Marine Scotland blog

News from Marine Scotland

May 20, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank

MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0815A Programme

Duration: 20 May – 08 June 2015
Fishing Gear: Scallop dredges

  1. To carry out a survey of scallop stocks on the East Coast;
  2. To assess shell damage on all scallops caught;
  3. To collect information on by-catch of other commercial fish and shellfish species;
  4. To identify and quantify numbers of starfish species in all dredge tows;
  5. To collect data on scallop ring measurements;
  6. To collect scallop meat weight biological data; and
  7. To collect flesh samples for toxin analysis back at the laboratory.

Scallop dredge hauls will be made at sites used on previous surveys and other known commercial grounds as shown Figure 1.  Hauls will be of 30 minutes duration and undertaken clear of any existing local static gear.  From each haul all of the scallops will be measured to the half centimeter below and aged.  Numbers and size distribution of commercial fish and shellfish species will be recorded along with scallop shell damage and starfish numbers and species.  From selected sites, scallop ring measurements shall be taken along with scallop meat weight information.  In addition to this tissue samples will be collected from selected sites and frozen for toxin analysis back at the laboratory.

Survey 0815A Figure 1


May 19, 2015
by Ruth Allen

Vessel-based Vacancies: Marine Scotland Compliance (closing date 31 July 2015)

There are a number of vacancies within Marine Scotland Compliance, all of which are based on Marine Patrol and Research Vessels:

Related Information


May 15, 2015
by Ruth Allen

ICES Science Fund furthers marine ecosystem understanding

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has announced seven projects that will receive support from the ICES Science Fund in 2015.

Yvonne Walther, Chair of ICES Science Committee (SCICOM), states, “Our aim is to strengthen existing areas of research within ICES such as Integrated Ecosystem Assessments and changes in marine fish population sizes. However, several of the chosen projects are considered seeds that will help bridge research into new areas of interest. For example, what can gastropods tell us about ocean acidification? What limits the spread of an invasive species? Can microbes be indicative of Good Environmental Status?”

Outlining the importance of broadening research areas, Walther commented, “We see a potential in the selected projects to help us understand and answer important questions about the marine ecosystem and forecast changes. The future of our advice relies on breaking new frontiers in the exploration of the sea.”

All projects share leadership between academia and government research institutions and have a maximum duration of one year.

View press release online.

More Information

  • ICES website : review the full list of projects and follow their development.


May 6, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank

Marine Scotland staff clean-up: 5th May

Not lettinBeach litterg a bank holiday stop him our chief litter picker, Danny Pendrey, enlisted the help of his family yesterday to collect some litter on the beach next to the lighthouse.

Beach litter - hatAs part of the regular ongoing clean up, colleagues will be going out this Thursday (7th May) to carry on the good work and if you want to hear more about the kind of things they’ve found to date,  check out our YouTube channel to watch a short film that they made.

For anyone who wants to help protect our coastline and marine life Dolphinwatch is involved with a clean-up event this Saturday the 9th from 11:00am.

May 5, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank

Casting the Net via the Marine Collaboration Research Forum (MarCRF)

On Friday 24th April, MarCRF held a networking event – “Casting the Net”- to bring together marine related researchers from around Aberdeen, including from Marine Scotland Science, the University of Aberdeen, and other universities, research institutes and businesses in the area.

All participants provided profile slides which were on display throughout the event, ranging from very informative to very funny! Many participants also gave an “elevator pitch”-  a 2 minute talk on themselves, their work, or on some other marine issue close to their hearts. These were a great opportunity to sell their science or issue to the crowd, and many great discussions were had afterwards inspired by the pitches.

The event allowed researchers to meet new colleagues, and catch up with old ones, and will hopefully lead to some great new research in the future!

The event was organised by José Gonzalez-Irusta, Fiona McIntyre and Jacqui Tweddle.

