Led by scientists from Bangor University in association with the Welsh Fishermen’s Association, Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales, the highly significant research study focused on understanding the amount of scallop fishing within the SAC considered to be sustainable without damaging the conservation features of the area.
SuccorfishM2M SC2-VMS (vessel monitoring system) hardware was installed on commercial fishing vessels operating in and around Cardigan Bay and used to record highly valuable, locational data accurate to within two metres. This was supported by high resolution, one minute reporting in order to allow the most comprehensive, up-to-date activity data to be obtained.
The research team analysed 12 different fishing sites that were fished at different intensities by commercial scallop fishermen over an 18 months period and activity results were compared to four different areas that were not fished at all.
Funded in part by the European Fishery Fund, findings from the study revealed that Cardigan Bay could withstand a certain level of fishing. More information will now be provided in order to further guide marine agencies in regard to implementing management measures, and if appropriate, setting the level of fishing to be permitted.
Tom Rossiter, Head of Marine at SuccorfishM2M commented: “This is the first study of its kind to enable marine authorities to determine the amount of fishing that the seabed within the SAC can tolerate, provide a clear way forward for local commercial fishermen and implement a truly sustainable approach to scallop fishing. This is offers light to an industry that is facing huge pressures but in order for it to succeed, it must be supported by innovative monitoring technology.
“The study has demonstrated that with the most accurate monitoring and advanced data collection tools, sustainable fishing can be achieved. SuccorfishM2M has delivered a total fisheries solution that successfully incorporates both vessel monitoring technology as well as gear in, gear out capability, and this can be used to definitively pin-point when and where a fishing vessel is operating. Our SC2 vessel monitoring system unlocks huge potential for individual fisheries worldwide and provides authorities with a modern, technology-driven approach to achieving sustainable fishing and supporting management measures.”
Most fisheries are managed according to their target species, and in the Cardigan Bay study, this was scallop fishing. Researchers have stated that by setting two thresholds; one for seabed disturbance and one for scallops, this would provide a strong incentive for fishermen to disturb as little of the seabed as possible.
Tom Rossiter from SuccorfishM2M is a keynote speaker at this year’s World Seafood Congress at Grimsby in September 2015. He will be discussing the use of advanced fisheries technology and modern data collection tools and their impact within global commercial fisheries.
Read more about SuccorfishM2M fisheries solutions here http://succorfish.com/fisheries/