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Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

SEWeb – volunteers needed to test new Scotland’s environment website

Wed, 2017-05-24 10:52

SE Web logo

The team from SEWeb are looking for volunteers to help us carry out usability testing of the Scotland’s environment website.

The Scotland’s environment website brings together environmental information and data in one place so that it is easy to search, discover, view, analyse and interpret.

In June, a new look test version of the website will be launched. This is as a result of earlier user feedback that has helped us identify areas where improvements could be made. The site will be very much a work in progress, with more development planned, but we would like to gather feedback on the changes made so far.

To help us do this we are looking for volunteers to take part in online usability testing. This would involve completing a series of short tasks and letting us know how you got on. The tasks will involve testing out the new map tool, finding information and data on key environmental topics, navigation around the website and the general look, feel and design. You can choose to take part in one or more of the test tasks, with each taking 10-15 minutes.

Your help with usability testing will provide us with valuable feedback that will help us make further improvements to the website.

If you would like to volunteer to take part in online user testing, please get in touch with the Scotland’s environment Team by using one of the links below to indicate which test tasks you would like to participate in:

Full instructions will be provided and all tests are carried out anonymously so responses will not be attributed to individuals. We look forward to hearing from you.

The post SEWeb – volunteers needed to test new Scotland’s environment website appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Remembering Helen Stormonth Ogilivie (1880-1960)

Wed, 2017-05-17 13:53

On this day in 1880, Helen Stormonth Ogilivie was born who, as far as we know, was the first woman to be employed by what is now Marine Scotland Science.

Born in Dundee, Ms Ogilvie studied at Dundee University College at the time it became affiliated to St Andrews University and graduated with an MA and also a BSc, with distinction in Botany and Zoology.Helen Ogilvie's collection

Ms Ogilvie started working for the Fishery Board for Scotland around 1911, and at this time also began working with Professor Haaken Hasberg Gran, a prominent Norwegian botanist, analysing phytoplankton samples. The work led to her first publication with Prof Gran describing the phytoplankton and planktonic food of fishes.

She came to work at the Aberdeen Laboratory in 1926 and dedicated most of her career to the study of phytoplankton. She also published a number of scientific papers in her own right, including a description of the copepod (a small marine animal) which is the reference work for these creatures, still used today.

Following her retirement in 1946 Ms Ogilvie continued her interest and remained voluntarily at the laboratory until her health began to fade.  Upon leaving she bequeathed a wonderful array of books, from her own personal collection, to the Aberdeen Laboratory; which we still have on display in our Marine Laboratory Library.

 

The post Remembering Helen Stormonth Ogilivie (1880-1960) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Placements now available with Marine Scotland (closing date 29 June)

Tue, 2017-05-16 13:51

Marine Scotland is planning to host two NERC Innovation Placements. The placements, which are currently open to applications, will look at policy areas related to marine renewables, and scientific areas related to underwater noise.

Marine Acoustics Placement

During this placement, the candidate will have the opportunity to work with underwater noise data from across the east coast of Scotland. We’re looking for someone who can help us to review data collection processes and develop analytical and reporting processes.

Marine Planning and Policy Placement

During this placement, the candidate will work to support the development of a marine plan for floating offshore wind. They will also contribute to work on the Scottish Offshore Renewable Research Framework (SpORRAn), which is a tool used by Marine Scotland to identify knowledge gaps around marine renewables policy.

Further Information:

The post Placements now available with Marine Scotland (closing date 29 June) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Second Engineering Officer (Closing date 8 June)

Fri, 2017-05-12 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for Second Engineers holding a Class One (Motor) Certificate of Competency to serve aboard Marine Scotland’s vessels. This is a permanent and pensionable appointment and candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

Marine Scotland operate three Patrol vessels and two Research vessels owned by the Scottish Government. The vessels carry out Fishery Protection and Fisheries Research duties in the waters  around Scotland.

Essential Criteria
1. Class 1 (Motor) Unlimited Certificate
2. Certificated in all respects to meet the requirements of STCW95.
3. Up to date knowledge of marine industry.
4. Excellent communication skills.
5. Be able to demonstrate a competent level of computer skills

Desirable Criteria
1. Knowledge of diesel electric propulsion systems

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 Caroline Hutton on 0131 244 4194 or via caroline.hutton@gov.scot.

