Jig Fishing Pilot Study in Shetland Coastal Waters
During 2005 and 2006, following a request from the Shetland Fishermen’s Association, the NAFC Marine Centre undertook a pilot study of jig fishing in the inshore waters around Shetland. The trial used Oilwind automatic jigging machines fitted to the Centre’s fishing vessel Atlantia.
Fishing trials were carried out over an 18 month period and covered as many areas around Shetland as possible. The highest catch rates were on wrecks to the north of Shetland. The most valuable species caught were lythe (Pollachius pollachius) followed by saithe (Polachius virens), cod (Gadus morhua), ling (Molva molva) and tusk (Brosme brosme) respectively.
Environmental variables such as wind speed, sea depth, seabed type and tide all had significant effects on catch rates. Market prices fluctuated during the study period and prices received for jig caught fish were rarely higher than those for trawl caught fish. The main running costs associated with jig fishing were fuel and gear although fuel consumption when jigging was significantly lower than while trawling.
Factors needing to be taken into consideration when determining the commercial viability of jig fishing include: initial set up costs, weather restrictions, resistance of localised fishing grounds to intense fishing, quota availability, and marketing and promotion of the catch.
The results of the study indicated that jig fishing could be commercially viable, at least on a seasonal basis. However to reach its full potential a co-operative approach may need to be considered so that issues such as constancy of supply, volume and niche marketing could be addressed in order to achieve higher prices.
Final Project Report
Macdonald, P., Laurenson, C. & Marrs, S. (2007) Jig Fishing Pilot Study in Shetland Coastal Waters. Final Project Report, NAFC Marine Centre.
Macdonald, P. and Laurenson, C. (2010). Is there a relationship between tidal state and catches during jig fishing? NAFC Marine Centre Fisheries Development Note No. 28.
Macdonald, P., Laurenson, C.H., Johnson, A. & Tait, L. (2009). A comparison of catch rates of artificial lures from an automated handline fishery at Shetland, UK. Fisheries Research 95: 379-
Macdonald, P., Laurenson, C.H. & Marrs, S.J. (2007). The potential of jig fishing as an energy efficient method for catching whitefish around Shetland. ICES CM 2007/M:02, 17p.
Macdonald, P., Laurenson, C., Johnson, A. & Tait, A. (2007). An investigation into the catch rates of artificial lures used in commercial jig fisheries. NAFC Fisheries Development Note No. 26.
Macdonald, P., Laurenson, C., Johnson, A. & Tait, A. (2007). Jig fishing pilot study in Shetland coastal waters. NAFC Fisheries Development Note No. 25.