Spatial Dynamics of King Scallops (Pecten maximus) in the Orkney Dive Fishery 2012-Present
This ground-breaking piece of fishermen-led research explores the movement of King Scallops and their returned rate to fished areas
This 2012 project was the first of its kind in that it was designed entirely by fishermen for fishermen when Orcadian scallop divers noticed fished grounds being re-populated by scallops faster than they had expected. So far the study has revealed that around 50% of scallops in the survey areas may leave at any one time over the course of a month and are replaced by new individuals coming in from other areas.
The study involves placing numbered tags on undersized scallops and releasing them back into the sea. Any tagged scallops that are recovered by fishermen or members of the public could then be tracked to see how far and where they had moved to.
The project is still on-going as tagged scallops are still being found. The fishermen aim to tag 4,000 scallops and have used a combination of metal and plastic tags (each with an individual identification number and contact details) and the recapture information will give us an insight into the larger distances scallops can move. When possible we also collect height and width data of the tagged scallops upon both release and return to help us understand their growth rates.
This project was supported by a grant of £25,000 from the Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead's fisheries research budget and £5,000 from Orkney Islands Council.
You can read the full report here.
Scallop tagged with one of the black cable tie identification tags
Undersized scallops tagged and ready to be returned to the sea
One of the plastic tags used in the stufy
Scallops tagged with the orange identification tags waiting to be returned to the sea