*Pay Supplement
This post attracts a £2000 per annum pro rata supplement. Pay supplements are temporary payments designed to address recruitment and retention issues caused by market pressures and are subject to regular review.

 Further information for this job

Apply for this job

You should read each of the Essential/Desirable Criteria and think about a time or an example that can help demonstrate your knowledge/skills. Remember, this must be evidence based and your answers should be clear, concise and reflect what actions you undertook. You may want to use the STAR(R) approach to respond to each criterion.

The post Vacancy – Second Engineering Officer (Closing date 8 June) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Economic Policy Adviser (closing date 6 June)

Wed, 2017-05-10 09:35

We are currently seeking applications for an Economic Policy Adviser within Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

The post will be located in Marine Scotland’s Marine Analytical Unit (MAU), to allow the post holder to draw on broader multi-disciplinary (statisticians, economists, data analyst and social researchers) analytical resource based in Edinburgh. This is a 12 month fixed term 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.

As an Economic Policy Adviser you will analyse, evaluate and assess various aspects of the Scottish food economy and help shape the development of FSS policies and programmes. You will provide economic advice on issues that arise day-to-day and will be involved in working with the FSS Board and other officials across a range of governmental business. You will be required to maintain an understanding of the economic policy landscape relating to FSS and links with other government departments, UK and international research funders and provide links to research programmes which are relevant to FSS strategic objectives.

Qualifications Required
At least a 2:1 Economics Degree or a Masters Degree in Economics.

Essential Criteria
1. You will have substantial experience as a professional economist and have a strong understanding of economic concepts and analytical techniques.
2. You will have experience of working with other professions to develop a shared evidence base to inform and influence decision-making.
3. You will have some experience of advising decision–making at all levels.
4. Experience of gathering, analysing and presenting economic data, using tools such as excel.
5. Excellent interpersonal and communication (written and oral) skills and an ability to adapt your style to meet the needs of your audience.

Desirable Criteria
1. Experience of working with a range of internal and external stakeholders.
2. Some experience of leading a distinct analytical project or programme of work

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 Susan Pryde 01224 285152 or susan.pryde@fss.scot.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Craig Wilson on 0131 244 4073 or via  craig.wilson@gov.scot.

Further information for this job

Apply for this job

You should read each of the Essential/Desirable Criteria and think about a time or an example that can help demonstrate your knowledge/skills. Remember, this must be evidence based and your answers should be clear, concise and reflect what actions you undertook. You may want to use the STAR(R) approach to respond to each criterion

The post Vacancy – Economic Policy Adviser (closing date 6 June) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

New consultation launched on fin fish and shellfish developments

Mon, 2017-05-08 10:00

 

 

Last Friday, Marine Scotland launched a consultation to propose amendments to permitted development rights for fin fish and shellfish developments. Comments are being sought on whether to relax the current requirement for prior notification under existing rights and to consult on improvements to rights relevant to shellfish farmers.

The proposed changes are the result of the review of current rights, undertaken with input from the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture  Capacity Working Group which was established in 2013 to improve the planning and consenting process for fin fish and shellfish developments. Prior to the consultation,  a strategic environmental assessment screening report was developed and consulted on, and from the comments received, there was a general consensus that the proposed changes will not cause any significant environmental impacts. This is final stage in this process and Wwe would like to seek views on whether the proposed legislative changes should be introduced.

The consultation is now open and will close on Friday 28 July.

Further Information

The post New consultation launched on fin fish and shellfish developments appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Marine Mammal Scientist

Tue, 2017-05-02 14:07

We are currently seeking applications for a Marine Mammal Scientist within Marine Scotland Science 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.

This post will provide scientific advice to Marine Scotland licensing and policy branches on matters related to marine mammals.  This will include advice on marine renewable energy developments and on management of marine mammal populations.  This advice will be underpinned by scientific research undertaken by the post-holder on the use of passive acoustic monitoring to assess the use of Scottish waters by cetacean species.

Qualifications Required

An honours degree or above in a relevant biological, ecological or bio-statistical discipline is a requirement for this post.

Essential Criteria

  1. A good understanding of regulation, legislation and research relating to marine mammals and to underwater noise in Scottish waters.
  2. Demonstrable data analysis and statistical skills, using specialist statistical software, such as R, Genstat or Matlab.
  3.  Experience of successfully managing sea going fieldwork.
  4. The ability to work independently with good organisational skills.
  5. Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to explain scientific concepts to varied audiences.

