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April 14, 2020

COVID 19 HITS Orkney Fishing

Impacts of Covid 19 started being felt on March 10th 2020. Buyers stopped taking Scallops and this swiftly moved to other sectors of the fleet. Whitefish vessels are managing to keep going but on reduced landings. Work on OFA's building has had to be suspended during the lockdown to protect construction workers.

A comprehensive list of help is available below.


January 31, 2020


Safety Awareness

Basic health and Safety

Basic Health and Safety for Fishermen and Safety Awareness on Tuesday 25th February.


If you would like to reserve a space on either of these courses then please let Sam know





Sam Phillips | Maritime Training Administrator


University of the Highlands and Islands | Maritime Studies Department | Victoria Street | Stromness | KW16 3BS

T: 01856 569401 | Facebook | Twitter| Instagram

Exciting day as digger moves in!

December 09, 2019

Big Excitement on Kirkwall Pier!

The OFA Multi use building gets a step nearer as Casey Construction begin on site.

After 2 years in planning design and hunting for funds the construction of a multi funtional fisheries building took a step forward today. Casey Construction Ltd moved onto site with plant and materials.

The building is majority funded by EMFF and Scottish Government at a total of 60% of cost

There will be housing for fishermen's storage with a number of secure units of different sizes, offices, and space for charity and welfare bodies.

Completion is estimated for early 2020.

'Bait' showing at Picky Fringe Cinema 14 November

November 08, 2019

A Cornish fisherman attempts to deal with changing times and circumstances in his fishing village.

Modern-day Cornish fisherman Martin is struggling to buy a boat while coping with family rivalry and the influx of London money, Airbnb and stag parties to his harbour village. The summer season brings simmering tensions between the locals and newcomers to boiling point, with tragic consequences.

Stunningly shot on a vintage 16mm camera using monochrome Kodak stock, Mark Jenkin’s Bait is a timely and funny, yet poignant new film that gets to the heart of a community facing up unwelcome change. Stars Edward Rowe and Mary Woodvine.


August 13, 2019

Aggreement between trawl and creel sectors on sharing access and avoiding conflict.

This agreement has been negotiated to help positive sharing and communication for all sectors going forward.

Review of the Technical Conservation Regulation 850/98  has resulted in the closed area known as the windsock being removed as of the 14th August 2014.   Whilst the mobile gear sector view  this as a welcome shift in approach it does provide a significant problem with regard to shared use of the space.  


To address this issue representatives of both sectors met with a view to agreeing upon a joint approach.  The following agreement is understood to be a social contract between organisations and by extension the operators.


Over two meetings and one conference call which included representatives from Orkney, Clyde, and Shetland Fishermen’s Association and the Scottish White Fish Producers Association  (SWFPA) agreement was reached on a number of levels.  Those are:


  1. Shared use of an area that has been  designated as the West Shetland Shelf MPA,


  1. The agreement contains  four distinctly different levels;


  1. Areas of exclusive use for both mobile and static gears,

  2. an area of shared access subject to communication at the vessel level,

  3. increased VMS pings from vessels operating within close proximity to the MPA (Possibly 10 miles),  

  4. and ring-fenced monitoring by MSC (Marine Scotland Compliance) of the area currently designated as creel only.


  1. The areas of exclusive use will be in place from 14th August 2019 to 14th February 2020 although the situation will be revisited after three months.



  1. Areas of exclusive use

In the map below the area shaded orange enclosed by joining way points Z1, Z2, J, L and A will be exclusively for creel operations. The remaining area shared green enclosed by joining way points B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, Z2, and Z1 is for exclusive use of mobile gears.


  1. Area of shared access

The area shaded yellow formed by joining waypoints J, K and L is an area of joint access where skippersoperating mobile gear are expected to communicate withcreel vessels. Mobile vessels will deploy gear in the area only when it is confirmed that conflict will not occur.


  1. Increased VMS pings

Mobile vessels will be encouraged to increase the frequency of VMS pings when operating within 10 miles of the MPA on the premisethat it provides a higher degree of transparency and accountability. Guidance is requested from Marine Scotland with regard to the required procedure.


  1. Monitoring and notifications

            There is an expectation that Marine Scotland will support this agreement by monitoring and informing on incursions into the exclusive         creel activity area. It is expected that such monitoring will be similar in approach to that applied to the voluntary closed area within the    Fladen Grounds.  Incursions should be communicated to both Orkney FA and SWFPA.  There is a responsibility on these Associations to             contact the vessels concerned.

Be a champion of Orkney's Fishing Community

June 30, 2019

Orkney's respected community-minded fishermen are the original marine conservationists. They live and work daily throughout the years with the sea, watching its changes, weather patterns and all its sea creatures. They know the uncharted sea bed better than anyone and have unrivalled knowledge about the tides, currents and climate. This unique knowledge is at last becoming properly validated as' Fishermen's Ecological Knowledge' (FEK) and is set to become an important part of future of fisheries manamgent and conservation. 

You too can become part of championing Orkney's progressive fishing community by joining Orkney Fisheries Association as an Associate Member. It costs on£50 +vat annually and you will be part of a unique and progressive grass roots community organisation dedicated to looking after its precious fish and fishermen for all the future gnenerations. Contact OFA on 01856 871818 or email us for more information.

A world first for Orkney's Fishery

May 20, 2019

OFA's groundbreaking research into the status of the Orkney Fishery has concluded with today's publication of eight reports competed by Hannah Fennel and Cara Duncan. The researchers have worked over two years interviewing  fishermen througout the isles, past and present to provide the most comprehensive documentation of the fishery ever produced.

