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International blue carbon partnerships awarded £10K

Marine Scotland Blog - Thu, 2022-06-30 14:44

Blue carbon experts have been successful in their bids for funding up to £10,000 per project, following the launch of the Blue Carbon International Policy Challenge (BCIPC) in April by Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan.

The BCIPC has supported new international partnerships to share knowledge and find ways to move from research to action as they explore how carbon stored in our ocean (blue carbon) can help mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts.

The four project teams selected to receive funding demonstrated innovation in areas of research that can help to realise the potential of blue carbon nature-based solutions for climate, people and biodiversity globally.

Scotland's Blue Carbon graphic

Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan said: “We are delighted to support these projects, which bring international partners together to achieve the shared goal of furthering knowledge and understanding of blue carbon to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts. Working collaboratively will have collective benefits for our global environments, economies and communities including accelerating action on the future challenges we all face in delivering on our COP27 blue carbon ambitions.”

Writing from the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon this week, Scottish Blue Carbon Forum (SBCF) chair Professor Bill Austin (University of St Andrews) commented “I am delighted to see the successful Blue Carbon International Policy Challenge awards announced today by the Scottish Government, particularly timely as we build a strong and connected network through the new UN Decade Programme for Ocean Science (GO-BC) that will focus on Blue Carbon and aims to deliver “the science we need for the ocean we want”. I am delighted that Scotland will lead by example in building strong international partnerships to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and particularly its support for UN SDG number 14 (life below water).”

All projects will conclude in October 2022, with outputs contributing to Scottish Government activity for COP27 – supporting a continued focus on ocean-climate action.

Further details of the successful projects and partners can be found below:

Maximising the co-benefits of blue carbon restoration – for nature, blue economy, and communities

Partners from Scotland: James Hutton Institute and University of St Andrews, Norway: Norwegian Geological Survey, and Ireland: University College Dublin will review current blue carbon habitat protection, restoration and creation approaches and consider opportunities for blue carbon restoration. A workshop to gather national and international perspectives on policy and research implications will be also be conducted.

Blue forests – how macroalgae farming can be used in a net-zero policy framework

Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) from Scotland and KTH Royal Institute of Technology from Sweden will bring together a network of international experts across marine science, industry and non-government organisations for a two-day workshop in the developing area of macroalgae (kelp) farming to highlight knowledge gaps where evidence is not sufficient.

Assessment of the potential for blue carbon partnerships between Scotland and international partners

Partners from Scotland: University of St Andrews and the USA: Conservation International (CI) will seek to initiate a network of partners with fjord (sea loch) expertise to develop and promote a greater understanding of blue carbon in mid-to-high latitude areas. The Scottish Government worked with the lead partner previously to progress the Chile-Scotland Memorandum of Understanding, signed at COP26.

Blue carbon ocean literacy: Communicating blue carbon research and evidence to diverse stakeholder communities

This project team aims to develop and improve blue carbon awareness. By identifying distinct target audiences the team will develop plain English guides to be translated into different languages, a community engagement video, and a Swahili translation of the citizen science Seagrass Spotter App to help African communities conserve seagrass.
Project partners from Scotland: Edinburgh Napier University, the Association for Coast Ecosystem Services (ACES) and Project Seagrass; Kenya: Vanga Blue Forest and USA/Philippines: Mangrove Action Project.

Further information

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What it’s like to be a woman in the Scottish fishing industry

Marine Scotland Blog - Wed, 2022-06-22 12:55

We have published a new independent report, providing insights on the real life experiences, challenges and opportunities of women working in the Scottish fishing industry.

 

The Women in Scottish Fisheries review was carried out by PhD student, Katja Hržić in 2021 during a three-month internship in the Scottish Government’s Marine Analytical Unit, and draws from a wide body of research literature.

 

This review was delivered as part of Scotland’s Fisheries Management Strategy 2020-2030, which has a key outcome to promote fishing as an attractive and safe career of choice, supporting new entrants into the sector, and equal treatment regardless of national origin or gender. It also has the potential to shape policy outcomes which contribute to better outcomes for women working in the sector.

 

The review centres around three questions:

  • what are the perceived and lived challenges for women in Scottish fisheries?
  • what opportunities have supported women in fishing communities in Scotland and beyond?
  • women are not all the same, therefore, how do other factors contribute to the experiences of women in fisheries?

We spoke to Katja about her placement experience and her research project.

 

What is the stand out finding / findings for you?