Desirable Criteria

  1. Postgraduate qualification in a relevant field.
  2. Experience of collecting, processing, analysing, and reporting on data on underwater acoustics, and marine mammal abundance, distribution and behaviour.

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. The Marine Science Competency Framework can be found here. 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 Dr Kate Brookes, who can be reached at kate.brookes@gov.scot or 01224 295613. If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Steven Andison on 0131 244 8323 or via steven.andison@gov.scot

Further information for this job

Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants

Apply for this job

You should read each of the Essential/Desirable Criteria and think about a time or an example that can help demonstrate your knowledge/skills. Remember, this must be evidence based and your answers should be clear, concise and reflect what actions you undertook. You may want to use the STAR(R) approach to respond to each criterion.

 

The post Vacancy – Marine Mammal Scientist appeared first on Marine Scotland.

To The Journey’s End – a new film about the lifecycle of Atlantic Salmon

Mon, 2017-05-01 10:00

To the jouney's end posterWe’re delighted to announce that at our Freshwater Fisheries open day in Pitlochry on 13th May that we will be showing a new feature from filmmaker Bernard Martin.

Concluding a 7-year, self-funded project, supported by the Boards and Trusts of the rivers of the North East of Scotland, Aberdeenshire-based filmmaker Bernard Martin created this film as an educational resource, hoping to inspire local students to think about the conservation of the species.

To The Journey’s End documents the desperate voyage of the Atlantic salmon from ocean to river and back again, driven by the desire to reproduce. Locally-filmed, purpose-shot footage follows them as they travel through the seasons until they finally make it to the spawning grounds where they themselves hatched many years earlier – they finally reach the end of their exhausting 3,000-mile journey. Having not fed since they entered the river from the sea almost a year previous, for most, this is the end of their lives. After spawning, viewers witness the hatching of eggs the following spring and watch the development of baby salmon until they return to the sea as smolts years later.

The film features rarely-seen footage from North East Scotland, allowing viewers to follow the fascinating life-cycle of the Atlantic salmon, fraught with danger. What’s more, the viewer will come to appreciate how endangered Atlantic salmon really are, and the challenges they face throughout their struggle for survival in the modern world.

By painting a poignant picture of the arduous journey of the Atlantic salmon, this film, perhaps most importantly, will inspire determination to help save this magnificent species; a native and natural symbol of Scotland.

On the upcoming launch of his film, Bernard said: “Year after year we were disappointed not to film the spawning sequence, heavy rains, lack of fish, being in the wrong place at the right time and equipment failing at the critical moment, all meant another year’s filming. Without the spawning sequence there was no film at all. What was really uplifting was that the people who work and look after our rivers never gave up on me. The quality of the rivers of the North East is down to their hard work and management”

Further Information

The post To The Journey’s End – a new film about the lifecycle of Atlantic Salmon appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Second Officer

Fri, 2017-04-28 10:44

We are currently seeking applications for Second Officers within Marine Scotland (Compliance) on board the Government’s Marine Patrol 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.

The Marine Patrol Vessels are involved in monitoring compliance with International, UK and National rules and regulations of licensed activities in the marine environment around Scotland out to 200 miles and beyond when required. This includes enforcing UK, EU and International fisheries laws and regulations. This is intended to assist the conservation of fish stocks and in creating the conditions necessary for the existence of a modern and sustainable sea fishing industry.

Qualifications Required

Candidates must hold a minimum of an unlimited Officer of the Watch certificate of competency, be fully certificated to meet STCW 95 requirements. Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact the Resourcing Officer named at the end of this advert to discuss.

Essential Criteria

  1. Candidates must have experience of being a watch keeping officer.
  2. Successful applicants must be self-motivated and have excellent communication skills, with an up-to-date knowledge of the marine industry.

Desirable Criteria

  1. Chief Mates Certificate of Competency.
  2. Knowledge of Marine Scotland’s work.

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 Caroline Hutton who can be reached at 0131 244 4194 or caroline.hutton@gov.scot. If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Dorota Rokosz on 01312446630 or via Dorota.rokosz@scot.gov.

Further information for this job

Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants

Apply for this job

You should read each of the Essential/Desirable Criteria and think about a time or an example that can help demonstrate your knowledge/skills. Remember, this must be evidence based and your answers should be clear, concise and reflect what actions you undertook. You may want to use the STAR(R) approach to respond to each criterion.

