Fishery Science Partnership – New and Continued Projects

13th April 2011 in Fisheries Science

Defra recently announced a one-year, £950,000 continuation of the Fishery Science Partnership (FSP) for 2011/12.

The programme has been running since 2003. New and continued projects for the 2011/12 programme have been agreed by the Steering Group that includes representatives of Defra, Cefas and industry bodies. Some projects are agreed on a single-year project basis, others are long-term time-series. Tenders are invited by Thursday 12 May.

Time-series surveys

About two-thirds of the funds will support the long-term development and continuation of surveys that give time-series of catch rates and stock structure of key quota species. These data may be used in support of ICES advice on stocks. The following time-series surveys will be continued for one more year at least, and may be extended if funds are available for a further two years:

  • a northern and southern Western Channel beam-trawl survey, primarily for anglerfish along with lemon sole, sole and cod;
  • a Western Channel beam-trawl survey, primarily for plaice and sole along with anglerfish and cod;
  • an eastern and western Irish Sea survey for cod, haddock and whiting; and
  • a geographically restricted North-east coast survey, primarily for cod and whiting, along with haddock.

Additionally, a third year of the later-established survey of North Sea whitefish (covering selected areas over the whole North Sea) will be completed as agreed when that project was initiated; it too might be continued forward in time for up to two more years if funding is made available.

One-off projects agreed

The balance of the funding will support five one-off investigations in this financial year.

  • A modified commercial trawl survey will compare the selectivity of an experimental trawl with a commercial trawl with the aim of reducing discards, a follow-up to the vertical-separator-panel project completed last year.
  • Another project will investigate by-catch, discard and the survivability of spurdog, porbeagle and common skate to support current research and policy investigations on those species.
  • An Eastern Channel survey will investigate the potential for a new gillnet fishery for pollack on offshore wrecks.
  • A cuttlefish diversification survey will look at how gear configuration deployed inshore and deeper can improve selectivity without causing extra damage to the seabed in light of the fact that limited attention has been paid thus far to cephalopod resources off England and Wales.
  • Finally, a fishing industry multi-beam sonar survey trial of marine habitats will evaluate the potential of using fishing vessels as platforms for conducting seabed habitat surveys.

Tender applications

Tendering to take part in the programme is relatively straightforward and Cefas welcomes applications. Tender documents can be obtained from Cefas by post (FSP Office, Cefas, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft NR33 0HT) or email ( ) or downloaded from the FSP website . As part of the tender process, a template is provided to help you submit your application.