Study into ‘abundance’ of monkfish around isles

The Shetland Fishermen’s Association has commissioned a new study into an alleged abundance of monkfish around the isles.

UHI Shetland has already taken on the work of examining catch rates of monkfish by Shetland vessels.

This comes in response to local fishermen reporting an increase in monkfish catches in 2022.

Monkfish was the most valuable species landed by Shetland’s family-owned whitefish vessels in 2021, worth £6 million and making up a fifth of the fleet’s total income.

The new study will examine the catch rates of monkfish using information recorded by fishing boats.

This is in order to investigate fishermen’s belief that the abundance of monkfish has increased around the isles this year.

SFA executive officer Daniel Lawson said the fishing industry stands ready to help government scientists with data collection.

He said: “Having our nation’s most valuable whitefish catch, monkfish, listed as ‘data deficient’ isn’t good enough.

“We hope that this study might be a starting point for meaningful discussions around the understanding of monkfish abundance.

“We’re looking for a win-win situation here: more trustworthy data for scientists, that leads to more realistic sustainable quotas for fishermen.”


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