THE future of Scotland’s fishing industry will be discussed by inshore fishermen at the fifth Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference (SIFC), being held in Inverness on October 5.
The organisers are confident that, with Brexit on the horizon, delegates from a cross-section of inshore fishing interests will take the opportunity to air their views.
Fergus Ewing, 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 on the future of fisheries management in Scotland.
Delegates will be able to participate in a number of workshops throughout the day, with some being led by fishing industry associations for the first time.
There will be a session on implementing the Scottish Inshore Fisheries Integrated Data System (SIFIDS), a £1.5 million EU funded project addressing data collection from the inshore fleet.
And the Community Inshore Fisheries Alliance will lead a ‘What Coastal Fishing Communities Can Bring to Science, Sustainability and Governance’ session.
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 10m 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 per cent of the Scottish fleet, up from 22 per cent before these changes were introduced.
The workshop ‘Improving Inshore Fisheries Data’ will focus on the structure of the new data, the initial analysis from 2017-18 on the under 10m 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.
SIFC 2018 is being organised by the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) on behalf of the Scottish government.
The conference is free and will be held at Eden Court, Inverness, on October 5, from 8.45am to 4pm.
Picture: Delegates at last year’s conference