Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Scots herring fishers set out to prove a point

Sorting out the herring
Sorting out the herring

West coast trawlers were involved in a pioneering survey aimed at improving knowledge about the health of their valuable herring fishery.

Six boats took part in the project, which will provide vital data for scientists and – further down the line – inform future policy-making.

Acoustic and biological information gathered by the vessels will contribute to stock assessments by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices), the scientific body which advises on annual quota limits and other management measures.

West of Scotland herring was chosen because even though it is believed by fishermen and scientists that southern and northern areas contain different stocks, the data needed by Ices to make the distinction is not currently available.

Existing catch and survey data only covers times when fish from the two areas are mixed together.

The ground-breaking project is being co-ordinated by marine scientists Steve Mackinson, who was appointed earlier this year as chief scientific officer for the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA), Scotland’s representative body for herring and mackerel fishermen, and Martin Pastoors of the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA).

Mr Mackinson said: “Due to constraints on resources, there is often a shortfall in information from marine scientific surveys carried out by national governments.

“It, therefore, makes good sense for the fishing industry to contribute to the scientific process.

“The scope of the activities of our fishing boats and the wide sea area they cover offers the ideal platform for collecting relevant marine data that might otherwise not be possible.”

Mr Pastoors said: “Identifying the different herring stock components within this area and their relative abundance will lead to better decision-making on the sustainable management of the fishery.”

The project is an international collaboration involving the SPFA and PFA as well as fishermen and scientists from Marine Scotland, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, the Dutch Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies, Germany’s Thuenen Institute, Marine Institute Ireland, University College Dublin and Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation.

There are plans for further surveys off the coast of Ireland later this year. Highlights from the Scottish research are being presented at the Ices Annual Science Conference in Riga, Latvia, this week.

Though nowhere near as valuable as fellow pelagic species mackerel, landings of herring by Scottish boats were still worth an estimated £21million last year.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]