SFF Services has run the Independent On-board Observer Scheme (IOOS) since 2008. Phase VI of IOOS commenced on 1 January 2017. It expands and develops the previous phases which were all supported by either the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) or European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and Scottish Government.
Phase VI is again supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Scottish Government.
Through managed deployment of a pool of seven observers, and a Project Co-ordinator / Data Analyst the project provides an evidence base to:
- Support industry led initiatives such as gear trials relating to selective methods of fishing which help address potential problems relating to the Landings Obligation (for whitefish and nephrop fisheries);
- Maintain fishing opportunities afforded through the Scottish Conservation Credit Scheme by provision of detailed catch data from vessels participating in the various schemes being operated;
- Provide direct fisheries catch information to support the effort derogation in the Clyde nephrop trawl fisheries; and,
- Provide greatly enhanced data for stock assessment by linking directly with the Marine Scotland Science observer programme as agreed by the Fisheries Management and Conservation Group (FMAC).
Fisheries policy officer, Kenny Coull, manages the scheme, with support from our Project Co-ordinator / Data Analyst, Elena Balestri.