Fish­er­men’s part­ner­ship launched to save ma­rine mam­mals

The Oban Times - - OUTDOORS -

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.

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