Introducing the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA)
In Scotland a diverse array of marine animals including whales, dolphins and porpoise (collectively known as cetaceans) inhabit our inshore waters, which are also valuable fishing grounds for trawl and creel fishermen. The Scottish inshore fishing industry makes a significant contribution to the national economy and forms the backbone of many small coastal communities. Unfortunately however with thousands of miles of associated rope in the water at any given time, whales and other marine animals (e.g. basking sharks and turtles) can become entangled in this, and these interactions can have conservation, welfare and economic consequences.
These incidents can also be distressing and potentially dangerous for those discovering them, and the financial cost to fishermen through damaged or lost gear can be significant.
Launched on 1 June 2018, the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA)is a partnership between six organisations dedicated to promoting and protecting Scotland’s wildlife, heritage and sustainable marine industries. Funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), SEA will research the incidence and impacts of marine animal entanglements in Scottish waters.
This Scottish Entanglement Alliance is a collaboration between:
- Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)
- Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS)
- Scottish Creel Fishermen's Federation (SCFF)
- Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)
- Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT)
- British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BMDLR)
SEA will work closely with the Scottish inshore fishing industry to provide a co-ordinated, comprehensive monitoring and engagement programme to better understand the scale and impact of marine animal entanglements in our waters, and work towards developing strategies to reduce this threat.
The project co-ordinator will be visiting ports and harbours around the Scottish coast to meet with fishermen and learn about their fishing practises and experiences and perceptions of marine animal entanglements. Skye and Lochalsh, Ullapool, Mull and Oban will be the first locations visited in June and July 2018, followed by Lewis, Orkney and Shetland later in the year.