The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN – http://www.ssacn.org) are proud to announce they have received funding support for the next three years from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support their on-going, volunteer sea angler led, Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (SSTP – http://www.tagsharks.com).
The SSTP project involves volunteers, sea anglers and marine scientists whose interests, skill-sets and specialized knowledge of fish biodiversity and the near-shore marine environment are used to gather the data required for resource monitoring, management, nature conservation, public information, education and wider research purposes.
Thanks to the incredible support and commitment of those volunteers, SSACN has not only been able to demonstrate to policy makers the value of cooperative volunteer led programmes for monitoring the environment and providing scientific evidence, but it has also been able to create an Outreach programme which is in constant demand.
Achievements in these areas have led to SSACN being selected as finalists in 3 categories for this year’s RSPB Scotland’s Nature of Scotland Awards.
Commenting on the funding award, Ian Burrett, SSACN’s Chairman pointed out: “Previously the SSTP’s activities have had to be prioritised to meet the most immediate data needs regarding endangered species such as the common skate – the funding from HLF and SNH will facilitate a broader approach to our studies.”
Colin McLean, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “This is an excellent project involving a broad range of participants from primary school children to seasoned sea anglers, all of whom value and enjoy our natural marine environment and are looking to enhance it for future generations”.
To support the work of the sea angling volunteers, SSACN also work in partnership with government agencies, fisheries research scientists and academic institutions, thus providing a focal point for shark research in Scotland and making significant contributions to government policy.
David Donnan, policy and advice manager with SNH, said: “We are pleased to renew our support for the SSTP for a further three years. The SSTP is a great example of the contribution that people can make to improve the knowledge of our seas, which in turn helps to inform future management advice and decisions. Sharks, skates and rays are not only part of our marine natural heritage but are economically important too, whether through recreational angling or fisheries.”
Sea angling contributes substantially to the economies of many coastal communities, contributes significantly to the Scottish economy and offers many other social benefits whilst having minimal impact on the environment.