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European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Letter

Thu, 2020-10-22 10:37

Scotland should receive at least £62 million annually in replacement of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) according to Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Mr Ewing raised the issue at an EU Exit Operations meeting last week and has now written to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, seeking much needed clarity on UK Government funding for this vital sector from 01 January 2021.

In addition to Brexit, Scotland’s seafood sector has been hard hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with the loss of export and food service markets.  The new funding is also key to supporting recovery for coastal communities and protecting jobs.

Full text of the letter below.

 

Dear George,

I am writing to you today to seek urgent clarification on the replacement for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) which I again raised at the EU Exit Operations Committee on Tuesday. As you understand, this funding is vital to Scotland’s marine industries, its environment and it coastal communities. Despite many attempts by Scottish Government officials to clarify with HM Treasury, the level of funding being made available and the timescale for availability, no clarification has been forthcoming.

As you will be aware I have consistently highlighted that the previous allocation of available EU funding has been insufficient for Scotland’s needs. The allocation the UK sought in 2016 did not recognise the importance of the marine environment in Scotland or the opportunities it represents. In discussions with Defra officials on the replacement for the EMFF, the case for a significant uplift has been clearly set out , given that Scotland has some 14% of EU aquaculture production, 9% of EU sea fisheries landings and 10.9% of European sea area to manage. The marine economy in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, has the potential to provide vital, well paid, skilled jobs in rural locations and to support sustainable supply chains across the country and further afield. Market failures stand in the way of this naturally occurring. As one example, there are approximately 260 ports and harbours around Scotland, 90 of which serve the commercial fishing industry alongside a host of other users. Many of these were built in the 1800s and early 1900s and are becoming unfit for purpose, without substantial investment the potential growth in the marine economy will not be realised.

Scotland would therefore anticipate any domestic replacement funding to reflect this importance and we had identified that we are seeking an allocation to replace the EMFF of £62m per annum. Additionally given that the EU have increased the available funding for the new EMFF by €500m, even on the value of sea fisheries landing in Scotland alone, based on the new EMFF budget for the 2021-2027 period, 9% would equate to £70m per annum.

As I have also highlighted consistently, the loss of EU funding comes at a time when the biggest risk to Scotland’s seafood industry is the UK Government’s Brexit proposals. The harm Brexit will impose on the people and economy of Scotland must be minimised as far as possible. The alternative is to see our seafood industries facing potentially crippling delays and additional costs, which could prove devastating for jobs and exports and have wider repercussions for the marine sectors and the fragile communities which rely on these sectors. If we had remained as EU members the replacement for the EMFF would have been available from the start of January 2021. Given the UK Governments commitments in respect of EU funding it is therefore vitally important that the option is also available to support the seafood sector from the start of January 2021.

I look forward to confirmation of the required allocation of funding to replace EMFF in Scotland and the opportunity to provide support from the start of January 2021.

Yours sincerely,

FERGUS EWING

The post European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Letter appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: International Fisheries – Policy Manager (2 posts) – closing date 5 November

Thu, 2020-10-15 09:00

We are currently seeking applications for an International Fisheries – Policy Manager (2 posts)within the Marine Scotland 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.

Sea Fisheries is an important area of Scottish Government policy, balancing support for fishermen, whilst ensuring sustainable fishing practices in the long term. The International Fisheries team plays a key role in achieving these policy goals, delivering significant and high-profile objectives for Ministers.

The team actively engages in fisheries negotiations with the EU and non-EU countries to establish fishing opportunities for the Scottish fleet. Our negotiating strategy and priorities are influenced by high quality science and take into account wider policy objectives, including socio-economic implications. It is important to work within environmental limits, making sure fish stocks are managed sustainably, in turn providing a resource for future generations and safeguarding the diversity of the ecosystem.

In order to achieve this we work closely with scientific and economic advisors, and a range of stakeholders including industry representatives and environmental NGOs to develop Scotland’s negotiating position. In addition, the team engages on a continuous basis on wider fisheries management and conservation policy matters.

