Politics

Underwater robots deployed in pioneering examine of Scotland’s coastal waters to evaluate fishing influence


It is hoped findings from Operation Ocean Witness, a joint venture between Scottish marine charity Open Seas and Greenpeace UK, will assist information choices on how fishing actions are managed sooner or later.

The analysis cruise round Scotland follows an identical examine within the English Channel final 12 months, which gathered proof on the impacts of commercial fishing.

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The expedition is starting on the east coast, setting off from Berwickshire, and cruising northwards.

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The Sea Beaver and crew will make pit-stops at each giant ports and small harbours on their journey, earlier than heading south round Scotland’s west coast later in the summertime.

They plan to satisfy with communities throughout the nation the place work is being carried out to safeguard the native marine surroundings.

Phil Taylor, head of coverage and operations for Open Seas, which campaigns for sustainable fisheries, mentioned: “The environmental health of our seas is below the waves, out of sight and sadly often out of mind.

Scotland’s seas are home to myriad important marine species. Picture: Chris Rickard/Open Seas

“We hope this project will help raise awareness about the current condition of our seas.

“Our coastal seas are massively important for the wider functioning of our marine environment, holding precious nursery grounds for fish and other marine life.

“Unfortunately, our coastal seabed and inshore fisheries are under pressure and the harbours that once supported hundreds of small fishing boats are now empty or in decline.

“Everyone agrees we need more research and more knowledge about what is happening in our oceans – we hope to be able to provide some of that.

Scientists from Scottish marine charity Open Seas and Greenpeace UK are deploying underwater drones to assess the state of Scotland’s inshore waters and analyse the effects of fishing on the marine environment

“There is a huge opportunity to regenerate nature in our seas and make our fisheries more sustainable.”

Fiona Nicholls, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, mentioned: “We’re so excited to see Operation Ocean Witness head north for Scottish waters.

“After a brilliant summer patrolling the English Channel last year, documenting and investigating industrial fishing, it’s time for Sea Beaver to investigate the health of Scotland’s seas and push Holyrood and Westminster to take proper action to protect our oceans.”

Surveys will examine the consequences of intensive fishing on Scotland’s coastal waters. Picture: Chris Rickard/Open Seas



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