Sustainable Scottish Inshore Fisheries

An EFF funded project led by Seafish and managed by MASTS



The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) is providing £1.4 million of funding through Seafish to support research within Scottish inshore fisheries. This is in direct response to Scotland's Inshore Fisheries Groups (IFGs) recognition that there is a lack of evidence (data) upon which to better manage Scotland's inshore fisheries. The project ‘Evidence Gathering In Support of Sustainable Scottish Inshore Fisheries’ has been commissioned to take place between June 2014 and July 2015, in support of the future sustainability of the industry and consists of 7 sub-projects or “Work Packages”. The funding from the EFF therefore looked at the benefit of the IFGs by addressing key knowledge gaps identified in their management plans. These included, for example, establishing the location and footprint of fishing activities, improving catch data to enable stock assessments, improving local market opportunities for inshore fisheries, and developing an information resource base for inshore fisheries management. This pilot work was part of a 7 year project plan which will include accessing additional funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), thereby contributing to the longer-term development of the industry and sustainable fisheries management. The contractors commissioned to deliver the Work Packages engaged with the industry to undertake their research. The results will be used to inform future fisheries policy, therefore ensuring the programme runs in close working partnership with IFGs, is of paramount importance.

An article has been published on WP2 and WP3 in Fishing News to read please click here

To view a 10 minute video summarising the results of this project please see below

The Project Work Packages – Objectives and Outputs

WP1. Establishing the location of fishing activities within Scottish inshore areas (Final Report)

Objective: To establish the feasibility of collecting and utilising information on the location of individual inshore fishing vessel activity through the use of an automated electronic reporting system based on VHF technology.

Deliverables: Up to 300 Class B, Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder units will be fitted to a cross section of the inshore fleet working around Scotland. Software solutions to allow fishermen to visualise and where they wish record AIS vessel tracks will also be investigated (detailed information on this can be accessed via the links below). AIS data from target vessels will be aggregated and used to assess the viability of AIS to inform inshore fisheries management. A final report will make recommendations for potential further development of the technology and identify the benefits to be derived from the deployment of VHF based vessel tracking systems.

To review the guidance manual on how to download, install and utilise the open-source programme OpenCPN to visualise and record AIS data received by your Class B AIS unit click here.

Click here to view OpenCPN tutorial video 1.

Click here to view OpenCPN tutorial video 2.

Summary of Outputs

WP2. Monitoring fishery catch to assist scientific stock assessments in Scottish inshore fisheries (Final Report)

Objective: To identify target fisheries with limited scientific stock assessment information, provide opportunities for inshore fishing vessel involvement in the scientific catch monitoring process and through collaborative working, improve the knowledge base and ability for inshore fishermen to contribute to stock assessment programmes.

Successful Applicant: SeaScope Fisheries Research Ltd

Deliverables: Vessels working within data deficient fisheries on the Scottish west coast will be commissioned (40 vessel days in total) to undertake assisted sampling of catches in conjunction with on-board observers and following initial training of crews in sampling procedures. Additional instruction at the completion of field sampling will allow fishermen to understand the use of such information within the stock assessment and fishery management process. The successful completion of instruction and sampling by commissioned vessels and crew will facilitate capacity building in this skills area with vessels and crew registered as competent and with the ability to take on future work in this area. (Vessels and crews participating in this work package are likely to be preferentially linked to WP3). Training materials for wider industry dissemination will be produced and a final report supplying additional information on data deficient stocks sampled will be made available. Recommendations will be made for how a register of vessels and crew might be operated and ongoing training and accreditation provided throughout Scotland in the future.

Summary of Outputs

At the 2015 Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference (Inverness) Kelvin Boot talks to Grant Course of Seascope Ltd. about the project and the technology they employed in verify catch-and-discards in Scottish inshore fisheries.

WP3. Identifying catch composition to improve Scottish inshore fisheries management using technology to enable self-reporting (Final Report)

Objective: To investigate the potential for catch composition information to be derived from small inshore fishing vessels through the innovative use of technology; and to assess the use and cost effectiveness of such information within scientific assessments of data deficient fisheries.

Successful Applicant: SeaScope Fisheries Research Ltd

Deliverables: Undertake a pilot project utilising electronic monitoring and video technology (EM Technology) to verify reported catches aboard small inshore vessels on the Scottish West coast. This will involve; installing a suitable EM system aboard a reference fleet of 11 vessels; trialling a range of technological innovations to supply additional biological, catch and effort data; training of crews in self reporting techniques; commissioning sea trips (40 vessel days) to provide control data for other estimation methods and to test technological innovations. Seafish and other decision makers will be informed of the issues and benefits associated with using EM technology on-board inshore vessels, to assist fishers in data collection and to make recommendations as to how to verify the data on a larger and longer term scale.

