Fishermen’s partnership launched to save marine mammals
A SCOTTISH initiative for trapped marine animals is a win-win for whales and fishermen, says the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Association.
A unique partnership between environmental organisations and creel fishermen has been formed to learn why and where it is happening and what can be done when a large animal becomes trapped or, better still, how can it be prevented
Entanglement, when marine animals become trapped or tangled in fishing gear, can be a problem for creel fishermen and for the marine animals themselves.
When the animal is a large whale, basking shark or seal it may result in death – often a lingering death. For the fishermen, it can mean the loss of valuable catch, nets, lines and creels and be a threat to livelihood; there are no winners.
Alistair Sinclair, national co- ordinator for the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, joined Scottish Natural Heritage, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and Whale and Dolphin Conservation to see what they could come up with to minimise entanglement occurrences.
Another partner, the Scottish Marine Mammals Stranding Scheme, is asking fishermen to send photos of any dead or stranded animals, which can provide a wealth of information.
A spokesperson for the creel industry said: ‘By working together and sharing knowledge and experience, the consortium has established protocols and guidelines on what to do and who to call if there is an incident or a stranding.
‘All of this is brought together in a credit card-sized guide which fits on a key ring and so is always handy.
‘Further advice in the guide includes species identification, useful contact numbers and hints on setting gear to reduce the risk of entanglement.’
For more information, visit the SCFF website where you can also download a copy of the booklet: scottishcreelfishermensfederation.co.uk/entanglement.htm.