Scottish Government Blogs

July 23, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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Vancancy: Provision of Executive Director services to Fisheries Innovation Scotland Ltd: Closes 4th August

An exciting opportunity has arisen in Fisheries Innovation Scotland (FIS), a newly-established legally constituted, non-profit-distributing organisation soon to gain charitable status, with the remit of bringing together government, scientists, industry and other key stakeholders within a formal structure to lead an on-going programme of research, knowledge exchange and education. FIS will commission underpinning applied research and the provision of advice – using funds jointly committed by its trustees – to help inform the governance and management of sustainable fisheries, the fishing industry and related supply chain throughout Scotland and potentially beyond.

July 22, 2014
by John Swinney
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Commonwealth Games Economic Legacy

I am delighted to have the opportunity to welcome business leaders from around the Commonwealth to Glasgow ahead of what promises to be a phenomenal Games.

The opportunity the Games bring and the significant economic legacy they are already delivering is something this government is determined to see Scotland make the most of.  And I want to work with all countries to extend that economic legacy across the Commonwealth.

It’s thrilling to think after years of planning, we are only moments away from hosting the biggest multi-sport and cultural event Scotland has ever hosted.  And with over 50 National Legacy 2014 Programmes, I am delighted with our achievements so far.

With our partners we have undertaken one of the most ambitious attempts ever to assess the long term legacy of a Commonwealth Games and published the second in a series of reports measuring the impact of the games earlier this year.

Contrary to expectations, legacy can happen before the event takes place.  Over the last 12 months we’ve seen:

  • Over 800 young people starting on an events-related modern apprenticeship;
  • Over 250,000 children benefiting from the Game On Scotland programme;
  • 5.5 million pounds awarded by BIG Lottery to help communities get more active;
  • 110 projects supported by the Active Places Fund, helping build and improve community facilities across Scotland;
  • More than 750 teachers trained to support disabled young people in P.E.; and
  • Scottish companies secured around 70% of the contracts associated with the Games.

And that’s before we get to the infrastructure improvements around the Glasgow.  That’s more than £250 million, going to more than 400 companies across Scotland. It creates a lasting benefit for those 400 businesses, and the communities in which they are based.

We recognise that there are also huge opportunities to grow Scotland’s role in the global event sector, both within Scotland and overseas.  Our tourism strategy recognises that events are one of Scotland’s key assets, contributing to a sector worth 4.3 billion pounds.

We plan to capitalise on the venues, infrastructure, business, volunteering and skills base which have been developed through the Games.

In 2014 we are already half way thought our year of homecoming – almost 600 events have already taken place.  We will follow the games by playing host to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September and in November – the Hydro, constructed for the Games and already ranked the 3rd most popular music venue in the world this year in terms of ticket sales, will host the MTV Europe Music awards.

We are confident that 2014 will be even bigger and better.  We are confident that Scotland is well placed to compete on a global stage for major events in the future.
Scotland’s trade ambitions remains high – Scotland currently has £1.8 billion of exports to the Commonwealth – excluding almost £50 billion to the rest of the UK – and we aim to significantly strengthen these economic links.

Trade within and across the Commonwealth as a whole is estimated at £300 billion a year.  The Commonwealth is an established and enduring network which provides a platform for future cooperation in a rapidly changing global landscape.  Working together we have a huge opportunity to increase exports, investment, and our collective prosperity across the Commonwealth.

We are proud of all that Scotland has contributed to the world.  We want to contribute more in the future and with a strong economy we can do that.

We are firmly focused on sustainable economic growth which delivers for all – this lies at the heart of the Economic Strategy the Scottish Government has followed since 2007.

And it is delivering for Scotland with the most recent GDP statistics showing that the 1% growth achieved in Q1 2014 means that output in Scotland’s economy has now reached record levels.

On education and skills, we have taken decisions to establish free higher and further education tuition, promoted the Opportunities for All initiative to give direction to young people, and resurrected the Modern Apprenticeships programme.

Through Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise we have been able to grow our key sectors, and through the work of Scottish Development International we have been able to consistently punch above our weight on foreign direct investment indicators.

Our business rates relief package continues to support our businesses and makes Scotland the best place to do business in the UK. Our Small Business Bonus Scheme has reduced or removed business rates taxation for over 92,000 business premises and we have legislated to maintain the scheme for the lifetime of the Parliament.

Over the next ten days athletes and competitors from across the Commonwealth will show us what is possible with ambition, determination and hard work.

They will show us what can be achieved by constantly focussing on what we can do better and how we can improve.  That is a lesson for all of us.  It is the approach we must take in government, in business and as a country.  Let’s begin today.

July 18, 2014
by David Barnes
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CAP notifications

Now that the new SRDP has been formally submitted to Europe, our Pillar 2 team have a bit of a lull in the Brussels-facing element of their work.  The European Commission will study the draft programme and in due course will come back with comments and questions, which we will of course have to deal with before they’ll approve the programme.

But for the time being, the work on Pillar 2 is Scotland-focussed.  For example, the team are working on things like detailed eligibility criteria for schemes, and payment rate calculations – which under EU rules have to be independently checked by an outside body.

On Pillar 1, by contrast, both EU-facing and Scotland-facing aspects are busy at the moment.  As for Pillar 2, there’s Pillar 1 work taking place on the detailed rules for the direct payment schemes.  This has involved meetings with stakeholder representatives, for example on greening and on coupled support.  But in addition, there’s an EU element in that we have to notify our main decisions on Pillar 1 to the Commission by 1 August.

The Commission has issued twelve templates for these notifications, each covering a specific area, which the team are working on filling in.  Naturally one consequence of this is that we are prioritising work on the issues which are subject to the 1 August deadline over details which aren’t legally required until later.

Of course, all of the above is based on what the regulations require us to do.  Meanwhile in the real world we’re very aware that farmers and crofters need to know the rules as soon as possible so that they can plan next year’s operations.  The European timetable – including for example detailed rules not being adopted until very late – has been challenging in that respect.  But we know it’s important and will get as much detail as we can out as soon as we can.

July 18, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Marine & Fisheries News from other organisations

Provision of Executive Director services to Fisheries Innovation Scotland Ltd
An exciting opportunity has arisen in Fisheries Innovation Scotland (FIS), a newly-established legally constituted, non-profit-distributing organisation soon to gain charitable status, with the remit of bringing together government, scientists, industry and other key stakeholders within a formal structure to lead an on-going programme of research, knowledge exchange and education. FIS will commission underpinning applied research and the provision of advice – using funds jointly committed by its trustees – to help inform the governance and management of sustainable fisheries, the fishing industry and related supply chain throughout Scotland and potentially beyond.  Read more

 

July 16, 2014
by John Swinney
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Scottish economy at pre-recession level

Scotland’s GDP grew 1.0 per cent over the first quarter of 2014, faster than the UK as a whole. Output in Scotland is now 0.4 per cent above its pre-recession level. The UK figure for quarter one was still 0.6 per cent below pre-recession levels.

July 16, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Marine & Fisheries News from other organisations

Scotrenewables SR250 tidal power device under tow. Picture courtesy of Scotrenewables.

Scotrenewables SR250 tidal power device under tow. Picture courtesy of Scotrenewables.

EcoWatt2050 – maximum marine energy extraction, minimum environmental impact

Funding of more than £1 million has been awarded to a Scottish-based project that will help to determine the limits to tidal and wave energy extraction before potential environmental and ecological impacts occur.

Read the Article

 

July 16, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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MRV Scotia; Survey 0814S – Herring Acoustic Survey

Proposed Survey Track Scotia 0814S

Proposed Survey Track Scotia 0814S

Overview of survey:
The MRV Scotia and a chartered pelagic vessel will conduct the Herring Acoustic Survey covering the area shown below.  The pelagic vessel will identify fish shoals using the echosounder and fishing operations will be carried out using the multisampler cod end unless large aggregations are seen in the area.  Samples of all species caught will be measured for length and weighed to establish a length-weight relationship.