May 1, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank

MRV Scotia: Survey 0515S Programme

Duration: 25 April – 8 May 2015

Sea-Bird CTDs, ADCPs and current meter instrumentation, temperature mini-loggers, water filtering equipment, fridge and freezer (UoA’s), centrifuge equipment (HWU), bacteria sampling equipment (HWU), sediment sampling equipment (UoA), mooring equipment, recovery trawl, glider, sediment grabs (Hammon and Day), and sediment corers (MSS and UoA).


  1. Test the CTD in the Buchan Deep off Peterhead.
  2. Perform hydrographic sampling along the JONSIS long term monitoring section in the northern North Sea.
  3. Perform CTD stations at the ADCP moorings on the cross shelf line adjacent to the Fair Isle – Munken section.
  4. Recover and download the data recovered from the four ADCP moorings deployed on the cross shelf section, adjacent to the Fair Isle – Munken section, during 2014.
  5. Deploy three ADCP moorings at positions on Fair Isle – Munken section.
  6. Deploy and recover the dialysis (DNA) mooring for Heriot-Watt University twice during the cruise at FIM 6a location. Ideally two x three day deployments.  Take water samples at this location.
  7. Perform hydrographic sampling along the long term monitoring Faroe-Shetland Channel sections, Fair Isle – Munken and Nolso – Flugga.
  8. Take water samples for long term storage at Fair Isle – Munken section stations FIM-01 and FIM-06.
  9. Take water samples for bacteria analysis at FIM03, FIM08, NOL07, NOL08 and SEFOS (b/w NOL03 and NOL03a).
  10. Take sediment samples at or near a number of the Nolso – Flugga section stations.
  11. Take micro plastic water samples at a number of locations.
  12. Deploy SAMS glider for the BP oil spill exercise.
  13. Deploy drifters for the BP oil spill exercise (TBC).
  14. Perform a number of other hydrographic sections if time allows.
  15. Perform ship board ADCP survey if time allows.

On sailing from Aberdeen the MRV Scotia will make passage to the start of the JONSIS long term monitoring section to commence sampling with the CTD and carousel water sampler.  On route test deployments of the CTD and carousel will take place, using the newly developed deployment procedures (10 m soak).  On completion of the JONSIS section passage will be made to the start of the ADCP line across the shelf edge adjacent to the Fair Isle – Munken (FIM) section and the CTD will be deployed at each location.  After the completion of all the CTD profiles, the ADCP moorings will be recovered.

The ADCP instrumentation data will be downloaded and instruments and moorings refurbished on route to new deployment positions on the FIM section.  A CTD dip will be performed at the FIM 6a station in order to gain water samples for the DNA mooring.  On completion, Scotia will make her way to the westernmost ADCP deployment location.  Three ADCPs will be deployed at the new deep mooring locations, and a CTD profile will be carried out at each mooring position once the mooring has been deployed.  On completion of the ADCP moorings, the DNA mooring will be deployed at the FIM 6a station.  Scotia will then make her way to the start of the FIM section for the long term monitoring samples and CTD profiles to be taken.  After the FIM section, Scotia will return to station FIM 6a for the turnaround of the DNA mooring, involving recovering the mooring, performing a CTD dip and re-deploying the mooring.  Thereafter, Scotia will make way to the area on the Faroe-Cape Wrath section.

During CTD and water sampling of the Nolso-Flugga long term monitoring section, grab samples and water samples will be taken for University of Aberdeen and Heriot-Watt University visiting scientists.  Micro plastic samples will be taken opportunistically through the survey.  Upon completion of the Nolso-Flugga long term monitoring section the Glider will be deployed at a location within Scottish waters (Faroe Shetland Channel).  Scotia will then proceed to the FIM6a station to recover the DNA mooring.  Any remaining time will be spent carrying out CTD sampling the Cape Wrath – Faroe section, repeating the Fair Isle – Munken section, and performing ADCP surveys.  It is intended to leave the glider deployed.

