PROJECT UPDATE – RIFG NATION BROWN CRAB TAGGING PROJECT
Orkney Sustainable Fisheries Ltd (OSF) was established in 2006 to run the local lobster hatchery and carry out research projects on the local shellfish populations. It’s an industry run company with the board of directors largely made up of fishermen who have an active input into the work that we do. In 2013 OSF was recognised by Marine Scotland as the local Inshore Fisheries Group for Orkney.
We now have two full time researchers, Matthew Coleman and Elisabete Rodrigues who collect and analyse data on the local, Brown Crab, European Lobster and Velvet Crab populations. OSF has just completed its 4 year Orkney Fisheries Research Project which involved working with The Crown Estate, Marks and Spencer, WWF and Orkney Islands Council to look into the interaction between fishing activity and the Marine Renewable Industry and assess the Brown crab stock in Orkney. OSF has undertaken a number of different research project including a Juvenile Lobster Habitat Trials which are investigating the use of artificial structures for habitat enhancement and a national study on the Maturity of the Brown Crabs which is being co-ordinated by Bangor University. Currently OSF is undertaken a study investigating the Discard Survival and Condition in Orkney Brown Crabs within the inshore fishery, looking to establish the level of mortality that occurs through the discarding of undersize individual within commercial creeling activity.
As of 2017 OSF has employed a part time fishery development manager, Kate Rydzokwski who is managing the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessment of the OSF Orkney brown crab creel fishery as well as under taking out reach work through out Orkney. The brown crab Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) is the first in the UK to enter the full MSC assessment process.
OSF works alongside Heriot Watt University Orkney Campus where our scientific advisor Dr Mike Bell is based. Dr Bell aids with stock assessment on our shellfish stocks as well as providing expertise on our fisheries science research projects.
Orkney Sustainable Fisheries is committed to providing sound science on the shellfish populations of Orkney which can aid our local fishing industry.