Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 4

Submission from the Fisheries Research Service

  1.  Fisheries Research Services (FRS) is the Scottish centre for research on fisheries aquaculture and the aquatic environment. It is an Agency of the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) and supports policy and stewardship of living aquatic resources. More details on the aims and objectives of FRS can be found on our website ( where we have recently published our Report and Accounts 2005-06[1].

  2.  Although FRS has a very clear focus on the research and monitoring requirements of the Scottish Executive, and to that extent inshore waters up to 12 miles, FRS contributes scientific expertise to the research and monitoring which underlies the advice produced on the wider marine environment and marine issues. In part this is achieved through close collaboration with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Scottish marine institutes such as the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban. In addition, we have forged partnership agreements with several Scottish Universities and are active in developments around a "virtual" Scottish marine science group. However, FRS also contributes actively to, often Defra led, UK-wide commitments and to UK-wide research and monitoring collaborating closely with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and other UK-wide institutes. FRS is fully engaged with the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy and contributes to UK input to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, providing both delegates and Chairs for the various working groups and committees. FRS further provides scientific expertise as part of the UK representation to the Oslo and Paris Commission (OSPAR).

  3.  FRS operates two research vessels, the ocean going FRV Scotia and the smaller FRV Clupea. Both ships are used extensively as part of the marine fish stock monitoring which, together with our market sampling and fish discards programme, contributes to the annual fish stock assessments.

  4.  FRS undertakes research in a range of areas including the effects of climate change, indicators of change in the health of fish communities, understanding the spread of sea lice, design of fishing gears, the biological response of fish to contaminants and the development of disease, the hydrography of the waters around the UK, the use of molecular probes to identify phytoplankton, the modelling of fish stocks and much more. Some examples of the research undertaken at FRS are presented FRS information leaflets electronic links for which are at Annex 1 to this letter*[2]. Although much of this research is funded by SEERAD, some of these programmes are funded by organisations such as the Natural Environmental Research Council; an example is the recently completed programme on marine productivity which had a focus in the Irminger Sea. A current NERC programme running at FRS is the multi-centre research on fish toxicogenomics which is lead from the University of Birmingham. Services to customers other than SEERAD account for approximately 14% of FRS' total budget. In addition to NERC other customers include the European Union (EU), the Food Standards Agency (FSA), other Government Departments, and public and private sector organisations.

  5.  A large proportion of the research and monitoring undertaken by FRS scientists is published in the peer-reviewed literature. However, FRS also produces a series known as "FRS Reports" which can be accessed via our internet site. Finally, FRS contributes to international publications. An example of this is the ICES Cooperative Research Report on Ocean Climate, the Scottish data coming from the FRS produced Scottish Ocean Climate Status Report.

  6.  FRS contributes significantly to our wider understanding of the seas around the UK and the animals that live within these waters. If the Committee would like further information on the activities of FRS then I will be happy to provide this.

January 2007

1   Link to Report and Accounts 2005-2006 Back

2   * (Not printed) Back

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