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Fishing and Renewable Energy Industries Work Together

05 February 2013

SCOTLAND, UK - The Crown Estate is launching plans to conduct a new research study that will explore how the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters wave and tidal projects can proceed in harmony with local fishing activities, ensuring that local communities benefit from both industries.

This study will be conducted in partnership with Scottish Government's Marine Scotland and Orkney Sustainable Fisheries Ltd. It will seek to collect detailed information on inshore fisheries' use of waters by recording vessel movements as well as other information about catches and activities.

The information about use of the sea by fisheries, along with information about wave and tidal projects' use of sea space, allows the two activities to be considered and understood together in order to provide a basis for minimising the commercial risk to them both when taking decisions about each activity.

The project will be undertaken by the local fishing fleets and marine researchers under the guidance of scientists at Heriot-Watt Orkney Campus. The Pentland Firth and Orkney waters projects developers will also be closely involved. The project is being funded by The Crown Estate; for the first year this will be £80k. The project is also funded by Marine Scotland and will be undertaken by Orkney Sustainable Fisheries Ltd.

Ronnie Quinn, The Crown Estate's lead for Energy and Infrastructure for Scotland, said: "Knowledge is essential in understanding existing marine users and emerging energy industries. The Crown Estate is committed to working with the fishing industry and we are delighted to be embarking on this work, which will be vital in aiding our understanding of how the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters marine energy projects can be progressed in a way which gives a maximum benefit to the local communities of Caithness and Orkney."

Stewart Crichton, Chairman of Orkney Sustainable Fisheries Ltd said: "Our organisation was established with the aim of taking forward various initiatives relating to the long-term security of our inshore fishing industry. We have worked closely with the marine energy sector and the Crown Estate in developing this project and we look forward to delivering benefits for both industrial sectors. The project dovetails and will run concurrently with a wider fisheries four year research project."

The potential value of the project to the local fishing industry is highlighted by Orkney Fisheries Association Secretary Fiona Matheson: "Fishermen recognise that they will need to find positive ways to co-exist with competitors for sea space and that on the broader front, accruing knowledge about the fishery will become an increasing part of the future sustainability of the inshore industry as environmental credibility takes greater hold among buyers and consumers. As a fisheries led study this project will go some way to providing the information that fishermen need in order to inform their own activities."

The Crown Estate is undertaking this work as part of its £5.7 million Enabling Actions projects. These tackle a wide cross-section of issues helping accelerate and de-risk development of wave and tidal projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters area to facilitate successful and timely construction and operation.

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