“For me, it is the need to tackle sustainability and safety issues, and how improvements in these areas might have a direct impact on improving equality in the industry. This is already included in Scotland’s Fisheries Management Strategy, but looking at the literature and existing reports made me realise how challenging this work is.

 

“Views on equality and fair employment in fishing communities are complex and not uniform, with many women taking on significant but informal or unpaid roles within fishing communities. A third of the Scottish seafood processing sector identified as female last year.

 

Pie chart of gender of employees in Scottish seafood processing in 2021 shows women make up just over one third of employees. Produced through Seafish' Tableau Public at Processing Enquiry Tool | Tableau Public“Women often face a range of practical, socio-economic and cultural challenges. It can be something as broad as difficulty in accessing training or the disproportionate effects of the coronavirus pandemic on caring responsibilities, to something as basic as inappropriate clothing or safety mitigations which are suited more towards men.

 

“Throughout the report, gender-specific language was avoided, opting for ‘fisher’ rather than ‘fisherman’. It’s a small transition that quietly asks for more inclusivity within the industry.”

 

What were the biggest challenges you faced?

“Despite the logistical challenges of the coronavirus pandemic I really enjoyed the time I spent in the Marine Scotland Directorate. I was working remotely, so it took a few weeks to get used to internal IT systems, and to feel fully integrated in the team. It really helped that everyone was very welcoming and I had a great time. Another challenge was getting the tone right in my writing but with the help and guidance from my colleagues and supervisor I learned how to structure my findings.”

 

What was your biggest personal take away?

“I wanted to gain a better understanding of the work of the Marine Scotland Directorate, Scottish fisheries policies, and experience in applying research to policy. I now have an understanding of fisheries-related policy, especially aspects related to equality and fair employment which is something I can apply to my own research. I also gained a lot from collaborating with others and working on varied day-to-day tasks which is very different from an independent research project; I realised that this type of work really suits me, so I am considering another SG internship later in my PhD.

 

“Being invited to present at the Marine Social Science Network seminar was an exciting experience with an opportunity to discuss the findings with other researchers and experts on the topic.”

 

  • The views and opinions of the report are that of the author and do not constitute government policy
  • The image at the top of this blog is copyright of Seafish: www.seafish.org

 

The post What it’s like to be a woman in the Scottish fishing industry appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Alba na Mara in the Pentland Firth

Marine Scotland Photos - Fri, 2022-06-17 16:00

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Alba na Mara in the Pentland Firth

Picture by Andy Wymer. Alba na Mara sailing in the Pentland Firth. :copyright: Copyright Andy Wymer

Alba na Mara sailing in the Pentland Firth

Marine Scotland Photos - Fri, 2022-06-17 16:00

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Alba na Mara sailing in the Pentland Firth

Picture by Andy Wymer. Alba na Mara sailing in the Pentland Firth

Fish tracking receivers

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Fish tracking receivers

Fish tracking receivers

Photo by Dr Anthony Bicknell, University of Exeter

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Fish tracking receiver in the sea

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Fish tracking receiver in the sea

Fish tracking received in the sea

Photo by Dr Anthony Bicknell, University of Exeter

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Fish tracking receiver in sea

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Fish tracking receiver in sea

Fishing tracking receiver in the sea

Photo by Dr Anthony Bicknell, University of Exeter

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Photo by Dr Anthony Bicknell, University of Exeter

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Photo by Dr Anthony Bicknell, University of Exeter

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Marine Scotland Photos - Tue, 2022-05-31 11:28

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Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm

Photo by Dr Anthony Bicknell, University of Exeter

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Share your views on sustainable fisheries management

Marine Scotland Blog - Mon, 2022-05-30 14:43

The Marine Scotland directorate of the Scottish Government currently has two consultations open as part of the 10-year Future Fisheries Management Strategy to deliver on sustainable fisheries management in Scotland.

Stakeholders have until 7 June 2022 to share their views on fishing activities and electronic monitoring activity in Scotland’s waters through the respective Future Catching Policy (FCP) consultation and Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) consultation.

FCP consultation

The FCP consultation outlines proposals to Ensure that fishing vessels operating in Scottish waters are undertaking sustainable fishing practices.  and aims to address long-standing issues around bycatch (unintentional catching of specific fish and other marine species) to minimise environmental and ecological damage.

We will work in partnership with industry, scientists and environmental groups to co-develop management measures to tackle discarding, and to reduce  catches of unwanted fish and avoid bycatch of sensitive marine species, such as seabirds, seals and dolphins,  preserving them for future generations. The FCP consultation also seeks views on additional management measures for creels, gillnet and longline fisheries.

REM consultation

Scallop vessel with fishing equipment

Fishing equipment

The REM consultation outlines proposals on the use of imagery, sensors and GPS to monitor fishing activity.

The consultation for certain fishing vessels  (scallop dredge and pelagic) seeks views on the implementation of an enhanced and independent level of monitoring on board . This consultation also seeks views on options for further rollout to other parts of the fleet.

REM will ensure that there will be increased transparency and accountability of fishing activity, but also that Scotland’s seafood products are of the highest quality and fished sustainably.

Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to being a world-leader in fisheries management. We take our role as guardian of Scotland’s natural marine environment seriously.

“The Future Catching Policy will build on our current approach, signalling a step change in the way in which unsustainable fishing practices are tackled.

“Remote electronic monitoring will provide us with enhanced technology in order to monitor fishing activity for certain parts of the fishing fleet, adding to our rich scientific base and delivering confidence and accountability for the consumer.

“We are demonstrating Scotland’s leadership in fisheries management; cementing our credentials as responsible and sustainable fisheries managers, and signalling to all fishing vessels operating in Scottish waters that we can and must do better in order to protect and enhance our fantastic marine environment, for now and the future.”

Further information:

  • Future Fisheries Management (FFM) Strategy
  • Discards are described as fish, often dead or dying, that are returned to the sea during commercial fishing operations. As part of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) catches of quota fish may no longer be discarded. Instead, all of the catch must be landed and counted against quota. The FCP builds on the approach established under the CFP and ensures that we can maintaining and enhance the standards that are already in place
  • Both consultations close on 7 June. We will then carry out analysis of the responses and seek to publish a consultation report outlining next steps within 12 weeks of the end of the consultation

The post Share your views on sustainable fisheries management appeared first on Marine Scotland.

What are Invasive Species?

Marine Scotland Blog - Fri, 2022-05-20 13:53

Invasive non-native species (INNS) are plants and animals that have been introduced by humans, either deliberately or accidentally, from an area outside of their native range.

Once introduced, they can out-compete local species, creating an imbalance in the ecosystem and threatening native biodiversity. The Global Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) identifies invasive non-native species as one of the main direct drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide.  The economic cost of INNS to the UK economy is calculated to be £1.7 billion annually[1].

Many cases of non-native species do not cause significant problems in their new environment. However, they have the potential to live and breed without the same dangers of predators, pests or diseases that have evolved to limit the native population. This means that they may be able to survive better than the local species, using food resources and habitats and impacting populations of local species, while multiplying rapidly themselves, thereby becoming invasive. This can have a major impact on an area’s ecosystem and biodiversity.

Major impact on ecosystem and biodiversityAmerican lobster - invasive species we are particularly vigilant for in Scotland

In the marine environment, INNS can spread through a variety of pathways; in ballast water, through hull fouling (marine growth) on vessels, by aquaculture stock movements and by accidental or intentional releases.  Some INNS we are particularly vigilant for in Scotland include: carpet sea squirt, American lobster, Asian shore crab, slipper limpet, signal crayfish and pink salmon (links to more information about each can be found below).

Scottish Government action

In Scotland we have been dealing with outbreaks of Didemnum vexillum or carpet sea squirt as it is also known, which is present in Scottish waters specifically in the Firth of Clyde and Loch Creran on the west coast of Scotland.

Loch Creran is a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to the presence of reefs produced by living organisms. A SAC is a special habitat and/or species as listed in the Habitats Directive, a legal framework on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Because of this protection, the Scottish Government actively engages with local marine users to help control the spread of carpet sea squirt and ensure the environmental integrity of the reef.

Invasive non-native species didemnum vexillum or carpet sea squirt as it is also known

The Loch Creran Community Biosecurity Action Plan was produced by Marine Scotland in partnership with the community to help advise marine users on the best ways to manage and prevent further spread of carpet sea squirt. A similar Community Biosecurity Action Plan was commissioned for Loch Fyne, located close to the Firth of Clyde, where carpet sea squirt is also known to be present. Whilst both plans are focussed on the carpet sea squirt, the actions listed are useful and practical against many other types of marine invasive species.

Survey and Monitoring Work

Scottish Government scientists carry out annual surveys at hotspot locations for carpet sea squirt and other INNS, to assess where further action may be required. There is also a lot of work underway with the British-Irish Council about introducing a voluntary protocol for the aquaculture industry to help manage biosecurity risks involved with stock movements and prevent INNS, which could be very costly to this sector.

We are also actively monitoring for American lobster, signal crayfish and pink salmon, working with UK administrations and statutory organisations such as: NatureScot and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to ensure high levels of biosecurity to prevent further outbreaks, or control spread where required.