With the UK’s exit from the EU on 31st January, and subsequent move to full Coastal State status from 2021, Scotland’s role at negotiations will become ever more vital. To facilitate our increasing presence on the international stage, the International Fisheries team is split into two separate branches – one focussing primarily on pelagic stocks and the other primarily on demersal stocks. However, both branches remain closely aligned, contributing to a number of shared functions.

Each branch comprises a C1, a B3 (these posts) and 2 B2s (which these posts will manage). The posts are based in Victoria Quay, but will involve significant travel within Scotland, the UK and internationally. It should also be noted that during live negotiations the team is required to work flexibility and often out of core hours.

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.

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 Lauren Ferrari at lauren.ferrari@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: International Fisheries – Policy Manager (2 posts) – closing date 5 November appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Retain and report American lobster

Wed, 2020-10-14 12:43

A campaign has launched to help raise awareness of American lobster (Homarus americanus).

The animals are considered as an invasive non-native species as they are not indigenous to Scotland and they pose a threat to the native wildlife.

Every year Marine Scotland and other UK administrations receive a small number of reports of American lobster being caught in UK waters.  These animals cannot cross the Atlantic naturally and therefore have appeared because people have released them, either deliberately or accidentally.

Marine Scotland is calling on people to report any American lobsters caught in our waters to have a true picture of where the animals are, in what quantities and if they are breeding.

Identification

American lobsters are similar to European lobsters in appearance but there are some noticeable differences:

American lobster characteristics
  • American lobsters are more stocky in appearance than European lobsters
  • Colouration varies but American lobsters are usually green/brown with orange, red, dark green or black speckling, while European lobsters are blue in colour
  • The underside of the claws of an American lobster are orange, while those of a European lobster are cream coloured
  • American lobsters have one or more spines (ventral teeth) on the underside of the ‘nose’ (rostrum), a feature which is absent in European lobsters
  • The spines on the rostrum of the American lobster tend to have red tips, while those on the European lobster are white tipped
Why we need your help

It is thought that American lobsters could have a negative impact on native European lobsters and other species in the marine environment, by acting as a disease vector, competing for food and shelter and potentially interbreeding.  Currently we do not have enough evidence to state with certainty how much of a threat this is, so it is important that any suspected American lobsters are reported so they can be verified by Marine Scotland.

How you can help

If you think you have caught an American lobster, please contact the local Marine Scotland Compliance Fishery Officers, who will assist with collection of this data.  A sample will be taken and sent for scientific analysis, and further advice provided as needed.

The information we are looking to gather is:
  • Date and location of capture
  • Photographs of the whole animal, the underside of the claws and the rostrum are minimum required to confirm the report
  • Sex of the animal
  • If claws were banded
  • If it was carrying eggs
  • Size (weight and/or carapace length)

American lobster side view

Reporting

Please report any suspected American lobsters to your local Marine Scotland Compliance Fishery Office or the UK Fisheries Monitoring Centre at 0131 271 9700 or via email at UKFMC@gov.scot.

Additional information

It is legal to land and sell or consume any American lobsters you catch, however it is illegal to release them into the wild in UK waters. The knowledge and data gained from reports of any non-native lobsters is essential to aid future decision making and policies aimed at protecting the Scottish marine ecosystem.

We especially want to hear about those lobsters not easily identified as they could potentially be hybrids of American and European lobsters.

Showing three different views of American lobster

Background

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Guidance for EU Exit

Tue, 2020-10-13 10:07

A collection of information and guidance to help the seafood sector prepare for the end of the EU Exit Transition Period has been published by the Scottish Government and Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

With the transition period due to come to an end on 31 December 2020, from 1 January 2021 businesses trading with EU Member States, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and several other countries will do so on a ‘third country’ basis which means they will need to have documentation and certifications in place.

