Fisheries researchers begin study into crabs

THE FISHERIES Research Ser­vices (FRS) has embarked on a major new research programme to enable a better understanding of the relationship between inshore and offshore crab stocks in waters to the north of Scotland.

The project is one of a number funded under the Scottish Industry/Science Partnership which aims to ensure the sustainable harvesting of fish stocks.

FRS scientists will tag and release 5,000 brown crabs within a year, with the intention of fishermen later reporting where and when these crabs are re­captured.

Relatively little is known about these stocks and the valuable data gained will be used to understand more about the migratory and life history patterns of male and female brown crab in northern waters. Aileen Mill, who is leading the tagging project at FRS, said: “This is an exciting project for us. We aim to tag in excess of 5,000 crabs in the first year alone and it will be very interesting to see where they turn up.

“We are learning a lot from the fishermen involved with the SISP project and their contributions are extremely valued. The success of the project is dependent on getting good tag return information and as many tag returns as possible.

“The fishing industry will play the major role here and it is very important that they are aware of our project.”

Fishermen catching tagged crabs are asked to record the tag number and colour, the date and the location of where the crab was caught (latitude and longitude), the sex of the animal and the carapace width. They are also asked to note whether or not there is an additional cable tie tag on the claw.

All validated tag returns will be entered into an annual draw with prize money totalling £500.

Information should be forwarded to: SISP Crab Tag Returns, Inshore Fisheries Group, Fisheries Research Services, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen, AB11 9DB. Alternatively fishermen can call (01224) 876544 or log on to the FRS website at


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