The Scottish Fishermen’s Trust (SFT) has awarded grants in excess of £100,000 so far this year for a diverse range of fisheries science and conservation projects.
Many of these projects support initiatives that have come directly from Scottish fishermen looking to increase our understanding of fish stocks and promote their conservation, including the use of more selective fishing gears.
Awards made so far in 2014 include: the Scottish Association of Fish Producers Organisations initiative to collect, collate and communicate discards information; a new approach to estimating mackerel biomass being developed by the University of Aberdeen; gear selectivity trials initiated by Jimmy Buchan, skipper of Amity II; supporting the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s contribution towards analysing the data collected in the North Sea Stock Survey; and, a lobster v-notching scheme run by the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation.
The Trust was established by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) in 2000 with the aim of providing public benefit by promoting the protection and conservation of the marine environment.
It also promotes and encourages the health, safety and training of fishermen.
Since its establishment it has awarded grants of more than £700,000 in support of such projects.
Commenting, James Brown, SFT chairman, said: “We are delighted at the large number of worthwhile projects we are supporting this year and are impressed by the dynamism and enthusiasm of our fishermen in instigating these initiatives.
“Knowledge is all-empowering and these projects will make a significant contribution in helping improve our understanding of the marine environment and the fisheries they support.”
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, added: “The diversity of projects being supported by the Trust this year is most impressive.
“It underlines the importance our fishermen attach to ensuring healthy marine ecosystems and the sustainable harvesting of a much valued food resource.”
Meanwhile, there continues to be good demand for training courses supported by SFT, including from active fishermen upgrading their non-mandatory certification.
The Trust also supported a graduate placement at the NAFC Marine Centre in Shetland. The Trust has been funded in the main from donations from the Federation’s marine services subsidiary, SFF Services.