Scottish fishing wants ideas and opportunities
Applications and proposals are wanted by Fisheries Innovation Scotland (FIS) for its latest set of research and development projects. These include a Fisheries Innovation Award Competition, a bursary to help career development within the fishing industry and a feasibility study into self-sampling in the pelagic sector.
FIS Executive Director, Richard Slaski is particularly enthusiastic about the potential these awards may bring.
â€˜The innovation award is our newest initiative and we are very excited about it. We know there are bright ideas floating around, and itâ€™s the nature of our industry that people are innovative,â€™ he said.
The first of what is hoped will be an annual Fisheries Innovation Award Competition is open to individuals or organisations and itâ€™s free. The competition judges will be looking for innovation in reducing the cost of catching fish/shellfish and in improving the quality and value of the catch.
â€˜We canâ€™t hope to know all of what is out there, but we would like to think we can harness some of this novel thinking for the benefit of the wider fishing sector. Then thereâ€™s another aspect to this, and thatâ€™s to provide an avenue towards further investment in the best ideas. Itâ€™s often the case that good ideas get no further because of a lack of investment,â€™ Richard Slaski said.
â€˜So we have a double objective, firstly to bring out the ideas and secondly to potentially find an avenue for additional support. The FIS Board has a real willingness to take the right kind of ideas further.â€™
Entrants to the competition will not have to conduct costly and extensive new trials, although they will have to produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate that their idea is practical. The closing date is 31st October. The winning entry will receive Â£15,000, with second and third prizes of Â£10,000 and Â£5000.
Following a previous successful FIS initiative that funded young fishermen to take up international placements, the Fisheries International Study Bursary has widened the potential participation to encourage career development of those working in or with the commercial fishing industry including, catching, processing, supply chains, NGOs, academia and other areas.
Individuals must have identified an international study or networking opportunity that could further their development or care. There is no set budget for the bursary as it will vary depending on location and travel costs.
â€˜One of our ambitions is to encourage a new generation of skilled and able people to take the Scottish seafood industry forward. Career development is crucial in this respect and we believe that this opportunity to study how fisheries are managed and organised in other parts of the world will help the next generation develop their careers,â€™ commented FIS Scotland chairman John Goodlad.
The third FIS funding announcement calls for proposals for a feasibility study on an industry self-sampling programme for the pelagic sector. The project recognises that data collected by the fishing industry is now more important than ever as other research institute and state-funded efforts are facing reductions in funds and capacity. Data collected at sea and onshore by the industry itself has the potential of enhancing the quality of catch and biological information necessary for improved stock assessment and real-time management.
â€˜This pelagic project is innovative insofar as it is integrating data collected by fishermen into the scientific assessment process,â€™ John Goodland said, adding that this project will be delivered in partnership with the Scottish Pelagic Fishermenâ€™s Association. The closing date for proposals is 15th September.
â€˜If, as we believe, this project is successful then it could become a template for other projects in other fisheries.â€™
â€˜FIS is a unique organisation in two respects. It is, firstly, funded from both the public and private sectors and, secondly, its focus is solely on how the sustainability of Scottish fisheries can be improved through innovation. The project and awards we have just announced recognise that there is considerable expertise within the industry that with a little help can be brought to bear on the issues facing the industry today.â€™
Further information and application forms are available from Fisheries Innovation Scotland.
Source: FIS Scotland
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