap screens, and applicants will need to be able to repetitively lift a weight of 30 kilos to clear a minimum vertical distance of 1.0 metre. The ability to do so will be tested if you are successful in being invited to interview.

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. If you are short-listed at interview you will subsequently be invited to the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory to undertake the practical test. 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 which has ability to video conference (e.g. Skype / MS Teams) and complete a data analysis practical in R should they be selected for interview. 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 this job

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 Faye Jackson who can be reached at faye.jackson@gov.scot

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Recruitment Team via recruitment@gov.scot

The post Vacancy: Fisheries Biologist/Data Analyst, Pitlochry, closing date 24 February appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Marine Mammal Biologist, Aberdeen, closing date 12 February

Tue, 2021-02-02 11:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Marine Mammal Biologist within the Marine Scotland based in Aberdeen. 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.

The post-holder will work alongside the REEA staff at MSS to contribute to achieving Scottish Government goals for marine renewable energy and for protecting the marine environment. This will be achieved through contributing to the provision of advice to MS-LOT on interactions between marine mammals and the emerging marine renewable energy industries, and to MSPPD on marine mammal conservation issues. The post will also contribute to ongoing marine mammal research projects that involve the collection, processing and analyses of acoustic data.

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 this job

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 Ewan Edwards who can be reached at ewan.edwards@gov.scot or Kate Brookes at kate.brookes@gov.scot.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the Resourcing Team via recruitment@gov.scot

The post Vacancy: Marine Mammal Biologist, Aberdeen, closing date 12 February appeared first on Marine Scotland.

What lies beneath

Tue, 2021-01-26 11:00

Scotland’s seas cover an area approximately six times the land area of Scotland and they can provide us with a largely untapped, sustainable and renewable energy source.

Tidal energy is an abundant, predictable and clean source of power that can be extracted from deep water, shallow water, estuaries and large rivers.

In Scotland’s Marine Assessment 2020, our recently published web portal looking at the state of our seas, one of the case studies – Case study: Nova Innovation – Shetland Tidal Array highlights the role tidal energy can play in reaching our net zero ambitions and showing just how much power can be generated by one tidal turbine.

In May 2014, Nova Innovation installed the first community owned tidal turbine in Bluemull Sound in the Shetland Islands. This trial deployment was a tremendous success, delivering Nova’s first tidal turbine, exporting enough power to the grid for 30 homes and providing vital information and data essential for scaling up this area of renewable energy.

With information gained from the trial, Nova Innovation deployed the world’s first offshore tidal array in 2016 at Bluemull Sound, and it has been supplying electricity to the grid ever since. The first three Nova M100 turbines with a combined capacity of 300kW were deployed in 2016 and 2017, and in 2018 Nova was granted permission to extend the array to six turbines.

In August 2020, the fourth 100kW next generation turbine with direct drive capabilities was added to the array. As part of continued research,  the turbines in the array will be moved around to gain information on optimal performance that will  inform the design of future arrays.

The turbines in the Shetland Tidal Array sit fully submerged on the seabed at a depth of 30-40m, so are not visible from the surface. Nova also carries out a comprehensive programme of monitoring to understand the effects of the turbines on the marine environment. To date, no negative effects have been detected.

Offshore renewable developments, such as tidal energy generation from Nova Innovation, play a vital role in helping to tackle climate change and contribute to the Scottish Government’s ambitious emissions reduction and energy strategy.

 Further Information:

Picture information:

Main image: Fourth turbine in the Shetland Tidal Array, ‘Eunice’ with the Northern Lights in the background.

Second image: Eunice sitting at Belmont Pier in Shetland prior to deployment and commissioning in October 2020. Eunice is the first direct-drive tidal turbine in the Shetland Tidal Array, which is helping to drive down the cost of tidal energy.

Both pictures provided courtesy of Nova Innovation

The post What lies beneath appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Software Developer, Edinburgh, closing date 2 February

Mon, 2021-01-25 15:16
We are currently seeking applications for a Software Developer within Marine Scotland based in Victoria Quay, 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. Overview

Marine Scotland is the lead marine management organization in Scotland. It was established on 1 April 2009 as a Directorate of the Scottish Government (SG), to integrate core marine functions involving scientific research, compliance monitoring, policy and management of Scotland’s seas. Marine Scotland combined the functions and resources of the former SG Marine Directorate, Fisheries Research Services and the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency.

