The partnership approach to the project helped ensure that industry led solutions to inshore fisheries data collection and management were workable and could meet the requirements of government and the fishing industry. Significant world-first prototypes, including a crab and lobster scanner capable of determining the sex and size of live animals at-sea, and a phone App to provide a daily record of landings and catch were just some of the key features to come out of the project.
Dr Mark James, SIFIDS Project Leader from University of St Andrews, said: “From the outset the project was a real team effort involving project partners: Seascope Fisheries Research, Imani Development, SAMS Research Services Limited (SRSL), and the North Atlantic Fisheries College (NAFC). Our three Facilitators were instrumental in positively engaging with industry throughout the project.
A 3D image of a lobster produced by the AS3ID Scanner. Copyright: SeaScope Fisheries Research.
“So far the SIFIDS project has produced real practical outputs that can, and have, been taken forward, including the Outer Hebrides Inshore Fisheries Pilot that is currently trialling the SIFIDS low-cost tracking system to assist with fisheries management decision making. We have also, through the Seafood Innovation Fund, started to develop the prototypic scanning system (AS3ID) into an operational device.”
Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This work has helped inform the inshore elements of our Future Fisheries Management Strategy. The benefits of Government working in partnership with the industry and academia are clear to see.
“This project has not only highlighted the importance of an evidence based, co-management approach, but has also offered up practical recommendations, that will assist in implementation of our new Strategy. A good example of this is the work on vessel tracking solutions”.
The SIFIDS ‘Integrated Data System’ Model
The combined results of all the SIFIDS work strands enabled the team to identify these significant areas where an integrated model could offer a low-maintenance system of data collection and reporting.
- Install simple GPS tracking systems on under-12 metre inshore fishing vessels to provide better information on fishing location and effort, in conjunction with the current statutory records of landings and gear deployed.
- Use gear-sensors to demonstrate when and where gear is being deployed or recovered, for example on some vessels using specific gear types, and/or operating in a sensitive area.
- Establish a small ‘reference fleet’ to collect data that could assist stock assessments.
- Develop low-cost, non-invasive methods to identify scallop grounds, that could be deployed from an inshore fishing vessel.
- Create a secure database to allow different user groups to access data in different ways e.g. fishers would see only their own data, MS Compliance could see data required for statutory purposes.
Final reports for each work strand: