Marine Scotland blog

News from Marine Scotland

January 21, 2015
by Ruth Allen
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Vacancy: Sea Fisheries Programme Manager (Closes 17th February)

We are currently seeking applications for the Sea Fisheries Programme Manager within Marine Scotland Science based at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen.

Sea Fisheries is one of the cornerstones of Scottish life, heritage and coastal communities.  It is of primary interest to both Government (for which our data aids in international negotiations) and the many marine industries which utilise Scottish waters.  The delivery of a sustainable marine ecosystem, including viable fish stocks which can be used for human food, requires a strong evidence base.  We have an exciting opportunity for the Sea Fisheries Programme Manager, based at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen.

January 21, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0115A update II

In the past week the west coast sea loch Nephrops TV survey being carried out in Loch Linnhe has been severely hampered by poor weather, resulting in reduced working days on a couple of occasions. The half landing in Oban was brought forward a day to Monday  12th January, optimising the potential for working on the 13th as the forecast looked more favourable for working that day. In addition one day was spent at anchor at Craignure, Mull due to the ongoing gales. The sea conditions prohibited working outside of Loch Linnhe and so habitat mapping, burrow abundance work and comparative trials between the  TV sledge and drop frame were carried out on the days where work could be undertaken. On Saturday 17th the weather turned very cold which resulted in a lot of snow and calm sea conditions, which has provided ideal opportunities to continue with the survey. Despite the difficulties the weather has created, the survey has been progressing well, meeting many of the objectives, gathering a great deal of data about the distribution of the sediment around the loch’s edge and allowed several trials of new equipment  to be undertaken.

MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0115A Programme

MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0115A update

January 21, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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ICES opens ASC Call for papers

Today, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) opens the Call for papers for its Annual Science Conference (ASC) 2015.

ICES Annual Science Conference(ASC), 21–25 September, Copenhagen, Denmark, is an exciting week-long forum that brings the international marine science community together to share innovative science with policymakers and stakeholders. Scientists, policy- and decision-makers, students, and stakeholders are invited to join the discussions on science for sustainable seas.

One of the important and unique features of ICES is its capability to cover the entire spectrum from monitoring to data provision to science and advice. The ASC reflects this range in the 20 theme sessions that will take place at this year’s conference.

Hypoxia, seafloor habitat mapping, basin-scale dynamics, ecosystem monitoring, science-industry partnerships, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), and sustainable approaches to aquaculture are among the topics that welcome abstract submissions.

“ICES relies on coordinated contributions from an international network. As we all work together on the implementation of our Strategic Plan, your participation at the conference is very important. The ICES network is open to all and the ASC represents a great opportunity to strengthen partnerships”, says Yvonne Walther, Chair of the Science Committee within ICES.

Paul Connolly, ICES President continues: “The ASC offers a perfect meeting place for scientists, presenting the latest state-of-the-art knowledge, and policy-managers and stakeholders, who are dependent on this scientific information in their daily work.”

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 April 2015.

To read more about ICES ASC 2015 and abstract submission, visit the ICES ASC website.

For further information, please contact:

Terhi Minkkinen, Communications Officer
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
Copenhagen, Denmark
E-mail: terhi.minkkinen@ices.dk
Tel. +45 33 38 67 16

January 21, 2015
by Ruth Allen
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Erin’s aiming for success in Birmingham

Erin Warner

Erin Warner

In September last year, we told you about Erin Warner from South Uist, who enjoyed a six week placement with Marine Scotland Science (MMS), through the Nuffield Science Bursary Programme.

We’re delighted to be able to share that Erin has been selected to represent Scotland at the Big Bang competition which will be held in Birmingham in March this year.

Good luck, Erin!

More links:

 

 

January 14, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0115A update

After sailing on 5 January from Fraserburgh, Alba na Mara spent a couple days steaming before anchoring in Bloody Bay on the north side of Mull in the South Minch. The TV survey then began working up the edges of Loch Linnhe using the Drop Frame to establish the extent of the muddy sediment suitable for Nephrops habitation,  with the nights spent at Oban or going to anchor at Craignure Bay, Mull depending on the weather conditions. However the survey has been severely hindered by extremely strong south westerly winds. Weather permitting the survey will continue in Loch Linnhe throughout the second week.

