Demersal Fisheries Research


The fisheries team support a range of research projects, data collection programmes and consultancy services. We have an excellent track record of working in partnership with industry and with other scientific partners to investigate and respond to a wide range of topics including those relating to fish biology, fishing gear design and selectivity, and the management of fisheries.

An ongoing research theme has been addressing knowledge gaps concerning the biology of, and fisheries for species that are of commercial importance locally, but which are poorly understood and data limited. Examples include work on angler (aka monkfish), megrim, ling and lemon sole.

Our work on fishing gear has included R&D projects (e.g. whitefish jigging and fish traps) and scientific trials of fishing gear, most recently a cod escape panel. In addition to gear work with our own vessel Atlantia II we also undertake gear trials work in collaboration with commercial vessels.

Over several years we have tagged a range of fish species caught in inshore waters around Shetland. The recapture and return of tagged fish has built up a dataset to inform us about both the movement and growth.

Our Inshore Fish Survey has been undertaken since 2011 and provides an independent index of abundance and recruitment of juvenile species of commercial importance before they are large enough to be caught in standard gear.

We undertake a Port Sampling programme which provides data to Marine Scotland Science. The Shetland data contributes to the UKs obligation under the EU’s Data Collection Framework. Fish landings are sampled for length and age and this feeds into international stock assessments.


Recent and Ongoing Projects


Fish Tagging

Tagging fish around Shetland to collect information on their distribution, movements and growth.

Inshore Fish Survey

An annual survey of fish in the inshore waters around Shetland

Fish heads collage

Cod Escape Panel

The development and trial of a cod escape panel for demersal otter trawls

Previous Demersal Fisheries Projects content