In preparation, the Scottish Government has been working with FSS to collate pre-existing Scottish and UK Government advice for seafood exporters and importers, bringing together relevant information on issues like fishing vessel registration and inspections by local authorities, and guidance on effective monitoring and enforcement of marine and fishing laws.

It also includes information on what the requirements may be for the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and guidance on how to export and import from 2021.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Things are more uncertain than ever right now, but we do know that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020. We would encourage all parts of the Scottish seafood sector to consider what steps they need to take to prepare for the changes they will face from January 2021.

“This information will continue to be updated as more guidance becomes available.”

Background

EU Exit Seafood Sector update

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Applications still open for COVID-19 freezing scheme

Thu, 2020-10-08 09:14

Aquaculture businesses affected by the collapse of markets due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can still apply for funding to cover the costs of maintaining unsold stock.

The scheme which will support businesses by compensating for the costs of transport, processing and cold storage for salmon, trout and shellfish, is open until the end of 2020.

Scottish Shellfish is one organisation which has successfully applied to the scheme, and has been awarded £69,000 grant funding through the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund.

Finance Director David Ingram explained:

“When restaurants and fish counters shut earlier this year as a result of the pandemic, around 20-25% of our overall turnover was wiped out overnight. It also had a knock-on effect on our members which include 19 mussel and oyster farmers, and meant that we were taking less market ready material from them and if we don’t harvest the produce when it’s ready it just goes out of specification.

“We were considering what to do about this material when we heard about this storage aid scheme and thought it sounded like a good opportunity to try and save some of this stock.

“We’ve now started to cook the mussels, add sauce and store in a freezer which gives us some options so we can continue to make sure we’re supplying stock. We’re also trying out different promotions with our customers – our recent half priced promotion with a supermarket was a storming success as we were able to manage our stock through the freezing scheme, allowing us to facilitate this type of activity.

“Receiving funding through EMFF is helping to cover these costs. While the food service sector has recovered to an extent, it’s nowhere near what it was. Most supermarkets haven’t reopened their fish counters and we need to ensure that we can place our members’ produce into other categories within our customer base or, indeed, emerging new markets. This scheme gives us the extra time to do that.

“Putting our stock into coldstores, rotating that and taking material from our farms, is beneficial for all parts of our cooperative.

“It’s hard to be certain about anything just now but one of the great things about working in food and drink is that you’ve got that market – everyone needs to eat. We’ve just had to adapt and look at our cost base and different ways of working.”

Background

Information on Aquaculture Storage Aid scheme.

The post Applications still open for COVID-19 freezing scheme appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Marine Scotland Science publications for August/September

Wed, 2020-10-07 09:00

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 couple of months produced the following notable publications:

  • Malcolm, I.A., Millidine, K.J., Jackson, F.L., Glover, R.S. and Fryer, R.J. 2020. The National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland (NEPS) 2019. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science, Vol 11, No 9, 56pp. DOI: 10.7489/12321-1.
    The National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland (NEPS) 2019 link
  • Mesquita, C., Dobby, H., Pierce, G.J., Jones, C.S. & Fernandes, P.G. 2020. Abundance and spatial distribution of brown crab (Cancer pagurus) from fishery-independent dredge and trawl surveys in the North Sea.  ICES Journal of Marine Science, fsaa105. DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsaa105
    Abundance and spatial distribution of brown crab … link
  • Pearce, B. & Kimber, J. 2020. The status of Sabellaria spinulosa reef off the Moray Firth and Aberdeenshire coasts and guidance for conservation of the species off the Scottish east coast. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Reports, Vol 11, No 17, 100pp. DOI: 10.7489/12336-1.
    The status of Sabellaria spinulosa reef off … link
  • Priede, I.G., Burgass, R.W., Mandalakis, M., Spyros, A., Gikas, P., Burns, F. & Drewery, J. 2020. Poster title –  ‘Floating in the deep’ – The effects of pressure and temperature on buoyancy of liver oils of deep-sea sharks and chimaeras.
    Poster: Floating in the deep – The effects of pressure … link
  • Todd, C.D., Hanson, N.N., Boehme, L., Revie, C.W. & Marques, A.R. 2020. Variation in post-smolt growth pattern of wild one sea-winter salmon (Salmo salar L.), and its linkage to surface warming in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Fish Biology. DOI: 10.1111/jfb.14552.
    Variation in post-smolt growth pattern of wild one … link
  • van Geel, N.C.F., Merchant, N.D., Culloch, R.M., Edwards, E.W.J., Davies, I.M., O’Hara Murray, R.B. & Brookes, K.L. 2020. Exclusion of tidal influence on ambient sound measurements. The Journal of the Acoustic Society of America, 148(2), 701-712.
    Exclusion of tidal influence on ambient sound measurements link

