PANDORA Self-Sampling with SPFA, UHI and Marine Scotland Science still going strongUpdate by Katie Brigden (UHI), February 2020
25 February 2020
Photo: Steve Mackinson/SPFA
The self-sampling project focuses on working with the Scottish pelagic fishing industry to develop data collection methods for crews to use onboard fishing vessels. It is a cooepration between the PANDORA Project, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association (SPFA), the University of the Highlands and Islands' NAFC Marine Centre and Marine Scotland Science (MSS). The aim is to provide high-quality data to inform science and management of the status and development of key pelagic stocks such as mackerel, herring and blue whiting.
Following the start of self-sampling in spring 2018, the project held its inaugural annual review meeting in December 2019. Representatives from both industry and science were present, with 17 skippers and crew representing 11 boats (from vessels either currently participating in the project or those keen to join in); 4 project scientists from the SPFA, NAFC Marine Centre and Marine Scotland Science; and personnel from Scottish fishing industry organisations.
During the meeting, discussions covered:
the aims of the self-sampling project,
progress and results so far,
how self-sampling is going on-board vessels (issues, improvements etc),
technology developments for paperless data input and recording,
data sharing, and
our plans for 2020.
The meeting provided a valuable forum for vessel crews involved in the project to provide their feedback, for those interested in joining the project to ask questions, and for a collaborative discussion with all involved on what is expected from the project.
Of particular interest was the demonstration of new keypad technology which has been developed during the project in collaboration with a local marine electronics provider. This will allow for paperless data recording onboard vessels, making sampling and data collection more efficient for crew. Following the meeting, one vessel trialled the keypad during the January mackerel fishing season with encouraging reports back that it had been successfully utilised throughout the season. It is now planned to utilise this new technology onboard other self-sampling vessels.
Going forward into the second half of the project, there are currently 14 vessels undertaking self-sampling, with several others planning to join the project shortly, and the aim for full fleet involvement for the 2020 summer herring season.
If you would like to see a demonstration of the new keypad sampling technology, watch our latest PANDORA/SPFA explanatory video clip: