SSACN Deliver Keynote Speech at Dutch Sharkatag
This year the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network's (SSACN) Chair, Ian Burrett, was the keynote speaker at the opening of the Dutch Skarkatag event.
Ian’s 15 minute presentation to over 100 VIP’s including politicians, government employees, scientists and representatives of the media outlined the successes SSACN's Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (SSTP) has had over the past few years, including their contributions to the Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) and Shark Protection Statutory Instrument processes, and where they would like to go with a European tagging programme.
This year the Dutch Sharkatag was held on 13 and 14 August with nearly 300 anglers venturing to sea in blustery conditions on eleven charter boats; although the fishing didn’t match up to previous years plenty of smoothhound and a few stingrays were caught. The Dutch Programme has now tagged nearly 2000 smoothhounds and has had 60 recaptures.
Ian Burrett said:
“The hosts and everyone at the event made me feel extremely welcome and it was a very proud moment seeing the Dutch Sharkatag banner bearing our logo. Sportvisseriej Nederland put on a fantastic event and I was delighted to be a small part of it. I have no doubt we will work together on a number of projects in the coming years.”
When Ian presented a map which plotted Dutch smoothhound recaptures alongside SSTP recaptures, it came as a surprise to many that the majority of recaptures of fish from both programmes occurred in the English Channel. In resultant discussions it was decided the two organisations would work together to encourage other countries to join in the tagging work to facilitate further research into smoothhound distribution and migration patterns.
Although the numbers of shark species in Dutch waters has shown an improvement in recent years with larger numbers of smoothhound showing up and even the odd tope unfortunately, as with many other EU waters, common skate stocks are extinct in Dutch waters and have been for over 40 years. It is hoped that SSACN’s recent success in proposing MPAs to help regenerate the refuge stocks of common skate in the Argyll area will gain further support in other countries bordering the North Sea and ultimately help regenerate stocks of common skate throughout EU waters.
Sportvisserij Nederland have been running their Sharkatag since 2012 when they adopted SSACN's Sharkatag branding following discussions between the two bodies identified the opportunity to gather data on the make up of the stocks and their migration patterns more effectively by working together.