The post Vacancy – Second Officer appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Get involved with the best of Scotland’s nature

Thu, 2017-04-27 09:30

Freshwater LaboratoryThe latest edition of Scottish Natural Heritage’s newsletter has just been published, with articles about how to get involved with the best of Scotland’s nature, an update on the new Scotland’s Soil’s website and their quarterly science update.

And if you were thinking of coming along to our Freshwater Fisheries open day on 13th May, why not make a weekend of it and get involved with the Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend? Happening between the 12-14 May, it is a celebration of the fantastic wildlife of the Cairngorms National Park.

More Information

The post Get involved with the best of Scotland’s nature appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Your chance to find out more about our Freshwater scientists

Mon, 2017-04-24 11:28

Open Day schedule

On 13th May, our Freshwater scientists are holding an open day at the Atholl Palace Hotel, Pitlochry.

This free and family friendly event will showcase past and present work that has been instrumental in developing our understanding of Scotland’s freshwater fish populations and fisheries. You’re welcome to drop in at any time  between 10am and 5pm and check out all the different exhibits we’ll have on show and scientists will be on hand to talk to you about what they do.

Learn – See – Explore

  • Study fish DNA, find out how we tell the ages of fish, discover what a baby dragonfly looks like
  • Find out how and why we follow fish using electronic tags
  • Watch our fascinating demonstration on catching fish using electricity
  • Check out our topical talks and informative videos
  • Chat with our scientists and learn about being a fisheries biologist, geneticist or chemist

Initially set up in 1948, the Marine Scotland Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory employs around 40 staff at its main site in Pitlochry on the shore of Loch Faskally and outstations in Montrose and Shieldaig. Our dedicated team conducts science that supports national fisheries management and conservation. Staff work on a range of fish species in both freshwater and coastal environments, but primarily Atlantic salmon and Brown (sea) trout.

**Book your free tickets now!**

 Further Information

The post Your chance to find out more about our Freshwater scientists appeared first on Marine Scotland.

SCObs Weekly Sampling to Expand at St Abbs

Fri, 2017-04-07 13:20

The Scottish Coastal Observatory (SCObs) monitors the temperature, salinity, nutrients and plankton community at a number of sites around the Scottish coast. The efforts of Marine Scotland scientists are supported by a network of local citizen-scientists who deploy small temperature sensors and collect water samples for analysis.  Many of the SCObs sites have been collecting data since 1997, and a first report featuring observations up to 2013 was recently published.  Monthly means of the data presented in the report are available for download.

More recently, SCObs has also established a site at St Abbs, on the Scottish east coast, almost 50 miles south of Edinburgh.  In collaboration with staff at the St Abbs Marine Station, temperature sensors have been deployed since July 2013.  From April 2017, the monitoring is expanding to include the collection of water samples for salinity, nutrient and phytoplankton analysis.  Dave Lee and Bee Berx from the Oceanography Group travelled down to St Abbs on 31 March, to deliver the kit needed for the St Abbs Marine Station staff to collect and store samples.  After a short training session, they were also treated to possibly the tastiest Cullen Skink around, before heading home.

So, how do our citizen-scientist volunteers help SCObs?

Volunteers who collect samples are sent empty vials, bottles and phytoplankton sampling equipment, which they use to collect water samples on a weekly basis. Nutrient samples are frozen, while the preserved phytoplankton samples and salinity bottles are stored at room temperature.  Samples are returned to the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen on a regular basis, and the samples are analysed.  Meantime, the volunteers receive replacement sampling kit from Marine Scotland.  The volunteers also deploy and recover the temperature sensors: these are attached to piers or buoys, where they are permanently submerged.  Every three months, the volunteers also post these back.  The data is downloaded from the instrument, and a new sensor is posted out to the volunteers.

St Abbs sampling siteThe St Abbs Marine Station is a registered charity and has a research collaboration agreement with Edinburgh Napier and Heriot-Watt universities. All three partners are members of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS).  They particularly focus on issues related to marine conservation and sustainability, as well as education and providing excellent research facilities.

 

 

The post SCObs Weekly Sampling to Expand at St Abbs appeared first on Marine Scotland.

