Two separate cockle projects are being developed in the Solway. Outreach support has been obtained to develop an industry led pilot study to explore the potential of managing an area sustainably by hand gathering. Another development being done in partnership with the Dumfries & Galloway FLAG and University of the South of Scotland is exploring the potential viability of relaying cockles in an area of the Solway. The relaying project will be subject to the successful acquisition of funding. Though being conducted separately if the the two cockle projects progress, they will complement each other.
In the Clyde, a scallop study is being developed under the auspices of the RIFG in partnership with the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership and University of Strathclyde. Subject to acquiring funding, the project is aimed at improving historical and current knowledge of scallop stocks in order to inform future sustainable management. A further proposal for outreach support to explore measures for a sustainable scallop management strategy in Argyllshire waters is currently under development by the WCRIFG.
Since the May meeting, Marine Scotland announced that it will support a crab project west of Mull and this is expected to begin in October 2018. The project will run for two years and, led by inshore fishing representatives, will explore stock management and sustainability within a local area. The project will be complemented by crab tagging and fishermen who will participate in the tagging in west coast waters have been given demonstrations in Oban and Craignure on how to undertake the measures. Crab tagging (4MB file) is ongoing in Orkney waters and the west coast work seeks to build upon this.
At the meeting of the management committee on 8 May the first annual review of the Fisheries Management Plan was agreed. A number of aims have been addressed or are currently under development. The meeting was also presented with a paper from RSSLA on a Strategy for the sustainable development of north-west Highland coastal fisheries and associated dependent communities. Members were invited to comment on the paper post the meeting.
The WCRIFG Solway Subcommittee met in January at Cree Bridge, Newton Stewart mainly to hear proposals by the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust (SIFT) for fisheries management in the Solway Firth.
The meeting was well attended and represented by all sectors of the inshore industry including processing. The meeting concluded that current fisheries management arrangements in the Solway as undertaken via the RIFG are adequate and nothing further is required. Solway based commercial fishermen work well together as evidenced by the Code of Conduct and by projects presently being developed with respect to cockles.
The meeting was updated on developments with regards to planned cockle fishery projects.