 

Additional Information:

The post Marine Scotland Science publications for August/September appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Next steps on Future Fisheries Management

Fri, 2020-10-02 14:15

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing provides an update on Future Fisheries Management, following the publication of the outcome of the discussion paper. 

Fishing matters hugely to Scotland – economically, culturally and socially. Fishing, fish and seafood farming generate huge economic value, especially in coastal communities. In 2019, the value of fish and seafood landed in Scotland was over half a billion pounds with thousands employed directly in offshore, inshore and onshore sectors.

In the future, we want this value to grow. We want Scottish fishing to benefit more directly from our species rich waters, for a more resilient supply chain to be developed, for more people to choose a career in fishing and for more opportunities to be created to process more of our catch and produce here, while growing markets in the UK and internationally.

Fishing net showing fish

To achieve all this, we need a clear strategy to manage our fisheries in the future. Work to develop that began last year with a national discussion paper and local engagement with a wide range of stakeholders to get their views and input on key issues. This week, I published a report highlighting key aspects of those discussions. I also published the Scottish Government’s initial response and signalled that we will publish our Future Fisheries Management Strategy later this year.

Fish in ice boxes in Peterhead fish market

Fortunately there is significant agreement on key issues. We all want Scotland’s reputation to grow as a world-leading fisheries nation, playing our full part on the international stage, contributing our knowledge and skills to help maintain and enhance fisheries stocks. We will seek to maintain good relationships with the EU and other European fisheries nations and we will continue to make the case for Scotland, as the biggest partner in fisheries in the UK, to lead on international negotiations where the stocks are predominantly based in our waters.

We all want to ensure fishing is sustainable and that will be at the forefront of our work. We are already rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring equipment on some vessels and that will continue to help to increase accountability.

Everyone recognises the need to attract and support more people into choosing to work in fishing and to encourage new entrants. I am also determined for our coastal communities to thrive, so we will progress action to ensure greater landings of catch of all fish species into Scottish ports, along with additional support for inshore fishers.

We will also work to strengthen local management arrangements, involving more local fisheries stakeholders. We will also seek to apply greater transparency in to how and why we make key decisions at all levels.

This work gets underway as we embark on a very different cycle of international fisheries negotiations ahead of our move to full coastal state status. Negotiations around 2021 fish stocks and quotas are just starting – they will feel very different. While we may be limited to virtual meetings this year and won’t be up until the wee small hours at December Council, I can give a categorical assurance that the Scottish position – to get the best possible deal for our fishing interests – will be the same.

The future is hugely uncertain – the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a collapse of markets which are still to recover. We are three months from Scotland leaving the EU, there is no fisheries deal yet, there will be barriers and costs to trading with the EU, we will lose many people currently working in fishing and fish processing from our communities and we do not know what funding will replace current EU monies which support training, vessel safety and investment in harbours and other vital infrastructure.

We need to protect all parts of seafood supply chain, both onshore and at sea. Our processors require assistance and investment, having suffered from the direct impacts of coronavirus and ongoing Brexit uncertainty. Access to continental markets and ongoing access to EU labour remains vitally important across the supply chain.

