A QUESTION Time style discussion on the consequences of Brexit will be one of the highlights of the Annual Scottish Fishing Conference 2016, to be held next week in St Andrews.
John Goodlad (pictured), chair of the board of Fisheries Innovation Scotland (FIS), the conference organiser, will be steering delegates through what should be a lively discussion on fisheries in Scotland following the EU referendum.
Topics raised at the discussion, to be staged on day two of the conference, will be followed in more detail during a series of workshops.
The conference, which runs from August 22-23, will also feature an update on the outcomes of the current clutch of FIS research projects. These range from ‘Fisheries knowledge’ to ‘Seabed impacts’ and ‘Ecosystems and trawling’ – what do we know about Scottish fisheries, how do we manage them sustainably and what are the impacts on the ecosystems that support them?
Post discard survivability is another research theme that should be of special interest, along with talks on quota shares and the Landings Obligation.
More in-depth discussions will take place in FIS project workshops on day two.
Learning from others is a key plank of FIS activities and Michael Forbes and Simon Harvey will be reporting on fishing in British Columbia after staying and working with fellow fishermen on the other side of the Atlantic.
The conference dinner speaker this year is Professor Ian Boyd, Defra chief scientist and the former director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit. His talk, ‘From Science to Policy in a post-EU era’, will sets the scene for the second day of the conference – ‘Thriving in Shared Seas and prospects for Scottish Fishing and Scottish Seafood outside the European Union’.
Scottish fisheries minister Fergus Ewing will introduce ‘Scotland’s vision for a thriving and productive marine environment’, and special guest speaker Professor Ray Hilborn from the University of Washington will be discussing ‘Fisheries management and environmental benefits’.
The final afternoon session looks at some case studies of ‘Shared Seas’, including mediating between different sectors of the industry such as the South Devon potting agreement and the Anglo-French Scallop Accord; and the relationship between fishing and offshore wind farms.
FIS executive director Richard Slaski said: ‘Yet again we have managed to draw on expertise within Scotland and peppered it with speakers from outside of the country to produce a very varied but totally relevant conference programme.
‘We know the future of Scottish fishing will see opportunities and challenges and the debate will be vigorous and that is key to getting the best for the Scottish fishing industry.
‘The uniqueness of FIS is the breadth of knowledge and experience of its members who by working together can appreciate the other point of view and reach pragmatic and workable solutions based on sound science and good judgement. This conference is the perfect vehicle for listening, sharing and understanding.’
The Annual Scottish Fishing Conference 2016 is at the Biological and Medical Sciences Building, St Andrews University, from Monday, August 22, to Tuesday, August 23.