- The Outer Hebrides Inshore Fisheries Pilot (the Pilot) exemplifies one of the key functions of the Regional Inshore Fisheries Group (RIFG) network, highlighting how locally-led fisheries improvement projects can work in practice.
- The Pilot aligns with both the Scottish Government Fisheries Management (FFM) Strategy and the marine commitments within the Bute House Agreement.
- The Pilot commenced on the 5th November 2020 and this report aims to provide an update on its various work streams and next steps.
- Fishers in the Outer Hebrides continue to express strong support for the Pilot and are reporting positive impacts on their fishing businesses.
- Marine Scotland have carried out work to characterise fishing activity within the Pilot area and to consider the relative merits of the available data.
- Baseline data identified that landings per unit effort (LPUE) of shellfish species (edible crab, European lobster, Norway lobster and velvet crab) decreased from 2017 to 2020.
- Compliance with the conditions of the Pilot has been good with no reports of breaches recorded in 2021.
- 40 fishing vessels working within the Pilot area were equipped with a Tracking Solution to consider the merits of its use in line with the Scottish Government Commitment to Modernisation of the Inshore Fleet.
- Track analyses are providing high resolution temporal and spatial data on fishing activity and estimated creel counts.
- Data collected during the Pilot will be used to improve automatically generated estimates of gear soak time for tracked vessels.
- A Catch App has been developed and made available for fishers to log daily catch in order to feed into highly spatially resolved assessment of LPUE, but also a method to support fishers promptly and accurately submitting landings data to Marine Scotland.
- A qualitative socio-economic assessment is planned to provide insights into the impact of the Pilot.
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