Succorfish Shetland Island Management Project

Member Article

Succorfish technology used to protect seabed habitat in Shetland

An innovative spatial management programme aimed at protecting vulnerable seabed habitat whilst simultaneously monitoring, understanding and supporting scallop fleet activities in and around The Shetland Islands is proving a huge success thanks to North Shields-based Succorfish.

As part of a two year project funded by the Fishing Industry Science Alliance (FISA), The NAFC Marine Centre, based in Shetland, is accurately tracking, monitoring and recording the movement of 15 scallop vessels, some operating in the remotest areas of Shetland, in order to deliver solutions to real challenges faced by the local fishing industry.

The vessels, which are managed by the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) using Shetland’s unique Regulating Order, have been fitted with Succorfish’s innovative but low cost SC2 VMS units to capture location, course and speed every ten minutes. Data is then transferred over mobile phone and Iridium satellite networks to a secure online user website whereby owners can see their own fishing activity.

Tom Rossiter, Head of Marine at Succorfish explained, “Over the last six months, the SSMO and the NAFC Marine Centre have been applying Succorfish technology to gain a real insight into the scallop fishing industry and have a better, more clear understanding of the distribution of stocks found locally around Shetland. Data collected so far has included the footprint of the scallop fishery, the time in which fishing activities are carried out, key activity areas and seasonal variances and this information will be central to how different parties come together in the future to tackle issues faced by the local fishing industry.

“The SC2 units fitted by Succorfish precisely detail such information in close to real time and offer fishermen a valuable, low cost resource without interfering with fishing activities. Over 99% of all areas, including the most remote waters, are covered by our products and therefore the response from individual fishermen taking part has been very positive indeed.”

The SC2 vessel monitoring system has been specifically designed for the marine industry and allows fishermen, Goverment agencies and conservationists to come together to maintain or boost livelihoods whilst preserving the natural environment and marine protected areas. Vessel owners can demonstrate their movements at any given time in accordance with EU regulations and contribute to spatial management issues including MPA’s, offshore renewables or where subsea cables and pipelines are located.

Another benefit of the Succorfish system is that is provides accurate data for use in the fishery’s MSC accreditation bid, a problem that many fisheries face when trying to comply with principle 3 of MSC; transparent and effective management whether that be for fishermen, scientists or managers.

Dr. Beth Leslie, Joint Head of Marine Science & Technology added, “The detailed information collected by the Succorfish units will be extremely valuable in a number of key areas and will be used to enhance existing stock assessment processes. It will feed into the MSC Accreditation process to provide evidence that fishermen are protecting vulnerable seabed habitats as well as the Shetland Marine Spatial Plan to better represent fishermen in planning decisions. The technology therefore provides very tangible benefits to inshore fisheries management.”

For more information regarding Succorfish products or current marine projects please contact Head Office on +44 (0) 191 447 6883 or email:

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by George Henricks .

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