Marine Scotland Compliance Information Technology Unit is responsible for much of its own IT capability. This includes capturing all data associated with fishing activity in Scottish and UK waters and exchanging data with the rest of the UK and the EU. The Branch has recently developed an open source system using Java on a Postgres/EnterpriseDB Database. This system has entered into service and is being continually improved. Future work will include adaptations to meet the outcomes of the UK’s EU exit.

The Software Developer works as part of the delivery team to progress development aspects of user stories. They will interface with Business Analysts to understand requirements and acceptance criteria and testers to ensure quality standards are maintained. They will also provide support for the live system as it expands with further functional releases.

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 ‘Webex’ 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 this job

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 for this post, you will need to provide the information requested below via the online application process. These must be combined into one document as the system can only accept a single document upload per application.

A CV (no longer than two pages) setting out your career history, with key responsibilities and achievements. Add to your CV your personal statement (no longer than 750 words) explaining why you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience suitable for this role, with particular reference to the criteria in the person specification. Failure to submit a single combined document (CV and personal statement) will mean the panel only have limited information on which to assess your application against the criteria in the person specification.

When considering how your experience relates to the role, please tailor your CV and personal statement to reflect the role and the essential skills/criteria as described in the job description/person specification.

For further information on this vacancy please contact Allan Hildreth by email at allan.hildreth@gov.scot . If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the resourcing team on 01312441234 or via recruitment@gov.scot 

The post Vacancy: Software Developer, Edinburgh, closing date 2 February appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Rural Economy Secretary letter to UK Government on crab claw exports to the EU

Fri, 2021-01-22 18:56

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on issues relating to crab claw exports to the EU.

A copy of the letter is below:

I wrote last week to highlight the grave situation that Scotland’s food and drink exporters find themselves in after the Brexit deal imposed a swathe of new bureaucracy and highlighted the economic impacts from prohibited and restricted goods, of which Crab claws were listed.

You will be aware that Defra communicated to the industry on the 31st of December 2020 in an industry newsletter that “You will no longer be able to export crab claws to the EU once the transition period is over from 1 January 2021. Under EU regulation, only whole crabs can be placed on the market if the export falls under the 03-tariff heading”.

This announcement came as yet another unexpected Brexit impact that neither businesses or I were aware of prior to that announcement. This differs from the live bivalve mollusc issues that we have worked with Defra on for some time.  Scottish exporters immediately stopped exporting Crab claws and raised this issue with me and my officials, as to why this prohibition was in place, as the statement communicated by Defra failed to give any specific detail of the legislation that prevented this export.  Could I ask you to confirm what was the legal basis for providing this advice?

Scottish officials have worked to understand this problem and fed back their findings to Defra in order to inform questions going to the European Commission on this issue, and they continued to develop their understanding of it.  Having concluded investigations, which involved agreeing the legal understanding with Defra’s own advisers, it appears that there should not be a barrier to trade where whole edible crabs of species Cancer pagurus are landed in Great Britain and on first sale in Great Britain are sold whole, then the claws are removed after first sale for export to and subsequent sale in the European Union. This is based on our understanding of the relevant regulatory framework viewed as a whole, with the crab claws being marketed under the CMO Regulation (Regulation 1379/2013).

On the basis of our analysis, it would appear that the UK Government have misinformed Scottish exporters, indeed exporters of crab claws from across Great Britain causing a significant loss of income, coming on top of issues last year with crab exports to China.  This shows the incredible recklessness with which the UK Government has administered the Brexit process and a complete disregard for an important part of the Scottish shellfish sector, worth £3 million a year to one Scottish business alone.

This error has meant that, for the past four weeks, some businesses which export crab claws to the EU have been processing and freezing the product which is now clogging up the  freezers of Scottish businesses. Customer relationships have been damaged and orders have gone unfulfilled, causing reputational damage to the high quality and, before Brexit, reliability of Scottish Seafood exports.  A sudden release of frozen product threatens to crash prices all of which puts pressure on business already reeling from the impacts of Covid and post Brexit operational change.  You must take responsibility for this error, and I hope that you will add this issue to the qualifying criteria for the recently announced compensation scheme, as business have suffered these impacts through no fault of their own.

It is essential that this matter is resolved as quickly as possible and it is my intention to release communications to the Scottish sector today advising them that we do not believe that this restriction should be in place, citing clearly the detail behind this decision.  We will of course advise that they check with their importer in the EU to safeguard their exports. I have included a copy of communications in the Annex.

It is disappointing that this issue was not highlighted to me and officials here in Scotland before the prohibition was announced. Had you done so, we could have avoided this mess.  We know our industry and the laws that govern fisheries here in Scotland and, as you have said yourself on many occasions, when you work with us the outcome is usually better for everyone. It is fortunate that this has been investigated quickly so industry can get back to business.

This issue just emphasises why it is essential that we work together to address the post Brexit chaos.

Fergus Ewing

ANNEX

Dear Stakeholder,

On the 31 of December 2020 the UK Government informed Scottish seafood representatives and shellfish exporters that “businesses will no longer be able to export crab claws to the EU once the transition period is over from 1 January 2021. Under EU regulation, only whole crabs can be placed on the market if the export falls under the 03-tariff heading”.

It is the Scottish Government’s view that if whole edible crabs (Cancer pagurus) are landed in Great Britain and on first sale in Great Britain are sold whole, but then the claws are removed after first sale for export to and subsequent sale in the EU, there is no prohibition under EU law preventing this subsequent sale of edible crab claws in the EU. In addition, the Scottish Government’s understanding is that these crab claws should be classed as ‘prepared product’, with CN Tariff code 1605 being the most appropriate to use for exports to the EU in this instance. Therefore the prohibition relating to CN Tariff code 0306, as outlined in the UK Government communications, would not apply to edible crab claws sold and prepared in this way. The Scottish Government understands that the export of edible crab claws under CN Tariff code 1605 is permissible.

If your business is involved in exporting non whole edible crabs to the EU, which are sold and prepared as outlined above, we recommend that you:

  • The position outlined in this letter doesn’t constitute legal advice. As such you may wish to seek legal advice regarding your consignments of non-whole edible crabs to the EU.
  • Contact your European Union importer, and the Border Control Point (BCP) that your consignment will enter through to ensure that they will accept your product on arrival.

The UK Government continues to hold discussions with the European Commission over the most appropriate tariff code to apply to prepared non whole edible crabs and we will continue to work with the UK Government to seek agreement with the European Union on this matter.

The post Rural Economy Secretary letter to UK Government on crab claw exports to the EU appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Protecting Scotland’s seas

Wed, 2021-01-13 09:42

Marine Scotland is the directorate of the Scottish Government responsible for the management of Scotland’s seas. It has operational responsibility for monitoring and ensuring compliance with marine regulations within the British Fishery Limits, where Scotland has devolved powers.

This includes work to deter and detect illegal fisheries activities, illegal discarding of catch, protection of territorial waters and vulnerable marine habitats, up to 200 nautical miles offshore of Scotland.

Scotland’s waters cover 62% of the UK’s domestic exclusive economic zone with Marine Scotland operating three marine protection vessels, two aircraft and a network of fishery offices to ensure effective monitoring and enforcement.

The MarRIB and Juraine Protection Vessels Jura, Minna and Hirta, and two Reims Cessna Caravan II F-406 aircraft (Watchdog Alpha and Watchdog Bravo), are tasked and deployed according to risk assessed operational requirements. During their patrols they gather information and monitor activity, as well as routinely board and inspect the catches and fishing gear of the fishing fleet at sea to ensure compliance with licence conditions and regulatory provisions. Any non-compliance is reported as appropriate to the prosecuting authorities.

 

Marine Scotland Compliance monitors the activity of Scottish fishing vessels in any waters and monitors all non-Scottish fishing vessels in Scotland’s waters, in near real-time, for regulatory compliance purposes.

The Fisheries Agreement negotiated between the EU and the UK Government following EU Exit means that EU vessels require a licence to fish in Scottish waters.

Following the end of the transition period and entering into the Fisheries Agreement with the EU, the UK must conduct its fisheries management and relations, as regards matters provided for in that Agreement, with the EU rather than directly with individual member states. This means that if EU vessels wish to fish in our territorial waters it would be for the EU as the coastal state to make that request during forthcoming annual negotiations on behalf of all its member states.

Marine Scotland is monitoring any breaches of licence conditions and is engaging constructively with EU partners to ensure the sustainable management of fish stocks is at the heart of this partnership working.

As part of planning for the end of the EU Exit transition period, Marine Scotland deployed two additional inshore patrol craft, increased aerial capabilities and advanced detection and imaging assets.

Background

Marine Scotland Compliance fleet and aircraft information

The post Protecting Scotland’s seas appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Aquatic Animal Health Technical Manager, closing date 14 January

Tue, 2021-01-12 12:45

We are currently seeking applications for two Aquatic Animal Health Technical Managers within the Aquaculture and Fish Health Programme based in Aberdeen. 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.

The Aquaculture and Fish Health Programme supports a healthy, sustainable aquaculture industry and safeguards the health of wild fish stocks, through regulation, surveillance and scientific advice backed by high quality research. The Programme contributes towards the Scottish Government National Outcome: ‘We value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect and enhance it for future generations’. For information on Scottish Government National Outcomes visit www.gov.scot/About/Performance/scotPerforms/outcomes. The Programme covers 35 staff including the Fish Health Inspectorate, disease diagnostics and research aquarium and relies on close working relationships with statisticians and epidemiologists within Marine Scotland Science.

The post involves coordinating and presenting scientific evidence and analysis of the operation of National and International controls for the spread of listed diseases within aquatic animals. The duties contribute to Scotland’s participation in the management of the UK Framework for Animal Health and Welfare and the operation of biosecurity and border controls that arise as a result of leaving the European Union.

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. In addition, a personal device of choice, which has the Skype for Business application downloaded. This will allow candidates to 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.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the resourcing team via recruitment@gov.scot.

Further information for this job

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 Robert Raynard at rob.raynard@gov.scot.

The post Vacancy: Aquatic Animal Health Technical Manager, closing date 14 January appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Guidance for anglers during Coronavirus

Tue, 2021-01-05 16:47

The First Minister has announced further action to stem the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Following the announcement the Scottish Government introduced, from midnight on 5 January, and for the duration of January, a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential purposes. This is similar to the lockdown of March 2020.

The First Minister acknowledged that it is important for physical and mental well-being that we can get outdoors for fresh air and exercise as much as possible.  Given this, local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise is to be considered an appropriate reason for leaving home.  Unlike the lockdown last year, the frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited.

Outdoor non-contact activities such as walking, cycling and golf are permitted for all age groups.

Angling is also permissible provided this is within a single household group, or the group contains no more than 2 people from 2 different households.  Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards this number.

You can travel for local outdoor sport or exercise such as angling but must stay within the more general requirements with regard to travel and ensure that you abide by the rules on meeting other households.  In general, stay as close to home as possible – within your local authority, or no more than 5 miles from the boundary – and stay away from crowded places.

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

  • F – wear a Face covering
  • A – Avoid crowded places
  • C – Clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • T – stay Two metre distance away from other people
  • S – Self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)

Detailed guidance on safe conduct while angling is available on the Angling Scotland website and from Fisheries Management Scotland.

Club competitions, outings etc

Angling activity should be restricted to individuals, household groups or no more than 2 people from 2 households, suitably distanced.

Fishing competitions, club outings or group meetings, etc are not permitted under the current restrictions.

Sea angling

 Sea angling from the shore is allowed, provided that anglers comply with the more general requirements with regard to travel and the rules on meeting other households.

Sea angling from private boats with members of your own household is also allowed.

Again, sea angling should be practised as close to home as possible and no more than 5 miles beyond your local authority boundary.

Angling from charter boats is not currently permitted.

Travelling from other parts of the UK to fish in Scotland

This is not allowed under current rules in Scotland.

In addition, all holiday accommodation is closed to tourism. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only.

The post Guidance for anglers during Coronavirus appeared first on Marine Scotland.

New website for Regional Inshore Fisheries Group Network

Tue, 2021-01-05 12:59

A new website to provide fishers with a source of up to date information has been launched by Scotland’s Regional Inshore Fisheries Group (RIFG) network.

The website, will be regularly updated with input from the five nationwide groups – North and East Coast RIFG, West Coast RIFG, Outer Hebrides RIFG, Orkney Sustainable Fisheries and Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation. By accessing the site fishers will be able to view project documentation, access minutes of meetings and feed directly into agendas – all specific to their area.

Map of Scotland highlighting the website areas in various colours

Map of Scotland highlighting the website areas in various colours

The launch of the website is the latest part of Marine Scotland’s drive to support the evolution of the RIFGs, enabling them to become the main vehicle for evidence-based management in inshore waters.

The RIFG network was established in 2016 with the aim of improving the management of inshore fisheries and giving inshore commercial fishermen a strong voice in fisheries and wider marine management developments.

Jennifer Mouat, Chair, North and East Coast Regional Inshore Fisheries Group said: “As we move forward into a new era of fisheries management the Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups will be an integral part of connecting fisheries management and fishers.

“The new RIFG platform will allow a one stop shop for all RIFG information across the network of inshore fisheries groups making key information more accessible to all stakeholders. “

Background

The post New website for Regional Inshore Fisheries Group Network appeared first on Marine Scotland.

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