The ' Green Fisheries Development' research work was  funded  by the Orkney FLAG through  Scottish Government and the European Maritime Fisheries Fund.

You can access the reoprts through from the Green Development Project  page link below.

New Carvela comes home

May 12, 2019

The new vivier crabber 'Carvela' built for Celtic Dawn Fishing Co arrived home in Stromness in lovely sunshine on Sunday 12th May. She sailed up from Whitby following completion in the yard there, displaying her sympathtic lines and high quality finish.Carvella is beautifully crafted inside with well appointed crew facilities, galley and accommodation. 

Orkney fishermen supporting young footballers

April 29, 2019

OFA are supporting these young footballers at KGS. Here they are wearing their new tops with their coaches and Jake Hutchison of OFA after a recent tournament that saw one of their teams take the trophy. Well done lads!

Women in Fisheries

April 24, 2019

Orkney women working in fisheries and showing pathways for young people.

Cara Duncan and Fiona Matheson both feature in 'Developing the young Workforce' Sector Spotlight on fishires this month.

Click on the link to see the full range of fishries related jobs.

2019 kicks off with CIFA summit

OFA will  be attending the Communities and Inshore Fisheries Alliance's (CIFA) first summit at the Village Hotel in Glasgow on Friday 11th January. The inshore is determined to develop a bright future for local fishing communities and keep up pressure for infrastructure investment, stabilisation of active settled populations in remote areas and more ways to encourage new entrants into the inshore fishing industry. Minister Fergus Ewing will be in attendance along with other local MPs and MSPs. Places are limited and can be confirmed by email only at

Orkney Careers Fair

August 27, 2018

OFA were delighted to represent the inshore fisheries at the Orkney Careers fair as ran by DYW (Developing Young Workforce) Orkney and Skills Development Scotland. Aimed at local pupils from Stromness, Kirkwall and the Isles high schools, OFA highlighted the varied opportunities and careers associated within the fishing industry. This event also gave us the opportunity to highlight the interesting research currently being conducted by OFA. With over 700 people through the door, the event was deemed as a great success. 

Prototype escape gaps have arrived!

May 30, 2018

Good news, the escape gap prototypes have arrived! Working with ICL Tech Ldt two escape gap designs have been chosen to be manufactured for the testing of a multi species escape panel. The first design consists of a simple panel attached to the creels with all escape gaps open which can be easily closed with the use of biodegradable twine. The second escape gap operates on a swivel function allowing fishermen to select for the species that that they would like to escape from their creels. Currently bulk manufacturing is taking place and once available the distribution to local fishermen to test on their creels will be carried out. 

Scallop Tagged in 2013 Found 5 Years Later

March 26, 2018

In 2012 OFA began a project exploring the spatial dynamics of Orkney's scallop stocks. Our fishermen tagged over 4,000 scallops so we could learn more about the movement of scallops between areas and their rate of growth. Today one of our divers came in with one of our tagged scallops- five years later!

Our records show that this scallop had been tagged in June 2013 when it had a height of 104mm and a width of 121mm. When it was picked up again in March 2018 it was 128mm high and 141mm wide- that's a growth rate of about 4mm a year!

Click here to read more about this project. 

Funding For Stronsay Cold Storage

February 20, 2018

OFA is pleased to announce that a group of Stronsay fishermen has been awarded £15,508 from the Scottish Government and £20,678.20 from the EMFF to help set up a cold storage facility for the island. This project will help Stronsay fishermen store their bait and their catch. Congratulations Stronsay!

OFA Visited by Nosheena Mobarik MEP

December 02, 2017

Nosheena Mobarik visited Orkney Fisheries Association to discuss the challenges faced by Orkney's fishing industry as well as Brexit. After her talk with both Fiona Matheson and Alan Coghill of the Orkney Producers Organisation Ms Mobarik had a quick tour of Kirkwall pier and visited the storage facilities provided by OFA and to talk about OFA's current and future projects. 

Visit from Ian Duncan

November 08, 2017

Ian Duncan (UK Government minister for Scotland and Northern Ireland) met with local Orkney fishermen to hear their views and opinions on Brexit, as well as to discuss the future of coastal communities and the challenges and opportunities facing Orkney's fishing industry.

New Keila Takes to the Water

November 08, 2017

OFA are proud to congratulate our Chairman Tommy Tulloch and partner Michael Leslie on the fantastic achievement of launching this new boat to the Orkney fleet. 

It is the first purpose build trawler for Orkney owners in almost 20 years. It was launched and named in Denmark. 

The 28m whitefish trawler -Keila K121- was ordered from the Vestvaerftet Shipyard in Hvide Sande, Denmark, last year. The vessel was built at the Nauta-Hull yard in Gdyna, Poland, and fitted our at Vestvaerftet Shipyard. The vessel will replace Tommy's current vessel of the same name, the 27.3m single rig trawler Keila, which was originally built in Norway in 1989 for Westray skipper Tam Harcus. 

Funding for Green Development Project

February 17, 2017

OFA has been awarded a total of £101,190.15 to employ a Green Fisheries Strategist from the EMFF local FLAG fund. 

The post holder will work to develop a set of collaborative strategies with fishermen to equip the fishery going forward and optimise its green sustainable reputation. A bespoke escape panel to reduce unwanted catches on the seabed will also be developed as part of the brief along with a comprehensive economic study on the value of the fishery to Orkney. 

Funding for Personal Locator Beacons

November 07, 2016

OFA are delighted to announce that we have been awarded £32,502 from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to buy Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) for vessels in Orkney's fishing fleet.


OFA hopes to have all the boats equipped with these by Christmas.

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