fisheries consultants - counting fish and talking to people
Projectfish.co.uk believe that people have a universal right to participate
in the production of knowledge that directly affects their lives.
To that end we use a participatory and collaborative research approach.
Projectfish.co.uk specialise in stakeholder engagement, consultation and the curation of robust data sets.
We have developed software that provides dynamic and high quality visual representations of spatial fisheries management data and information gathered by stakeholder consultations. The software helps our clients better interpret and interrogate information allowing them to make better informed decisions about their delivery and policies.
Annie has a background in environmental management and legislation, but has worked predominantly in community development and regeneration, and has particular skills in project management, engagement, consultation and facilitation with a keen interest in the economic and social impacts of natural resource management and legislation - having worked in rural development, agriculture and the fishing industry.
Magnus is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Marine Biology at the University of Hull. He has a particular interest in crustaceans and is notorious for being particularly supportive of the fishing industry. He has 10 years’ experience of working with the fishing community along the Yorkshire coast and served as an honorary board member of the Holderness Fishing Industry Group. He has recently edited a volume of the Advances in Marine Biology series dedicated to the Biology and Ecology of Nephrops and Marine Managed Areas. He firmly believes that the fishing industry should be carrying out its own research to meets its needs and defend itself against with science the vagaries of political and NGO opinion. Every fishing boat should be a research platform.
As part of its ongoing drive for long term sustainability the NSRAC Nephrops Focus Group (www.nsrac.org) asked us to produce a long term management plan for the Nephrops fishery in Fladen fishing grounds.
Dr John Whelan
SWFPA Chief Executive, Mike Park for his technical advice and support and the members of the SWFPA in particular James Reid, Chairman of the SWFPA Nephrops Committee and Bill Wiseman, Vice Chairman of the SWFPA.
This involved examining past trends in the fishery, analysing the movements of boats over the last few years and interviewing skippers and others involved in the industry. Working with the fleet we developed a management plan, specifically tailored for the Fladen Nephrops Fishery that aims to ensure the sustainability of the stock and the wider environment. The plan is based on a consultative exploration of the range of possible management options.
The overarching component of our approach to the research and delivery of the report and its recommendations has been our regard to engagement of the Fladen Nephrops Fishery.
Our research, final report and its recommendations support the intent to increase the economic and social stability of the Nephrops industry in Scotland and improve the management of a fishery that is predominantly prosecuted by the Scottish fleet. Whilst providing, yet another good example of Scottish proactivity towards advancing fisheries management.
To enable the continued engagement and consultation and making best use of our social media contacts within the Fladen Nephrops industry we produced a short video giving a brief summary of the position of the fishery, a reflection of what skippers and others have told us and made it available on line at http://vimeo.com/88661555
This put forward some very tentative initial suggestions for management measures that could be included in a long term management plan for the fishery.
1) The Fladen fishery has low density, large sized stocks of Nephrops that below a certain catch rate makes the grounds uneconomic to fish. There appears to be a link between winter temperatures the previous year and the following years catch. This may be due to the dynamic vulnerability of Nephrops. This offers the ground some natural protection as it is an offshore fishery, thus costly to fish. There is no need for further legislative spatial protection.
2) The grounds cannot be considered in isolation from other functional units as the Nephrops fleet has pack-like behaviour and moves from ground to ground as the fishery comes on.
3) While the fishery has made significant advances with regard to selectivity, there is more that could be done such as the development of active rather than passive selectivity. We hope that the discard ban and the end of the cod recovery plan will lead to a freeing up of gear configuration regulations and allow skippers to develop specific techniques for their own boats.
4) We do not think the fleet should move to 3-4 rig trawls. This would increase the efficiency of larger boats and reduce the effective natural protection that the grounds already have.
Projectfish.co.uk were asked to collate a range of information from the skippers/owners of vessels operating to the west of Scotland. Of particular interest to the industry at the moment are the spatial and temporal distributions of cod relative to other species. Ideally fishermen would prefer not to catch cod that they either have to discard or lease quota in order to land it.
Dr John Whelan
Scottish White Fish Producers Association, in particular Mike Park and the White Fish and Shelf Edge Committee
Scottish Fisherman’s Organisation, in particular the Peterhead office, Frank Stride and Jane Sandell
Orkney Fish Producers Organisation, with special thanks to Alan Coghill.
Marine Scotland and 15 skippers that gave their time and information in such good spirit.
Our approach, as always, was to infiltrate the (west of Scotland) fisheries not limiting ourselves to formal consultation techniques. Extractive approaches may engage large numbers of fishers, but are less reliable and fail to improve governance; neither would they extract the depth of information needed or identify the subtle nuances of the situation. Participatory approaches, including collaborative research have greater promise for improving fisheries science and management. This, we believed was essential to fully understanding the scope, reporting on the spatial and temporal distributions and gaining insight into the economic and social drivers behind fishers decision making processes. Our unique approach to relationship building means we were able to conduct a robust consultation and create shared ownership of the report and its findings.
The Atlas is a set of seasonal images using the VMS (vessel monitoring system) and landings data – overlaid with the anecdotal information from the skipper interviews.
The Atlas aims to:
1. qualitatively assess by interview which areas off the West Coast (VIa) skippers consider to be those in which significant quantities of cod are likely to be taken in demersal trawls
2. map patterns of effort of the same boats
3. quantify the catches taken by the same skippers by ICES rectangle using data from Marine Scotland
The Atlas has used data from a range of sources to provide a qualitative picture of the discarding pattern.
We have gathered data on landings and effort and further information from skippers on the temporal and spatial distribution of target species, cod caught/discarded and mix of catch.