MRV Alba na Mara Survey 0517A Programme

Thu, 2017-04-06 10:00

Duration: 06 – 26 April 2017

Fishing Gear: Scallop Dredges

Objectives:

  1. To carry out a survey of scallop stocks on the West Coast.
  2. To age, measure and assess shell damage on all scallops caught.
  3. To Identify and sample additional areas of commercial interest to the scallop fishery.
  4. To collect information on by-catch of other commercial fish and shellfish species.
  5. To identify, quantify numbers, and damage assess of starfish species in all dredge tows.
  6. To collect flesh samples for genetic and toxin analysis back at the laboratory.
  7. To undertake underwater filming trials using a Go-pro camera.
  8. If time permits carry out a depletion study on a selected dredge tow.

Procedure:

The survey will depart from Fraserburgh on 06 April and after vessel drills, make passage for the West Coast stations on the survey.

Scallop dredge hauls will be made at sites used on previous surveys as shown Figure 1. Hauls will be of 30 minutes duration.  In addition to the historical tows, additional tows will be done to the South West of Islay and if time permits, from the Clyde.  From each haul all of the scallops will be measured to the half centimetre below and aged.  Numbers and size distribution of commercial fish and shellfish species will be recorded along with scallop shell damage and starfish numbers and species.  Tissue samples will also be collected from selected sites and frozen for toxin analysis back at the laboratory.

Figure 1: Scallop Dredge Haul Sites

Figure 1 0517A Scallop Haul sites

The post MRV Alba na Mara Survey 0517A Programme appeared first on Marine Scotland.

It’s all about… fabulous forests and wonderful woodlands

Fri, 2017-03-31 10:00

The latest edition of the Scotland’s Environment web have been published and the theme – It’s all about… fabulous forests and wonderful woodlands – is about celebrating and raising awareness of the importance of forests of all types.  And with 18% of land in Scotland covered by woodland, and our forests contributing significantly to the wellbeing of our economy, wildlife and our own lives, we certainly have good cause to celebrate. And that’s why it’s needed two editions!

Did you know that Marine Scotland Science freshwater colleagues also have an interest in trees though?  Water temperature (Tw) is important for the growth, production and survival of freshwater fish and there is understandable concern over rising temperatures due to climate change. Under certain circumstances, bankside trees can reduce high temperatures providing management options however, fisheries and river managers first need information on where rivers are hottest, where temperatures will increase most and where bankside tree planting would be most beneficial.

Want to read more? Excellent! We’ve produced a topic sheet about the work we’re doing through the Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN).

Further Information

 

The post It’s all about… fabulous forests and wonderful woodlands appeared first on Marine Scotland.

New MarCRF PhD proposals

Tue, 2017-03-28 10:00

The Marine Collaboration Research Forum (MarCRF) is a successful cross-disciplinary initiative developed between the University of Aberdeen and Marine Scotland Science. Its priority is to work with each other as well as stakeholders and policy makers to provide the science necessary to identify research priorities, co-develop innovative research programmes and an evidence-based framework to deliver policy relevant science.

We’re delighted to be able to publish the latest list of PhD opportunities:

  • Assessing the efficacy of an MPA for protection of the common skate: integrating population genomics, tagging and modelling to determine connectivity, abundance and recruitment.
  • Plankton impacts on farmed fish (PIFF)
  • Environmental regulation of algae DNA methylation and timing of harmful algal blooms in the North Sea
  • Assessing responses of marine top predators to offshore structures
  • Developing Marine RangeShifter as a platform for computer-aided spatial management of fish stocks
  • PRETURB:   Predator & Prey behaviour around tidal turbines
  • Optimising the use of fisheries-dependent data in real time reporting to benefit the Scottish demersal fleet
  • The physical impact of towed fishing gears on the seabed
  • Biodiversity monitoring in deep sea marine ecosystems using eDNA
  • Metagenetic surveillance for marine invasive non-native species using eDNA

More information is available on the Aberdeen University website and on findaphd.com.

The post New MarCRF PhD proposals appeared first on Marine Scotland.

MRV Alba na Mara Survey 0417A Programme

Fri, 2017-03-24 09:00

Duration: 25 March – 03 April 2017

Gear: Surface and subsurface PAM moorings

Objective:

To deploy a series of moorings comprising dhan buoys (9 surface marked moorings) and acoustic release systems (21 subsurface moorings) with attached acoustic recording devices (30 C-POD and 10 SM2M) as part of the east coast marine mammal monitoring programme (see Table 1 and Figure 1).