That uncertainty makes our work to provide to set out how we will manage Scotland’s fisheries sustainably all the more urgent.

Background

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Joint Warrior 202

Fri, 2020-10-02 14:11

The Joint Warrior 202 exercise will take place in Scottish waters from 4 – 15 October. Organised by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Joint Warrior is part of a major programme of exercises involving land forces, warships, submarines and aircraft from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) partners in UK waters.

These exercises usually take place bi-annually in spring and autumn. An important part of Joint Warrior will take place to the north, west and east of Scotland. The exercise runs through a range of scenarios, including crisis and conflict situations, that could be realistically encountered in operations – disputed territory, terrorist activity, piracy and more.

This massive multinational exercise delivers specialist maritime training, bringing together the theatres of air, surface, underwater and amphibious forces.

The post Joint Warrior 202 appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Surveys to look at impact of coronavirus on marine businesses

Tue, 2020-09-29 09:23

A number of surveys have been launched to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Scotland’s marine sectors.

Marine Scotland has launched three separate surveys asking fisheries, recreational fisheries and aquaculture businesses, about the challenges they have faced as a result of COVID-19.

The surveys, which run until 12 October, ask questions about the financial and operational performance of businesses during the pandemic.

The results will be used to help provide a snapshot of the situation in marine industries and to shape future strategies and policies relating to the recovery response.

For further information or if you are having difficulties accessing the survey please email reme.diaz@gov.scot and provide your company name and email address.

Background

COVID-19 Business Survey – Aquaculture

COVID-19 Business Survey – Fisheries

COVID-19 Business Survey – Recreational Fisheries

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Sustainable Shipping for World Maritime Day

Thu, 2020-09-24 15:27
What is MARPOL?

MARPOL, or to give it its full title – the International Convention For The Prevention of Pollution From Ships – was first adopted by the International Maritime Organisation in 1973 after a spate of oil and chemical tanker incidents resulted in vast amounts of pollution being created in the world’s oceans. In short, MARPOL is the shipping industry’s all-encompassing regulations which cover all aspects of waste with regards to ships.

What does this mean in reality on board Marine Scotland’s patrol vessels?

The main document we work from is the Garbage Management Plan. This details how the ship will deal with all the different types of waste on board to make sure that nothing is discharged to the sea that shouldn’t be. In effect this bears many similarities to what we all have at home – lots of different coloured wheelie bins! On board we are not permitted to get rid of anything and so all of our waste has to be segregated and returned to port.

 

A garbage record book is required to be kept on board and it is the Chief Officer’s responsibility to ensure it is updated and maintained with information about the amount and types of waste (including cooking oil) that is landed ashore. Prior to going into port, any unrecyclable material is occasionally incinerated and the quantities and position of the vessel must all be recorded in the garbage record book. When in port our recyclable materials are collected and dealt with by an approved sorting facility. This ensures that ships are not adding to the oceans pollution problems.

We also have an engine oil record book and in it we have to record all movements of oil and oily residues to and from the ship. Whether that be the fuel we use or the old oil from when the engineers give the ships engine a service. These documents are then inspected to insure that the numbers all add up and the authorities are confident we are not illegally dumping waste oils into the sea.

 

But what happens to the smelly stuff? Well its actually very clever. Sewage is dealt with on-board in our sewage treatment plant. This unassuming box has a bioreactor inside it which is full of bacteria and enzymes that just love the stuff that we do not. By the time it has gone through the system all of the solids have been eaten and what remains is treated water which is then discharged into the sea.

Sewage Treatment Plant

MARPOL defines certain sea areas as ‘special areas’ in which the adoption of special mandatory methods for the prevention of sea pollution is required. Under the Convention, these special areas are provided with a higher level of protection than other areas of the sea. The North Sea is one such special area where the discharge of oil and garbage is prohibited and has also recently been designated as an Emission Control Area to address air pollution by ships through more stringent controls on sulphur emissions and nitrogen oxides.

A Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) is an area that needs special protection through action by IMO because of its significance for recognised ecological, socio-economic or scientific reasons and which may be vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities. The entirety of Western European Waters are designated as a PSSA and are protected by ships routing measures and mandatory reporting schemes. This is why you’ll never see an oil tanker in the Minch or transiting the Pentland Firth!

Where do we go from here?

As always, in any industry we are constantly improving. Marine Scotland is continuing to invest in its vessels to reduce our impact on the environment. An easy example of this is the conversion of our lights on board to LED. This simple move helps to reduce our impact on the environment, when we use less electricity we can save fuel and so reduce our CO2 emissions. In future years meeting the requirements from the introduction of the Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships to drive down harmful emissions from vessels will be a key consideration.

This is all part of a large effort by the industry to improve our efficiency which is covered in the new guidance called the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan. This is for vessel operators like Marine Scotland to consider for existing ships and new builds. Much like comparing an old sandstone house to a new build one, with new technology comes efficiency gains and reduced running costs. This is why you will often see old ships being sold for scrap in favour of building new ones to do the same job.

 

Written by Benjamin Coltart, Second Officer and Scott Teviotdale, Second Officer

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River Temperature Research

Fri, 2020-09-18 12:57

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Further Information

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

Scottish River Temperature Monitoring Network web pages

Where to plant trees leaflet

Scottish River Temperature Monitoring Network leaflet

Maximum river temperatures June to August 2018 animation

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Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Sconser Scallops

Fri, 2020-09-11 08:32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scallop photo Credit Alison Oakes. Diving photo Credit Ben Oakes

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Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Shetland Seafood Auctions

Thu, 2020-09-10 08:31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Tobermory Oysters

Tue, 2020-09-08 09:00

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

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

Tobermory Oysters - Shauna

Tobermory Oysters – Shauna

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

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

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

Oysters

Oysters

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

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

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

The new building

The new building

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

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

Food and Drink Fortnight – Spotlight on Women in Scottish Aquaculture

Mon, 2020-09-07 09:00

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

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

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

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

How has WiSA adapted and helped people during this time?

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

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

What’s the biggest misconception about the aquaculture industry?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food and Drink Fortnight – Focus on fishermen working during coronavirus

Sat, 2020-09-05 10:00

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

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

Boxful of Nephrops

Copyright: Alistair Roberts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eilidh Anne at Sea

Copyright: Finlay Oman

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

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

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

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

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

Jamie McMillan

Copyright: Alan Watson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proposed seafish amendments for UK Fisheries Bill

Thu, 2020-09-03 11:35

After clause 37

1 After clause 37, insert—

“Sea Fish Industry Authority

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 After clause 37,

insert— “Sea Fish Industry Authority: delegation of functions

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

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

“3B Delegation of functions

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 After clause 37, insert—

“Sea Fish Industry Authority: accounts and reports

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

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

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

(b) after subsection (7) insert—

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

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

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

4 After clause 37, insert—

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

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

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

“11A Plan relating to allocation of Scottish levies

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

(a) prepare a plan setting out—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(4) The Authority—

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

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

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

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

(b) lay the plan before the Scottish Parliament.

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

(a) in the exercise of its functions, and

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

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

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

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

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

5 After clause 37, insert—

“Sea Fish Industry Authority: committee for Scotland

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

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

(a) before sub-paragraph (1) insert—

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

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

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

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

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

6 After clause 37, insert—

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

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

(2) In section 4 (levies)—

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

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

(c) after subsection (8) insert—

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

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

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

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

(e) after subsection (9) insert—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b) after paragraph 3 insert—

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

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

(b) such other persons as they consider appropriate.

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

7 After clause 37, insert—

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

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

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

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Scottish Marine Energy Research Symposium

Thu, 2020-09-03 11:27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more

ScotMER March 2020 Symposium

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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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