After two weeks in Aberdeen talking with the wonderful people at the Scottish Fisheries Research Services, I am heading off to see some Scottish fisheries research first-hand aboard the FRV Scotia. I went on a brief tour of the ship two weeks ago when I first arrived in Aberdeen, and to my mind at least, it is quite a fancy, sophisticated research vessel, and I am excited to see it in action.
The survey I'm going out on is part of the IBTS (international bottom trawl survey) of the North Sea, a cooperative venture between most of the countries who fish the area to conduct a standardized survey of the fish populations as one of the main ways of collecting data about the state of the fish stocks. This is then used by ICES to assess how the stocks are doing and provide scientific advice which is used by the EU to set annual quotas. So because there are fairly significant implications of this survey, I've heard a lot about it (both critiques and explanations of the methods in response to the critiques) and am looking forward to seeing for myself how it really works. Hopefully when I come back I'll have lots more to say about it.