Otoliths will be collected from a sub-sample of the herring to determine age.  For each herring in the sub-sample the state of maturity, gonad weight, liver weight, whole and gutted weight, presence of food in the stomach as well as any presence of infection.  In addition, random sampling of fish above 24 cm length will be carried out and photographs taken for identification analysis.  Otoliths from these fish will, subsequent to aging, will be made available for analysis.

The ships thermosalinograph will be run continuously to obtain sea surface temperature and salinity throughout the survey area.

Duration: 28 June – 17 July 2014
Personnel: 8 (Part 1) 8 (Part 2)

Gear: Midwater trawl PT160 x 3; Multisampling pelagic cod-end with one fine mesh cod-end; Seabird 911 CTD; One metre vertical plankton sampling net 350µm mesh.

Objectives: To conduct an acoustic survey to estimate the abundance and distribution of herring in the north western North Sea and north of Scotland between 58º30’-62ºN and from the shelf edge to 2ºE, excluding Faroese waters and;

  • To obtain biological samples for echosounder trace identification using a pelagic trawl.
  • To obtain samples of herring for biological analysis, including age, length, weight, sex, maturity and ichthyophonus infection.
  • To obtain hydrographic data for comparison with the horizontal and vertical distribution of herring.
  • To obtain dry weight estimates of macro zooplankton biomass throughout the study area for comparison with acoustically derived plankton biomass estimates and observed herring distribution.

 

 

July 16, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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MRV Alba na Mara; Survey 1214A – Renewable Energy Survey

Drop Frame Designed and Built by MSS. Photo courtesy of Ahmet Raif Eryasar

Drop Frame Designed and Built by MSS. Photo courtesy of Ahmet Raif Eryasar

Overview of survey:
The survey work will involve the deployment of the TV drop frame (shown right) and, where practical, the deployment of a day grab.  Some additional bathymetric survey work and trawling may also be undertaken depending on the weather conditions. MRV Alba na Mara will complete a half landing to exchange scientific staff. The proposed survey work for the north and east coast of Scotland (shown below) is very similar to the work undertaken during previous surveys, which is essential in ground-truthing exercises.

Duration: 7-22 July 2014
Personnel: 4 (Part 1) 4 (Part 2)
Gear: Day grabs; TV drop frame with digital video, lasers and armoured cable; Agassiz trawls; Swathe multibeam echosounder system; RoxAnn system.

Alba na Mara Survey Sites for Survey 1214S

Alba na Mara Survey Sites for Survey 1214S

Objectives:
To undertake ground-truthing survey work in connection with potential floating offshore wind and wave renewable energy developments located on the east and north coast of Scotland.

 

 

July 16, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Marine & Fisheries News from other organisations

Fishermen scraping the bottom of the barrel in the English Channel

Decades of overfishing in the English Channel has resulted in the removal of many top predators from the sea and left fishermen ‘scraping the barrel’ for increasing amounts of shellfish to make up their catch. Sharks, rays, cod, haddock and many other species at the head of the food chain are at historic lows with many removed from the area completely.

Read the article

Brought to you by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (www.pml.ac.uk) on behalf of the UK Marine Science Coordination Committee.

For more information about the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee, please visit www.defra.gov.uk/mscc/.

 

July 14, 2014
by Nicola Clark-Tonberg
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From egg to fully fledged tweeter

Nicola Clark-Tonberg – Marketing Manager – Smarter

I have decided to become the 500,000 million and first person on Twitter. I will be relaxed about grammar and embrace chatting in 140 characters or less, ignore the fact that on Twitter you ‘tweet’ (surely it should be ‘twitter’?), and embrace a new way of keeping in touch with the outside world. I LOVE Facebook, and I am a terrible ‘sharent’,* I love Stephen Fry, Stephen Fry loves Twitter, so I should love Twitter.

My Twitter handle: needs to be witty and memorable. @OxfordCommaFan, check! Now, what should my first twitter tweet be? After much agonising I went with ‘Well, hello Twitter! It’s only taken me half an hour to think THAT up. I’m a natural. #myfirstTweet.’ Not my best work, but I’m no longer a Twitter virgin. Continue Reading →