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Bangor University has received funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) under European Structural and Investment Funds for a project to work in partnership with the Welsh fishing industry to gather data to support sustainable management of inshore fisheries in Wales.

The Welsh fishing industry is primarily an inshore fleet with only 10% of fishers working in offshore waters (beyond six nautical miles). Consequently, this inshore fleet is dependent on the sustainability of the local stocks. This is in comparison to nomadic or offshore fleets which can operate extensively around the UK or further afield and are therefore not reliant on local sustainability. It is imperative to the livelihoods of Welsh fishers that the key species providing income to the Welsh fleet are managed sustainably. However, very little information is available on the distribution, abundance and biology of these target species in Welsh waters which makes the sustainable management of these fisheries very difficult.

The project will gather data for deficient, commercially exploited shellfish and finfish species. This data will be used to ensure evidence based fisheries are environmentally sustainable. Collaboration with the fishing industry and participatory research will empower local fishing communities, encouraging sustainable, long-term resource management.

The project will look at the following fisheries:

Post-Doctoral Researchers in finfish and shellfish have been employed and they will work alongside Research Assistants and the Principle and Co - Investigators on the project to conduct the research.

  • Researchers will be working with fishermen to develop a fisher-scientist network which will meet to discuss progress of the project and discuss new scientific needs.
  • Finfish researchers will collaborate with the Welsh fishing industry in participatory research to collect baseline data on the skate and ray fishery and to continue data collection on the sea bass fishery.
  • To analyse Bass movement and stock mixing, researchers will tag 100 bass in collaboration with CEFAS and BlueFish.
  • Researchers will continue to study scallop stock status and will increase the collaboration with the fishing industry in participatory research for long-term sustainability.
  • Camera systems and software developed in previous projects will be used in collaboration with fishers to address data deficiencies in crustacean fisheries.
  • Researchers will also gather additional data by field work on fishing vessels and will welcome fisher collected samples of some target species.

The project is funded through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) under European Structural and Investment Funds. The project started in October 2018 and will finish in October 2022.