SFT supports Scottish marine projects

The Scottish Fishermen’s Trust (SFT) is supporting a range of fisheries science and conservation projects, providing grants in excess of £100,000 so far this year.

Many of these projects support initiatives that have come directly from Scottish fishermen, says SFT, looking to increase their understanding of fish stocks and promote their conservation, including the use of more selective fishing gears.

“We are delighted at the large number of worthwhile projects we are supporting this year and are impressed by the dynamism and enthusiasm of our fishermen in instigating these initiatives. Knowledge is all-empowering and these projects will make a significant contribution in helping improve our understanding of the marine environment and the fisheries they support,” said James Brown, chairman, SFT.

Awards made so far in 2014 include the Scottish Association of Fish Producers Organisations initiative to collect, collate and communicate discard information. They also include a new approach to estimating mackerel biomass being developed by the University of Aberdeen, gear selectivity trials and a lobster v-notching scheme run by the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation.

“The diversity of projects being supported by the Trust this year is most impressive. It underlines the importance our fishermen attach to ensuring healthy marine ecosystems and the sustainable harvesting of a much valued food resource,” added Bertie Armstrong, chief executive, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF).

The SFT says there continues to be good demand for training courses, including from active fishermen upgrading their non-mandatory certification. The Trust also supported a graduate placement at the NAFC Marine Centre in Shetland.

SFT was set up by the SFF in 2000 with the aim of providing public benefit by promoting the protection and conservation of the marine environment. It also promotes and encourages the health, safety and training of fishermen. Since its establishment, it has awarded grants of more than £700,000 in support of such projects.

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