MSC’s OSF grant awarded for study on The Wash Brown Shrimp fishery in Norfolk fishery and how to how protect the biodiversity in the area
The Wash brown shrimp fishery in Norfolk will be at the centre of a new study that seeks to assess the impacts of fishing on endangered, protected and threatened marine species, thanks to a grant from the MSC’s Ocean Stewardship Fund (OSF).
Master’s student Aubrey Mathews, from the University of Exeter, will undertake an ecological risk assessment to explore the relationship between the fishery and the species it encounters to help it manage its impacts on the surrounding ecosystem, avoid interactions and protect biodiversity in the area.
The brown shrimp fishery in the Wash lands 95% of the brown shrimp fished in UK waters and employs a fleet of up to 50 small inshore fishing vessels, mostly based in the Wash ports of King’s Lynn and Boston. In 2020, it was the first UK shrimp fishery to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.
Mathews said: “The ocean is a massive part of our planet, yet it remains understudied and under protected. Protecting the marine biodiversity that call it home is a passion of mine and this is an excellent opportunity for me to gain hands-on, real-world experience working with stakeholders and make a difference for both the fishery and marine ecosystems.”
Some 5% of annual royalties from MSC certified seafood sales are committed to the Ocean Stewardship Fund to accelerate the sustainability of fisheries globally. The fund is now in its third year and is also expanding in scope and reach, as it opens up to third-party donations from funders.
Twenty-one other global projects and fisheries have been awarded funding by the OSF, with projects focused on protecting marine biodiversity also taking place in countries like Argentina, Greenland, Australia and France.
A total of £725,000 in the form of 22 grants ranging from £5000 to £52,500 each, have been awarded to fisheries, scientists, NGOs and students from 12 countries to aid international efforts in marine conservation and sustainable fishing. At least half of the grants (£355,000) are supporting fisheries in developing economies that are transitioning to sustainable practices, including Indonesia, Mexico and India.
A grant awarded to the MSC certified SATHOAN artisanal bluefin tuna fishery will be used to understand better how stingray populations may be affected by fishing activity through satellite tagging technology in the Mediterranean. The fishery releases any stingrays accidentally caught on longlines back into the ocean but needs more data to understand how the population is impacted long-term.
Another grant will also support an investigation led by Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) into whether translocating red sea urchins to areas with higher densities of kelp, which they rely on for food, will help stocks to recover in Mexico.
Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council said: “Congratulations to all of the Ocean Stewardship Fund awardees this year. Our focus on marine biodiversity will help push forward scientific understanding of how improvements can be made in fishing practices to minimise ecosystem impacts. Without doubt, our collective efforts can help to ensure our oceans remain productive and resilient in the face of the growing pressures and demands placed on them but much more needs to be done and urgently if we are to deliver the UN Strategic Development Goals by 2030.”
Since the establishment of the Ocean Stewardship Fund in 2019, the fund has issued 64 grants to a total sum of £2.1 million.
Source: Press Release