The UK Seafood Fund has pledged support for initiatives to minimise the impact of lost fishing gears and to develop trawl gears to reduce by-catch levels.
The Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme – part of the £100m UK Seafood Fund – brings together industry and researchers to deliver pioneering projects which promote the sustainable management of the UK’s fisheries and help equip the fishing industry for the future.
More that £4 million has so far been made available by the UK Government to fund projects under the scheme. From today, a new funding round for the FISP is opening, with increased awards of up to £1 million for two-year projects and new eligible funding areas, allowing for a wider variety of more ambitious projects to receive support.
‘It’s fantastic to see four Scottish projects benefiting from nearly £270,000 of UK Government investment. It will not only cement our fishing industry’s reputation as one of the best in the world, but also elevate its potential even further,’ said Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord.
‘From research into maximising cockle stocks by the University of Glasgow to monitoring Ling on Shetland with the University of the Highlands and Islands, there is so much hard work going on in Scotland to benefit the industry everywhere. This is only the start. With the extension of the UK Seafood fund into 2025, I want to encourage more Scottish innovators to present their plans for funding.’
The UK Seafood Fund will also be extended from 2024 until 31 March 2025 to help longer-term projects to succeed by giving them more time to use the investment.
Following the initial launch of the FISP scheme in 2021, when approximately £1.4 million was allocated, a number of ground-breaking projects are already underway and making significant progress.
Among these are SafetyNet Technologies, which is exploring the use of LED lights as an effective tool to deter non-target species and to prevent by-catch. FISP funding has been used to host workshops with scientists based in Aberdeen and to conduct sampling trips ahead of starting commercial trials on lobster and squid vessels this month.
‘The successful outcomes of our workshops and agreed sampling protocols have paved the way for an exciting project and the trials ahead. Working closely with the skippers and scientists, there is a building excitement to get out on the boats, begin the trials and collect the data,’ said Larissa Kunstel-Tabet, Project Manager at Safety Net Technologies.
Successful bidders from the FISP Round 2, announced today, includes CEFAS which will work with a group of skippers in the Farn Deeps nephrops trawl fishery to test selective trawls, chosen from designs that have demonstrated potential to reduce unwanted catches in limited scientific trials.
Other successful bidders are the Holderness Fishing Industry Group, which is partnering with the University of Hull to help identify practices to reduce the impact of lost shell fishing gear and assess hidden costs to the industry and individuals, and Bangor University and partners which aim to research the impact of towed fishing gear – such as scallop dredging and beam trawling – on blue carbon in seabed sediments.
‘It’s fantastic to see Welsh projects benefiting from UK Government investment,’said Secretary of State for Wales Sir Robert Buckland.
‘Bangor University is a hugely important and well-respected centre for Marine Science, and I’d like to congratulate them on their multiple successful bids.’
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