Originally launched in December 2017, the toolkit is a valuable resource for fishermen looking to test the financial viability of new or modified gear. It reduces the business risks involved in transitioning to new gear by helping them decide which fishing gear is the most financially effective for their vessel.
The new financial assessment calculator has been designed to be simpler and more user friendly and the first official assessment of a UK gear trial using this tool has now been completed, following testing in 2018. The assessment which took place as part of the final stages of the MFV Amity project was completed with help and support from the Gear Innovation and Technology Advisory Group (GITAG), run by SFF Services, skipper Philip Reid, vessel owner Jimmy Buchan, and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) & the SFF Services Independent On-board Observer Scheme (IOOS)*.
Ana Witteveen, Assistant Economist at Seafish and project lead said: “The Economic Assessment of Gear Trials toolkit has been designed to help the fishing industry make better informed decisions about adopting more selective gear. The financial assessment calculator is a key part of this as it guides vessel owners through the recommended financial calculations and provides a summary of the economic performance of each trialled gear modification. Following successful testing we’re very pleased to be releasing this updated version of the calculator which should be easier to use and help make the process even more straightforward.”
Jimmy Buchan, owner of the Amity said “We’ve been trying out different gear modifications for the past years and we’ve finally got something that really works and allows us to maximise the value of our catch and demonstrate that we’re fishing selectively and sustainably. We’ve invested a lot of time and money into the development and testing of this gear but it’s worth it because we’re investing in our future and the trials and toolkit have helped us to achieve this.”
This financial assessment, which provides an indicative insight into the financial performance of the modifications trialled, will be included in the official gear report sent to Marine Scotland Policy to help inform their decision about the future of the selective gear tested on the Amity. The financial results will hopefully help make the case for the commercial use of this gear to government and to others operating in the fishery.
Going forward Seafish will continue to work with the Gear Innovation and Technology Advisory Group in Scotland and Northern Ireland Gear Trials to support the collection and assessment of robust and practical financial data in upcoming 2019 trials with the ultimate aim of normalising the collection of financial data during gear trials. It is expected that financial assessment results from these and other future trials will support both business and policy decisions about gear use.
Mike Montgomerie, Gear Technologist at Seafish said “Businesses looking to increase selectivity need to remain profitable so it’s important that fishermen can decide upon the right gear designs to allow them to remain financially viable. This toolkit helps vessel owners make informed decisions by showing if there’s evidence that they can benefit financially from a gear change, either because they aren’t losing target species or gross, or if they’re counteracting income loss with lower costs.”
A copy of the toolkit and updated financial assessment calculator is available to download here: https://www.seafish.org/gear/tech/profile/best-practice-guidance-for-assessing-the-financial-performance-of-fishing-gear
For further information about the financial assessment of gear trials contact Ana Witteveen on 0131 524 8659 or Ana.Witteveen@seafish.co.uk.
* Both GITAG and IOOS are run by SFF Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation. The projects are funded by the Scottish Government and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.