January 14, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0115A Programme

Duration: 5 – 21 January 2015

Gear:
Large TV drop frame
TV sledge
1 x 600m umbilical towing cable
1 x armoured cable
Video cameras and associated equipment (plus backup)
Four lasers and bracket for the drop frame
1 x BT201 prawn trawl (plus minimal spares)
Day grab and table
Prawn sorting table

Estimated Days per Project: 17 Days

Objectives:

  • To obtain estimates of the Nephrops habitat distribution in South Minch sea lochs and inshore waters, using sediment grabs and underwater cameras.
  • To obtain estimates of the distribution and abundance of Nephrops within these lochs using underwater video cameras.
  • To compare two different methodologies to establish Nephrops burrow abundance (sledge compared to drop frame).
  • To use the video footage to record occurrence of other benthic fauna and evidence of commercial trawling activity.
  • To collect trawl caught samples of Nephrops for comparison of reproductive condition and morphometrics.
  • To trial towing the TV sledge with the armoured cable in shallow water.

 

January 13, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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ICES Press release: ICES Science Fund – Supporting innovation in ICES

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) today announced the Call for Proposals for the ICES Science Fund.

The DKK 500,000 (EUR 67,000) fund will support innovative projects developed in collaboration with academic and government institutions from ICES member countries, which contribute to attaining the goals of the ICES Strategic Plan.

“ICES Science Fund opens the new year and creates new opportunities. We are looking for innovative projects on important issues in marine ecosystems. If you have an idea that supports ICES Science Plan, we are waiting for your proposal,” said Yvonne Walther, Chair of the ICES Science Committee (SCICOM).

“Your proposal should have a vision of strengthening the ties between academia and government research institutions.  We warmly welcome scientists that are new to ICES. This is not only a funding opportunity but also a chance to increase your network.”

The fund will support up to ten projects with travel and subsistence costs. New criteria stipulates that projects should have a maximum duration of one year and proposals are encouraged to show thematic links to ICES expert groups.

Proposals submitted by scientists in the early stages of their careers will be given priority. The deadline for applications is 10 March 2015 and successful applicants will be informed in May 2015 for immediate implementation of their projects.

To read more, please visit ICES website.

For further information, please contact:

Terhi Minkkinen, Communications Officer

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

Tel. +45 33 38 67 16

E-mail: terhi.minkkinen@ices.dk

December 19, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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New publications from Marine Scotland Science provide new information needed for marine planning and licensing

The second of two reports, published today, reports on the activity of inshore fishing boats over a 5 year period. This is the outcome of a major Marine Scotland project: “ScotMap – Mapping fishing activity in Scotland’s inshore waters”

Fishing vessels over 15m long are fitted with Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) providing us with information on where they fish. Smaller vessels, which tend to fish more inshore waters have not been tracked in such a way and there has been little information on areas of Scotland’s seas that are important to this part of the Scottish fishing fleet.

To improve knowledge of the distribution and value of fisheries in inshore waters Marine Scotland carried out a fisheries mapping study known as ScotMap. Data, relating to fishing activity for the period 2007 to 2011, were collected during face-to-face interviews with over 1000 individual vessel owners and operators.  Fishermen were asked about their fishing practices, and to identify the areas in which they fished, and quantify these in terms of importance and value. Data were aggregated and analysed to provide information on the value (monetary and relative importance) and usage (number of fishing vessels and crew) of the seas around Scotland.

This report provides a complete overview of the project, methodology, outputs and findings. The mapped outputs from ScotMap were published online in 2013 and can be downloaded from the ScotMap web page.

The data set that has been created is unique in Europe and is already being used to inform marine planning, offshore renewable energy licensing and Marine Protected Area management about the activities of the inshore fisheries sector.

Enquiries: Matt Gubbins matthew.gubbins@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

December 19, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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New publications from Marine Scotland Science provide new information needed for marine planning and licensing

Two new publications in the series “Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science” are released this week providing new spatial data adding to the evidence base for the development of marine planning in Scottish waters. The first, published today by scientists from the Marine Planning and Environmental Advice Programme at MSS presents new maps of sensitive areas for fisheries. These show areas of sea used by key commercial fish species during vulnerable stages of their life cycle, in this case, aggregations of fish in their first year of life (known as 0-group fish).

The maps were produced using a modelling approach “Species Distribution Modelling” which uses information about the habitat and records of young fish from survey data to show areas of our seas where young fish have been aggregating. The approach used is summarised in the diagram below.

The report provides an update and builds on previous “Nursery Area” maps that have been used for more than a decade, to ensure that appropriate protection is afforded these areas from disturbance. The outputs will be used to inform planning and licensing of marine developments and be made available for oil spill response. Work is also currently underway to try to improve spawning area maps for some key species.

Read the reports:

Species Distribution Model

Species Distribution Model

 

The different steps in the Species Distribution Models (SDMs).

1) The values of the environmental variables in the presence and absence points are extracted.

2) An algorithm which calculate the probability of presence as a combination of different environmental layers is computed.

3) The algorithm is applied back on the GIS layers to draw a map with probability of presence.