Chloe Blackman

I am a marine biologist and conservationist, dedicated to pursuing a career at the science-policy interface. I am passionate about engaging in research which can drive fisheries and environmental legislation to benefit both people and the planet. My primary interests are conservation physiology and benthic ecology. I am currently based in Oban at the Scottish Association of Marine Science where I am undertaking my PhD research.

Organism and ecological impacts of electrofishing in Scottish shallow coastal habitats

Previously illegal under EU law, the Scottish Government is now trialling electrofishing for razor clams under tight controls at several locations across the country. The method is favoured amongst fishers owing to its high level of efficiency whilst also generating a cleaner, more valuable product than alternative dredging techniques. Moreover, there are claims that electrofishing is preferable from an environmental standpoint, however more scientific research investigation is required to support this.   

Nonetheless, there are concerns that exposure to electrical fishing gear may result in long-lasting adverse effects on the under-sized razor clams which are not harvested, as well as on the wider benthic ecosystem. My work will address these concerns.

PhD Aim:

  • To assess the long-term ecological sustainability of a well-controlled Ensis (razor clam) electrofishery in Scotland.

PhD Objectives:

  • Examine the long-term physiological performance of Ensis and other benthic organisms which have been exposed to electrical fields.
  • Investigate whether there are any detectable adverse effects on bethic communities resulting from experimental electrofishing.
  • Determine the levels at which Scottish Ensis stocks can be sustainably exploited.

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