Understanding the scale, impact and potential mitigation of marine animal entanglement in the Scottish static gear fishery.
Marine animal entanglement in fishing gear is a global concern, considered by many to be the most significant marine mammal welfare issue of our time. In Scottish waters concerns regarding entanglement have been raised by the inshore creel sector, and the available data indicates that the frequency, rate and range of species impacted has been increasing in recent years. Entanglements have conservation, welfare, economic and human safety implications, however a thorough scientific understanding of the issue is data deficient. For example the amount of creel gear being deployed, and the association between fishing effort and the incidence, seasonality, severity or outcome of entanglements is unclear. Recent work has highlighted industry willingness to address this issue, and meaningful engagement with fishers will be essential to this project.
Infer the location, intensity and variability of static gear fishing activity including the number of creels and amount of rope being deployed.
Conduct a series of surveys to measure Fishers’ perceptions, attitudes and motivations around entanglement, and understand the motives and barriers to fisher engagement with this topic.
Develop behaviourally-informed, evidence-based interventions to promote Fishers’ reporting of entanglement events involving cetaceans, elasmobranchs and marine turtles, and support declaration of gear loss locations and quantities.
Develop feasible, practical, industry-led data collection and mitigation strategies to reduce entanglement hazards whilst maintaining the economic sustainability of the fishery.
Dr Mark James (University of St Andrews), Dr Dave Comerford (Stirling University), Dr Andrew Brownlow (SRUC), Dr Kirstie Dearing (NatureScot), Dr Simon Northridge (University of St Andrews), Dr Tania Mendo (University of St Andrews), Prof. George Gunn (SRUC).
A project is led by Dr Mark James and Dr Tania Mendo of the School of Biology has been awarded a grant of nearly £300,000 to help protect the livelihoods of fishing communities in Peru hit by Covid-19.
Peru is one of the world’s worst Covid-19 impacted countries. High levels of labour informality drive the need for people to work, undermining disease containment. This is particularly acute in the fishing and seafood supply sector where there are limited economic alternatives.
This new research will help address the urgent need to understand the impacts of Covid-19 on fishing dependent communities and to develop strategies to reactivate the seafood supply chain whilst minimising further Covid-19 infections.
The funding of £297,163 has been awarded from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund.
The 18-month project will create a survey platform involving data collection, collation, automated analysis and a user-friendly data visualisation interface to provide decision support information to an Inter-Agency Consortium (IAC) led by Regional Government in the Piura region of Peru.
Online survey instruments will be developed and 12 Community Monitors trained to use them remotely to collect data from 12 key fishing communities. The data collected will include: health and welfare, fisheries related production and market information together with other local socio-economic indicators.
Gaps in social welfare, poor infrastructure and living conditions as well as high levels of informal employment exacerbate the impact of this disease in Peru. Artisanal fisheries are an important and overlooked activity which provides employment and basic nutrition for some of the poorest in rural areas. Thousands of jobs in the seafood supply chain are affected by the pandemic.
The project will involve researchers from the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI) in the School of Biology and the School of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia; the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome; the Agrarian National University; Redes Sostenibilidad Pesquera and an Inter-Agency Consortium (which includes representatives of all relevant Regional Government Departments, NGOs, industry and community stakeholders) as well as fishing organisations in Peru.
“I study Marine Biology and will be going into my second year at St Andrews. I am very interested in marine conservation and want to specialise in marine zoology. I have had experience working with aquatic wildlife, surveying coral reef populations, and analysing underwater video footage, and I have also worked on several conservation projects in Bermuda, Galápagos, and the British Virgin Islands. I am excited to collaborate with the Coastal Resources Management Group this summer, and I look forward to learning more about Scotland’s commercial inshore fisheries.”
“I have just finished my second year at St Andrews University as a Marine Biology BSc (Hons) student. I am still finding my way to a specific area within marine biology, but my interests and passions lay in science that supports the conservation of our oceans, it’s ecosystems and the sustainability of it’s fisheries. I have experience volunteering with education and outreach, as well as within marine research stations, the behaviour and biodiversity lab within St Andrews University and conservation projects both internationally and within Scotland. I am excited to be a part of the Coastal Resources Management Group for summer 2020 and look forward to the experience I will gain by interning with them, as well as being part of a group that promotes the sustainability of our oceans through science.”
The Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources programme is a £12.4 million initiative set to deliver research in support of UK marine environmental policy across five years. The research programme will support six projects covering a range of initiatives that seek to achieve the programme’s core themes. Proposals can bid for up to £1.5 million for 36 months and must address at least two of the programme’s three themes.
The overarching objective of the SMMR programme is to improve sustainable societal, behavioural and economic benefits through better management of UK marine resources and integrate this into systems-based approaches that support the development and analysis of interventions and inform effective decision-making for marine management and policy. At the same time, the programme will achieve an enduring step change in the capability of the marine interdisciplinary research community working on marine issues and its close working on solutions with stakeholders, including policy makers, industry, and the public.
Delivery of the programme’s objective will be strongly dependent on developing interdisciplinary capability (across environmental, social and economic sciences) and stakeholder engagement. Projects will be required to solely focus on the UK’s marine environment, to take advantage of the opportunity to build on a strong portfolio of related research (e.g. NERC, Defra, Marine Scotland).
The programme’s three Themes are:
Theme 1: Understanding the different value systems people hold when they connect with the marine environment and how this affects their decision making, in order to inform and direct policy development. Theme 2: Development and integration of modelling tools to support coastal and marine natural capital approaches and accounting. Theme 3: Development of interventions that support government policy to improve the marine environment for the next generation.
This programme will:
• Deliver approaches and tools on interventions and management scenarios for improved environmental, social and economic outcomes focussing on public goods and net gain. • Make recommendations on future policy concerning interventions to improve the marine environment and achieve net gain. • Utilise social, economic and environmental metrics and model tools to enable evaluation of interventions.
As the science community adjusts to working from home, MASTS relaunched it’s webinar series to help provide a platform to keep the MASTS community engaged and to share research.
From the 1st of April, each Wednesday at 1 pm will have a different presenter give a 40 min talk with a live Q&A session with host Hannah Ladd-Jones afterward. All webinars are free to join and more information about upcoming talks along with the registration form can be found here.
New discoveries at the Calanais site in Lewis, Outer Hebrides could potentially change what archaeologists think might have been the reasons behind the building of stone circles. Research by St Andrews, Bradford and Lampeter University along with the Urras nan Tursachan, Calanais Visitor Centre, have discovered evidence of a massive lightning strike at the very centre of Site XI stone circle. The discovery was made during investigations of the buried Neolithic landscape onshore around the most famous Tursachan site. The research also involved a survey of Loch Roag to the west of the site as this drowned landscape may also hold further clues to the life and times of the Neolithic people that constructed the circles. Further investigations are planned both on land and on the water in 2020. The findings are due to be discussed on Landward Thursday 9th April @ 2000 on BBC Scotland and Friday 10th April @ 1930 on BBC1 Scotland.
The summary report which documents the work conducted under the fishPi2 project is divided into a Summary Report and a series of related Annexes which contain more detailed material relevant to each Work Package. The Summary Report and Annexes can be found at the following URLs: https://datacollection.jrc.ec.europa.eu/docs/regional-grants https://www.masts.ac.uk/research/ The Summary Report and Annexes together with ancillary R code can be found at: https://github.com/ices-tools-dev/FishPi2/tree/master/
As part of the closing activities of the DYNAMICO – PERU project, the workshop: Introduction to “R” was conducted between 10 and 11 January 2020 in Los Organos, Piura. This course was taught by Dr Tania Mendo and MSc Janneke Rasjin both from the University of St Andrews (Scotland-UK). A total of 7 students from the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina and Universidad de Piura attended to the workshop. The workshop focused on data cleansing, data visualization and production of high quality figures for publication. At the end of the course the participants were able to identify outliers, inspect their data, combine data from different tables, run descriptive statistics, perform basic statistical tests such as Analysis of variance and linear regression and produce maps with quality of publication.
The MASTS Directorate (David Paterson, Mark James and Emma Defew) recently submitted a bid to the recent NERC/ESRC Call to lead the Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources (SMMR) programme. CRMG is delighted to report that this bid was successful and work to get this programme underway will begin in earnest in the New Year.
The £12.4m SMMR programme aims to improve understanding of societal perspectives and behaviours concerning the marine environment and integrate this into systems-based approaches that support the development and analysis of interventions and inform effective decision-making for marine management and policy. The team will work with the wider research and user communities to develop the SMMR funding call and further activities to ensure that the programme delivers its objectives. The team look forward to expanding the collaborative ethos of MASTS across the UK and delivering this programme’s ambition to deliver real change. The SMMR programme should provide opportunities for the MASTS community to engage with other interdisciplinary expertise across the UK.
The £12.4m SMMR programme will be jointly delivered by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on behalf of UKRI, and in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Marine Scotland.
Between 4-8 November, the 17th Latin American Conference of Marine Science (XVII COLACMAR) was held in the city of Mar del Plata – Argentina. This conference brought together researchers, professionals and students from universities and public and private companies from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Iván Gómez, the project manager for the Los Organos project, presented our current projects in Peru: “Use of low-cost technology for the collection of catch and effort data in artisanal hake fishing in Los Organos, Piura, Peru” and “The Dynamico-Peru project: Generating information for the management of the prawn trawler fishery in northern Peru“. Both projects involve using phones (mobile applications) to collect data for monitoring the artisanal fishery in northern Peru. The importance of improving fishing effort data collection and catches was shown, as well as providing the location of fishing activities at fine spatial scales.
Photos caption: Iván Gómez, presenting our latest project results in Argentina