Ellie MacLennan

Understanding the scale, impact and potential mitigation of marine animal entanglement in the Scottish static gear fishery

Marine animal entanglement in fishing gear is a global concern, considered by many to be the most significant marine mammal welfare issue of our time. In Scottish waters available data indicates that the frequency, rate and range of species impacted by entanglement has been increasing in recent years, however a thorough scientific understanding of the issue is lacking.

PhD Aims and Objectives:

  • This project will take a transdisciplinary approach to explore theoretical and applied approaches to mitigating entanglement risk, by building on data and methodologies developed through two innovative programmes of research:- the Scottish Inshore Fisheries Integrated Data System project (SIFIDS) and the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA).
    The main aims of the project are to:
    • Gather quantitative evidence to underpin our understanding of the scale, scope and intensity of static gear fishing effort in Scottish coastal waters, the distribution and movement of vulnerable marine species, and the risk factors for marine animal entanglement
    • Assess the chronicity and severity of entanglement wounds, and associated fitness costs and consequences for individual animal welfare
    • Develop behaviourally informed, evidence-based interventions to promote Fishers’ reporting of entanglement events and engagement in the process of identifying and mitigating entanglement risk
    • Develop feasible, practical, industry-led data collection and mitigation strategies to reduce entanglement hazards whilst maintaining the economic sustainability of the Scottish creel fishery.

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