Uncertainties surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union have become a constant talking point across all sectors of the UK fishing industry. The detail of what might happen is still being discussed, debated and decided but there is little doubt that how and where fishermen work, what is caught and how it is marketed and sold will change.
The Scottish Government sees this as an excellent opportunity to develop a new model of fisheries management for Scottish waters. Developing and introducing novel fisheries management approaches is a long-term commitment, and one which will rely on the involvement and collaboration of all stakeholders. The fifth Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference (SIFC), being held in Inverness on October 5th 2018, providing a venue to discuss these issues within the context of the inshore fishing sector.
Previous SIFCs have proved very successful and been well attended (around 140 at SIFC 2017) from across fishing sectors with some lively and productive discussions taking place. The organisers are confident that, with Brexit on the horizon, delegates from a cross-section of inshore fishing interests will take this opportunity to make their views known.
Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, will open the conference and give the keynote speech. A second plenary, in the afternoon, will provide a forum to discuss the Scottish Government’s plans for taking forward work on the future of fisheries management in Scotland, the perfect chance to make your voice heard.
In past SIFCs the breakout workshops have proved extremely popular as the place to get down to detail, share opinions, listen to others and make suggestions. Delegates will have a selection of interesting workshops to participate in throughout the day, with some being led by fishing industry associations for the first time. There will be sessions on:
• Implementing The Scottish Inshore Fisheries Integrated Data System (SIFIDS), a £1.5 million EU-funded project which commenced work in 2016 to develop an integrated system for the collection, collation, analysis and interrogation of data from the Scottish inshore fishing fleet.
• The Community Inshore Fisheries Alliance will lead a ‘What Coastal Fishing Communities Can Bring to Science, Sustainability and Governance’ session to explore how Scotland’s coastal fishing communities can take an active role in improving the management of their local inshore fisheries.
• Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) and the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation will co-lead a session to examine low impact fishing and its potential for Scotland.
• In 2016 the reporting requirements for the under 10 metre fleet were changed, making location and fishing effort data mandatory to better inform inshore fisheries management. Spatial data is now linked to activity data for 93% of the Scottish fleet, up from 22% before these changes were introduced. The workshop Improving Inshore Fisheries Data will present on the structure of the new data, the initial analysis from 2017-18 on the under 10 metre fleet, how the data has been applied to the Inshore Fisheries Pilots, and the data’s strengths and weaknesses
There will also be plenty of networking opportunities, with exhibitor stalls and representatives from a range of organisations attending. The conference will be an ideal opportunity to meet people who share an interest in inshore @257;shing in an informal setting, and we encourage active fishermen to attend and have their say on how Scotland’s inshore @257;sheries are managed.
SIFC 2018 is being organised by the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.
A summary of proceedings of the Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference (2017) can be found here.