Procedure:

Loading of all equipment will be carried out on 22 March. Alba na Mara will sail from Fraserburgh on the morning of 25 March and after all required drills make passage for the first mooring position.  The ultimate order in which the moorings are deployed will be dictated by the current weather forecast and the likely shelter that can be provided by the east coast.  Accurate position records will be kept detailing where the moorings are eventually placed as this may differ from the planned position.  If all the moorings have been deployed before the scheduled end of the survey Alba na Mara will carry out range-testing of acoustic salmon tags using a moored system already deployed within Aberdeen Bay.

Figure 1: Positions of all 30 moorings to be deployed during cruise 0417A

Figure 1 Positions of all 30 moorings to be deployed during cruise 0417A

Table 1: ID, name and geographic position of all 30 moorings to be deployed during 0417A. Moorings proposed to be surface-marked highlighted in grey.

Table 1 0417A ID, name and geographic position of all 30 moorings to be deployed***********************************************************************

Further Information:

The post MRV Alba na Mara Survey 0417A Programme appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Keeping the Beaches Clean in Aberdeen

Fri, 2017-03-17 10:00

In the next few days some colleagues will be donning their gloves, picking up their biodegradable bags and heading out around the beaches of Aberdeen in an effort to rid the shores of unsightly litter. The first event is organised by the Marine Conservation Society at Nigg Bay, further details are shown below.

Aberdeen MCS 2017 beachcleans

Then on the 20th and 21st March starting at midday on both days, beach cleans will be happening as part of the Surfers Against Sewage annual “Big Spring Beach Clean”. Colleagues will be concentrating on three sites within Torry; Nigg Bay Beach, the beach running parallel to Greyhope Road prior to the first Harbour break water and the small beach just inside the first breakwater (see map).

Map of three areas - Surfers against Sewage

The first day meeting point is at Nigg Bay car park. Best reached on foot due to the current roadworks. Gloves and biodegradable bin bags will be supplied, however please bring your own gloves and bags if possible. A sharps box will be available on the day, please do not pick anything up that may cause harm – just inform the organisers and they will dispose of it in the sharps box. It goes without saying that the weather can still be brutal at this time of year so please dress appropriately. The cleans will last approximately 1 hour, but any time at all that can be spared is most appreciated.

***********************************************************************

Further Information:

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How do dams impact river connectivity and salmon populations?

Thu, 2017-03-16 10:00

Figure 1: Stronuich reservoir dam on the river Lyon, Perthshire. The river Lyon is a major tributary to the river Tay and an important salmon river, yet it is also heavily regulated for hydropower.

Many of Scotland’s rivers contain important rearing habitat for juvenile Atlantic salmon, an anadromous fish species that supports an economically important fishery and is often a target for conservation with many of its home-rivers designated as Special Areas of Conservation. Many of these rivers also generate hydroelectricity, which is an important source of renewable energy (see Figure 1 for an example).

Since the late 19th century, an extensive network of inter- and intra-basin water transfers has been developed to increase the potential for hydroelectricity and more recently numerous small run-of-river hydropower schemes have been completed or are planned. Notwithstanding the current need for renewable clean energy sources, these developments have led to a substantial alteration in the flow regime of those rivers and their connectivity. In turn, this has raised concerns that the regulation of rivers might have consequences for the maintenance and conservation of economically important Atlantic salmon stocks in Scotland. To mitigate against the possible negative effects of river regulation, river restoration projects aim to restore the natural connectivity and functioning of salmon habitat. However, these projects tend to be expensive with uncertain outcomes in terms of success. Therefore, it is important that tools are developed to identify those areas where restoration efforts are most likely to be successful in terms of yielding high quality habitat and fish production.

One way to assess habitat change (loss or gain) is to look at how dams have altered the connectivity of rivers. Connectivity is a metric (indicator) that describes how well an individual fish can travel along the longitudinal profile (length) of a river. Put simply, it identifies whether adult Atlantic salmon can reach their spawning grounds from the sea, whether juveniles can migrate locally (between summer and winter habitats), and whether smolts can reach the sea from their natal streams. Often the amount of fish habitat lost or gained is assessed by simply identifying changes in accessible wetted area (river area). Although data on changes in wetted area are easily obtained and the approach is potentially useful at large scales, this approach has some drawbacks. Primarily, it does not include any information of the actual quality of fish habitat. In practice, this means that there is a risk that assessments of impacts on longitudinal connectivity focus on areas that may not be important in supporting local fish communities and thus limit the quality and relevance of such assessments.

