Trust supports lobster notching scheme

NAFC Marine Centre fisheries technician Mark Hamilton measures a lobster. The v-notching scheme in Shetland is one of those supported by the Scottish Fishermen's Trust

NAFC Marine Centre fisheries technician Mark Hamilton measures a lobster. The v-notching scheme in Shetland is one of those supported by the Scottish Fishermen’s Trust

A lobster v-notching scheme in Shetland is one of the projects supported by the Scottish Fishermen’s Trust this year.

The trust has awarded grants in excess of £100,000 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 lobster v-notching scheme run by the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO).

A v-notch in the right endopodite of a lobster

A v-notch in the right endopodite of a lobster

Fishermen are asked to keep any berried lobsters and large males and females. Staff from the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway and SSMO will then v-notch these and the fishermen can put them back into the sea. Fishermen are compensated by £10 per kilo for v-notched lobsters.

Buyers know not to purchase any lobsters which have a notch taken out of their tail. This scheme will encourage reproduction and thus stock rebuilding.

Other projects supported are: 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.

Fisheried trust chairman James Brown, 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 Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “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.

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