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PHD Student Tackles Scallop Habitat Survey in English Channel

10 September 2013

UK - A PHD student is researching scallop stocks in the English Channel thanks to funding from the UK Scallop Association.

Claire Catherall, a student at Bangor University in Wales, is carrying out research as part of her course and was accompanied by a team of six scientists from the University as well as by Seafish gear technologist Gus Caslake.

Supervised by Professor Michel Kaiser of Bangor University and part funded by retailer Morrisons, the research is taking place on the Prince Madog where the team will gather scientific and habitat data on king scallops.

As well as carrying out extensive field research in the region, the team carried out one to one interviews with local fisherman when the boat docked in Brixham.

One of the fishermen who spoke to Claire was local Brixham fisherman Richard Fowler, he said: "It's good to see scientists doing research that will benefit the fishing industry and counteract the negative press and misinformation that the scallop industry has experienced."

Professor Michel Kaiser, School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University & Seafish board member, said: “This research is vitally important for the industry and will provide better information on scallop stocks and their associated habitats in the English Channel.

“This data will be used to inform MSC accreditation and to enable better decisions to be made about the future of the stock.”

During the trip, the team will sample scallop fishing grounds as far east as Hastings and west to Falmouth Bay and north Cornwall. The work involves them gathering scientific data on king scallops, combined with a comprehensive habitat survey using underwater video footage and sampling of all associated species.

Claire said: “The project demonstrates how direct industry involvement with science can be vital, to not only improve our knowledge of the stocks but to also inform management decisions towards a sustainable scallop fishery.

“I want to say thanks to everyone who has helped carry out this research so far including Professor Michel Kaiser as well as the support I had from the UK Scallop Association, the vessel owners, skippers, Seafish and Morrisons.”

Mark Greet, MD at FalFish, one of a group of Scallop Industry co-sponsors of Claire’s PhD scientific work, said: We are very pleased to support the invaluable work that Claire and the team have been doing. Work like this will help increase knowledge in scallop fisheries, which will be extremely positive for the industry going forward.”

TheFishSite News Desk

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