Using the River Lyon as a case study (Figure 2), scientists at the University of Aberdeen, Marine Scotland Science and the James Hutton Institute investigated the importance of different types of weighting in an analysis of longitudinal connectivity. Put simply, weightings allow you to prioritise river reaches according to their value and this value can be represented in different ways. The weightings used were based on: 1) habitat suitability for spawning; 2) predicted salmon fry production; and 3) wetted area. Habitat suitability for spawning was based on data from a walkover survey that classified the geomorphology of the river reaches in combination with observed habitat use by adult spawners in similar Scottish rivers. The predicted salmon fry production was based on a model developed by staff at the MSS Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory, in Pitlochry. An additional benefit of the fry density model was that it allowed investigation of how fry production in the river Lyon has changed between a pre-regulated (before dams went in) and a regulated state. Wetted area was estimated using Ordnance Survey maps of the river and the lochs present within the river network.

Figure 2: (A) topography; (B) nine sections of a simplified river network, sections are delineated by barriers or tributaries; (C) mean fry density per metre square for each section, based on MSS fry density model; (D) historic map showing river network pre‐regulation, note dams not present and lochs smaller in size, loch at Stronuich not present (based on OS map, period prior to 1930, from National Library of Scotland).

The results indicate that using wetted area alone to assess regulation impacts could misinform managers and regulators, because it suggests that the most important area for connectivity is the area upstream of the Lubreoch hydropower dam. However, according to the other weighting approaches, most of the valuable connectivity for salmon is maintained by the sections lower on the river. This shows that including more relevant details about the quality of the habitat rather than just total area (habitat suitability indicators and river productivity) can improve our ability to identify those areas in the river network that are able to maintain high levels of connectivity. Focussing on those areas could increase the ability of a regulated system to provide suitable in‐stream conditions important for ecosystem functioning or provide a valuable tool for prioritising the removal of historical barriers and weirs that are no longer required. This sort of information could also be useful for setting flow and process‐related targets for the regulation of rivers and floodplains. It is estimated that the introduction of barriers (dams) in the river Lyon resulted in a 21% (95% CI 16–26.5%) reduction in fry production relative to the natural state.

Changes to guidelines for specific river systems should be made with appropriate caution as it is necessary to first ascertain the robustness of the approach. Moreover, any management and conservation decision needs to be based on a solid understanding of what the ecological targets are. This study has looked at a fundamental element (i.e., longitudinal habitat connectivity) that makes up the habitat template, but needs to be part of a holistic approach in which the spatial and temporal aspects of, for example, hydraulic conditions, temperature, community dynamics, and sediment budgets are considered as well.

Further Information

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Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference 2017

Mon, 2017-03-13 09:30

The fourth Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference will be held on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th April 2017 at Eden Court in Inverness.

The conference will open on the afternoon of Thursday 27th April with a session to introduce the EMFF funded Scottish Inshore Fisheries Integrated Data System or ‘SIFIDS’ Project.  This project will focus on using new technologies and processes to improve data collection and use within Scotland’s inshore fisheries, with the intent of reducing the reporting burden on fishermen and improving the information base on which fisheries management decisions are made.   This session is then followed  by the official opening of the conference at an evening reception at Eden Court (17.30-19.00)  and all delegates are welcome to attend this.

On Friday 28th April 2017, Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity will open the day, and delegates will also have the opportunity to attend sessions on a variety of subjects including fisheries management challenges and actions, Brexit, marketing the local catch and a session delivered by Norwegian colleagues on how they manage inshore fisheries.

There will be ample opportunity for networking, visiting stands, speaking to representatives from a range of organisations, celebrating our fantastic seafood, and sharing experiences and knowledge in an informal setting on a wide range of issues.

Delegates are free to attend both days or register for one and can register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scottish-inshore-fisheries-conference-2017-tickets-32082048270

More Information

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Vacancy – Salmon Assessment Modeller (Closing date 20th March 2017)

Thu, 2017-03-09 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Salmon Assessment Modeller within Marine Scotland Science based in Pitlochry.

This post will be based Freshwater Fisheries Programme, which provides research and advice in support of Scottish Government policies in relation to freshwater and diadromous fish. The post holder will develop juvenile assessment models, improving approaches for characterising habitat and modelling juvenile densities at national scales. The post holder will also be required design and develop strategic monitoring networks for freshwater fish, with a particular focus on juvenile sampling strategies in the first instance.

Further Information:

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