Summary of Outputs

WP4. Pilot study to define the footprint and activities of Scottish inshore fisheries by identifying target fisheries, habitats and associated fish stocks (Final Report)

Objective: To examine in a discrete area the range and quality of historic and developing fishing location and activity data available together with habitat, hydrographic and fisheries science information, and to establish a platform allowing such data streams to be combined. The outputs will be assessed in relation to an improved understanding of the environmental links supporting inshore fisheries and fish stocks.

Successful Applicant: SAMS Research Services Ltd

Deliverables: The pilot project will run in two pilot regions one in SW Scotland and one on the East coast. Available information on historic and present fishing activities in the areas will be collated and interpreted together with the available physical and biological information relevant to sustaining the target fishery or species. Characterisation of the available data will allow a pilot data management system to be designed specifically for the intended purpose of the project. The system adopted will make use of the latest data sets available through external interrogation of data servers. The final stage of the pilot will be to develop a pilot data visualisation tool tailored to fisheries manager’s needs. The web based approach will blend the traditional map based graphics with time varying data such as the available fisheries catch records from an area. The pilot data visualisation tool developed will allow access across multiple platforms allowing any authorised stakeholder with access to an internet browser to view the data available.

Summary of Outputs

To interact with the demonstration Inshore Fisheries Data Explorer please click here. To view the video introduction and guide click here. Please note that due to data licensing restrictions the Admiralty Chart option within the viewer has been removed.

WP5. Improving market intelligence and fishery production co-ordination in Scottish inshore fisheries (Final Report)

Objective: To evaluate the potential for landing an increased proportion of inshore fish catch, and strengthening overall sales revenues, through informing the markets of local landings availability and advising fishermen of wider market opportunities.

Successful Applicant: Nautilus Consultants Ltd.

Deliverables: The pilot will target two or three geographic locations on the West and East coasts to gain an improved understanding of the actual and/or potential volume, composition and seasonality of inshore fishery products and their disposition relative to existing collection and distribution networks. This will be evaluated in relation to an appraisal of local market opportunities, the characteristics of demand, and the corresponding product/supply requirements of the market. The key factors constraining landings and commercial sale of individual species will be determined, with a particular focus on constraints associated with peripherality. Opportunities to address constraints through improved communication systems will be explored, including improved provision of local supply and quality information in support of local marketing initiatives. In addition, work will include exploration of innovative ways of circumnavigating supply chain obstacles through forms of improved co-operation using identified innovative trade structures, enhanced data provision and use of technology such as web access. The potential for better utilisation and exchange of local and national market information by industry stakeholders will also be evaluated.

Summary of Outputs

WP6. Integrating stock management considerations with market opportunities in Scottish inshore fisheries (Final Report)

Objective: To undertake a pilot assessment of the potential economic and associated benefits of establishing minimum market landing size in excess of minimum legal landing size for key shellfish species; and to evaluate if such an intervention could be undertaken at a regional level.

Successful Applicant: Hambrey Consulting

Deliverables: The pilot project will focus on prawn (Nephrops) and velvet crab in two or three case study areas. The main outputs from the study will include an assessment of the nature and current status of inshore fisheries within the case study areas, the fishing effort and costs in relation to the target species on a seasonal basis, and the relationships between individual size, seasonality and fishing costs. The main markets for the target species will also be analysed, and the importance of individual size, seasonality and other product characteristics assessed in terms of determining market price. The pilot will identify the possible impacts of increased market landing size with respect to stock structure, stock yield and potential catch profile; and possible future stock, catch and market scenarios resulting from increased market size, together with any economic considerations for inshore fishing activities at either a national or regional level.

Summary of Outputs

WP8. Establishing a dedicated information resource base for Scottish inshore fisheries (Final Report)

Objective: To determine the availability of information required for inshore fisheries management purposes and identify appropriate means for the provision and utilisation of such information in the local decision making process

Successful Applicant: Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd.

Deliverables: The project aims to address the needs of the IFG network by developing a web based searchable database capable of updating the information streams currently held within each of the IFG fisheries management plans. Such an approach aims to allow individual IFGs to easily identify and explore the range of information available for specific fisheries and to update plans on demand. The potential to link such information back to a Scottish Seafood Information Hub will be evaluated in terms of linkages relating to increasing the economic value of landings into an IFG area.

Summary of Outputs

To gain access to the Scottish Fisheries Literature Database please click here and login in using the email '' and password 'Password101'.