Shellfish Stocks

The shellfish team provide stock assessments and applied research projects to support the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) in their decision making.  There are two main types of data collected to inform the stock assessments; fisheries information, which includes catch and effort data from fishermen’s logbooks; and biological data collected from observer trips on commercial vessels, by sampling at processing factories and vivier operators and through targeted survey work using our own research vessels.  This data is analysed using a range of techniques in order to provide the SSMO with the best possible advice on the status of the stocks, and information relevant to their management reference points.

Research and development projects are carried out are both to inform the stock assessment and management processes, and also to support the activity of local fishermen.  Some examples include:

  • Investigations into the spatial variability of velvet crabs
  • Brown crab tagging
  • Size at maturity in the common whelk
  • Lobster restocking programmes and v-notching
  • Investigation into the use of escape gaps in velvet crabs

This data collection programme has produced 11 years’ worth of spatially referenced fisheries data.  This is a unique and valuable data set, which allows stock assessments to be carried out at the local level, and informs the implementation of appropriate local and area based management measures.

Copies of the most recent stock assessment can be made available on request, with the agreement of the SSMO, who retain joint ownership of the data.  Requests can be made to the Senior Shellfish Scientist at the Marine Centre or the SSMO.