Shetland and Orkney Islands

In Shetland, the University of the Highlands and Islands has been monitoring the presence of marine INNS for the last decade. The Shetland Islands Regional Marine Plan (SIRMP) has been developed with financial support from Marine Scotland and the Shetland Islands Council to identify areas most at risk of non-native species. This was used in the development of a biosecurity plan for the Shetland Islands and to guide where monitoring occurs.Marina rapid assessment copyright OIC Harbour Authority

Orkney Harbour Authority conducts annual surveys of natural and artificial marine habitats using a variety of methods to collect samples and measurements at each site. This data helps to monitor the local environmental conditions because any changes over time could affect how likely new marine INNS are to spread to the region. To date, 21 marine INNS have been recorded by this monitoring programme including: Japanese skeleton shrimp, red seaweed, Bonnemaison’s hook weed and orange ripple bryozoan.

Five steps to help prevent the spread
  1. if you find a suspected INNS, these can be recorded on the UK-wide database iRecord.  A photograph, location and detailed description would be especially helpful for any reports submitted. The Non-Native Species Secretariat website has a wealth of resources, including over 60 identification sheets for various species and additional apps that can be used to record specific INNS
  2. whenever you leave the water remember the guidance to ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ as some invasive plants and animals can survive for over two weeks in damp conditions
  3. don’t let any garden, pond or aquarium plants enter the wild – check the guidance for how to ‘Be Plant Wise’
  4. take care of your pets and never release them or let them escape into the wild; it could have a major impact on other wildlife
  5. be aware of species alerts for the UK and if you see them, report them
  6. there are lots of volunteering opportunities throughout the year – if you are interested, check for local action groups in your area and get involved
Further information:

 

[1] The economic cost of invasive non-native species on Great Britain. (cabi.org)

The post What are Invasive Species? appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Outer Hebrides fisheries management pilot reports successful first year

Marine Scotland Blog - Wed, 2022-05-11 15:59

A locally-led fisheries management pilot for the Outer Hebrides is reporting positive impacts on fishing businesses and the environment in its first year, a new report reveals.

The Outer Hebrides Inshore Fisheries Pilot is co-managed by the Regional Inshore Fisheries Group (RIFG) and the Marine Scotland Directorate of the Scottish Government.  The Pilot limits the number of creels that commercial fishing vessels may deploy in the waters around the isles. The aim of this is to improve the management of shellfish stocks in area, enabling future generations to benefit from a resource that remains of vital importance to this island community.

The Pilot is also testing one possible approach to a low-cost vessel tracking solution for small inshore fishing vessels. This is being trialled aboard 40 vessels and builds on the Scottish Inshore Fisheries Integrated Data System (SIFIDS) project led by the University of St Andrews.

Fishers in the Outer Hebrides continue to express strong support for the Pilot and are observing positive impacts on their fishing businesses.

Donald MacLennan, a Skipper for the Valhalla based in Harris said:  

“It’s been a challenging time in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and the Ukraine conflict, and the rising cost of fuel, creel and nephrops catches are particular concerns.

“However, in spite of these challenges, the first year of the Pilot has worked fewer creels and reduced time at sea, leading to a significant improvement in our gross income.

“I believe the Pilot proves that with creel fishing, less can be more.”

Duncan MacInnes, Secretary of the Western Isles Fisherman’s Association (WIFA), said:

“The Pilot has brought a sense of stability to the fleet, especially in relation to uncontrolled creel fishing.

“The initial success has been encouraging to the members of WIFA and we would like to see an extension of the initiative to cover a much larger area of the Western Isles.”

The Pilot will continue with vessel tracking until October 2022. An evaluation and qualitative assessment of the Pilot project will be conducted throughout 2022 to assess the social and economic impacts of the Pilot, and provide insights and recommendations into future projects.

Further information:

 

 

 

 

The post Outer Hebrides fisheries management pilot reports successful first year appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Guillemots on rocks

Marine Scotland Photos - Wed, 2022-05-04 10:39

Marine Scotland Image Bank posted a photo:

Guillemots on rocks

Collection of guillemots on rock

Photo by Ian Wilson

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm during construction. The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm is a wind farm close to the Beatrice oil field in the Moray Firth, 13 km off the north east coast of Scotland.

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Dolphin at Aberdeen harbour

Marine Scotland Photos - Wed, 2022-05-04 10:39

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Dolphin at Aberdeen harbour

Dolphin at Aberdeen harbour

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