Scotia survey 0515S map

May 1, 2015
by Ruth Allen

Marine Analytical Unit monthly update – 30 April 2015

This week’s update from the Marine Analytical Unit has been published, featuring an article reporting on VALMER – an eleven partner, €4.7 million project which aimed to examine how improved marine ecosystem services assessment (ESA) could support effective and informed marine management and planning. 

Related Links

April 30, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank

Marine Scotland staff clean-up: 30th April

Marine Scotland and other colleagues in Aberdeen are continuing with their fight with litter on the beach with our colleagues, Danny and Mike, going out on Monday for a spot of impromptu litter picking around the shore and embankment.

The eagle-eyed of you will spot the stats have leapt up. This follows Danny having a catch-upSwans enjoying the clean surroundings with RSPB staff on dolphin-watch duties who provided figures on their and the Council’s efforts around the Battery and the nearby embankment.

Stat’s for Monday and grand totals, including: volunteering effort from Inverdee House (20), us (17), RSPB (6) and the Council (8) :

  • 4 full bin bags (84)
  • 90 person minutes collecting effort (5,370 or 89.5 hrs)
  • Total number of volunteers = 51
  • Other – 2 traffic cones, 1 orange buoy and packaging for an air-rifle

We now have our ‘Marine Litter Video’ up on YouTube so come and have a look to see what it’s all about and how we are getting on.  Check out our website for more information about marine litter and what little steps you can take to make a big difference.

Other Links


April 28, 2015
by Ruth Allen

SEWeb Hackathon – 30th & 31st May


SEWeb EcoHack-Logo

Scotland’s Environment Web wants to help people discover and understand more about the environment. Environmental data is really important – to provide context to reports on the state and quality of the environment, to improve our understanding of the challenges and opportunities our environment faces, and encourage communities, school children and individuals to investigate their own local environment further, observing what is happening around them, collect their own data and take action to protect and improve their local environment.

Data can help us in this journey of discovery and understanding and SEWeb are looking for fresh new innovative ideas to make better use of available data,  to collect new local environmental data that can help further our understanding, and encourage people to get interested and get involved in Scotland’s Environment – observing, monitoring, taking action, and educating.

Scotland’s Environment Web is holding a Hackathon with prizes for  :

  • Innovative data mash ups to explore new data relationships to help analyse the state of our environment and the impact it has on us
  • Infographics, visualisations and games using data to help explain environmental issues and/or view ‘my environment’
  • Prototype designs for new data collection and data entry equipment/apps

In particular, they’re really interested in your ideas around the themes of Climate Change and/or My Environment – but don’t worry, if you have ideas on another environmental theme then we still want to see them.

What makes a good Hackathon Idea ?

Whilst it’s the idea that counts rather than having a finished product by the end of the event, your idea should focus on a concept that the judges think has real potential to ultimately be developed into a working product. We want you to think about who your target audience is, come up with solutions that could easily be used by them and can make a real difference in helping people to observe, monitor, take action and educate about the environment.



April 24, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank

Marine Scotland staff clean up: 23rd April

Lighthouse and clean beach

A big well done to everyone who has taken part in all of our beach clean-ups so far. The very good news is that we have almost reached the lighthouse – we are about 25 yards away. Once we have completed this stretch we will consider the marine litter clean-up phase complete, at least this section. Our clean-ups will then be less frequent, on the basis of maintaining the shore in its rubbish-free state.

Check out our website for more information about marine litter and what you can do to help.

Today’s figures and (grand totals to date):

  • 3 full bin-bags of general waste (60)
  • 240 person minutes collecting effort (2,760)
  • 84 bottles and cans recycled (2,440)
  • Various items collected including – Clothing, tennis balls, shuttlecock and a golf ball.

Other “rubbish” news:

  • RSPB have reportedly been cleaning up the golf course area, near the Battery, collecting 20 bags of rubbish
  • We will be meeting with Torry Community Council in May to talk about what has been done and what they could perhaps do to help.