The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network [SSACN] is running their third Common Skate Event this weekend – from the 19th-21st April – in the waters around Ardfern in Argyll,
This will again see dedicated volunteer sea anglers travelling from all over the UK to help gather data regarding one of the nation’s shark stocks on behalf of the Scottish Shark Tagging Program (SSTP)
Around 50 sea anglers using their own boats are expected to fish the Skate Recapture Event in the waters around Ardfern in Argyll, over this April weekend.
The critically endangered common skate is the largest skate found in EU waters – with some growing to well over 200lbs. It was once abundant in north-west Europe but there have been significant declines around the UK over the last century due to poor fisheries policies, excessive exploitation and being discarded as bycatch.
Data already collected from previous catch-tag-release – and later recapture and release SSACN events has shown that migratory corridors for skate appear to exist between the Sound of Jura, Firth of Lorn, Sound of Mull and Loch Sunart.
These events are hugely valuable.
The data they have already harvested has been used to inform and shape Scottish Government policy – it contributed to the creation of a Special Statutory Instrument in early 2012 to provide the highest level of protection for 26 species of shark in Scottish waters. It also formed the basis of SSACN’s proposals for Marine Protected Areas to protect habitats from the Sound of Jura to Loch Sunart.
The data has also served as a foundation for other projects – including two electronic tagging studies and two PhD projects involving researching population connectivity dynamics, using genetic techniques; and the modelling of skate movements, using tagging data.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the Skate Recapture Event, or to register to take part in it, can do so on the SSTP website here.