That was the year that was – 2012.

But we can’t let it go without thanking all our Supporters, Volunteers, Advisors and Management Team.

They continue to make the difference !!


That they do so is testimony to their continued commitment to conserving near shore fish stocks, their environment and helping ensure ‘Fish for the Future’. We hope the following will give you a flavour of what we have been involved in – the ‘shortened’ urls will take you to the relevant pages for more details.

  Some of the high and low lights of the past year.


JANUARY – The results of 15 marine surveys covering 2,000+ square miles increased the knowledge of the biodiversity of Scotland’s seas. Environment Secretary Lochhead said: “The waters around Scotland are rich in such fascinating biodiversity and it’s our responsibility to protect this fragile environment.” – – this should include making more effort in protecting stocks of interest to sea anglers. What’s it like fishing Loch Sunart in January ? – see Gordon Goldie’s trip report –

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FEBRUARY – Dr Ed Farrell contributed a series of papers discussing some identification issues surrounding smooth-hound species and the work he has carried out in an attempt to resolve these issues – A report by nef – identifies that over £1.6 Billion/yr is lost due to the current overfishing of 43 stocks in EU waters. The Scottish Government announced a project to develop a MPA network for the protection of biodiversity and geological features. SSACN ultimately proposed 5 third party proposals –

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MARCH – The Sharks, Skates and Rays (Scotland) Order 2012 – – is introduced giving sharks, skates and rays in Scottish waters protection over that under EU legislation. The efforts of SSACN’s SSTP and the 300+ anglers who have contributed tagging data are recognised by the Scottish Government.  Incredibly, it had taken 40+ years to get politicians and fisheries managers to act. A tope tagged during Sharkatag 2010 was recaptured 2000Kms away off the coast of Portugal –


APRIL – The final skate Tagathon was held at Crinan – – however to further the understanding of stock dynamics and migratory patterns the SSTP will continue to gather recapture data. A tope (7929) tagged last July off the Mull of Galloway, was recaptured off the Outer Hebrides – – it’s not often a tope is recaptured well North of its original tagging location. The EU Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted in favour of a strict European ban on shark finning –


MAY – SSACN and Sportvisserij Nederland (Royal Dutch Angling Association) agreed to work together with a focus on smoothhound – SSACN introduce interactive weight / length function for selected skates, rays and sharks – Exotic warm water marine species such as anchovy, bluefin tuna, stingray, and thresher shark are spreading northwards into British coastal waters as average sea temperatures rise


JUNE – The weather claims the majority of Sharkatag but a core of dedicated supporters stick it out and manage some fish – -. ‘What we have been doing is bloody stupid’ was Bob May’s conclusion on managing fish stocks – – . A new report produced by Marine Scotland Science suggests the Clyde is demonstrating some signs of recovery – Three of SSACN’s volunteers gained their Level 2 coaching qualification.


JULY – We were pleased to announce that thanks to SNH and the Dumfries and Galloway LEADER programme, Lewis Cowie would be staying with us for another year – -. A remarkable recapture – a tope tagged 6 years ago by Ian Burrett was recaptured two miles from the original tagging site by his wife Christine – -. The EU finally voted in favour of protecting ten threatened species of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean – -.


AUGUST – A new Marine Visitor Centre opened at Tobermory Harbour – our display board, discussing rays and sharks is behind the touch pools – . A female skate originally tagged in 1992 was recaptured this year just weeks short of 20 years at liberty! – 11 charter boats, 230 participants, 95 shark caught and substantial media interest – the Dutch Sharkatag 2012 in a nutshell – Education Coordinator David McNair and outreach coach Lewis Cowie led an Outreach Event in Possil Park –


SEPTEMBER – In what could have been a historic opportunity to close the loopholes which continue to allow the practice of shark finning in European waters, the politicians once more bowed to commercial pressures – -.  The BBC featured tagging tope in south west Scotland on their Breakfast show – -. Several organizations representing EU commercial longliners’ campaigned against ‘no finning’ arguing that it is essential to ensure fleet survival and jobs, irrespective of the impact on shark stocks –


OCTOBER – The SSACN AGM was held in Dumfries – A SNH report on Marine Protected Areas recommended 56 Priority Marine Features, 82 individual features, 36 habitats and 46 species for inclusion as part of the MPA process. We attended a number of MPA workshops and submitted a number of 3rd party proposals – Our Outreach Programme managed to reach over 1130 individuals in a year –  Callum Roberts proposed the EU establish a network of ‘fish stock recovery areas’ to cover 10-20% of territorial seas of EU Member States –


NOVEMBER – During this year’s Spurdog Tagathon weekend, SSACN Coaches David McNair and Lewis Cowie ran classroom sessions covering the basics of the SSTP’s work as well as shark tagging and handling – The European parliament voted 566:47 in favour of completely closing the loopholes in the EU shark finning ban – A planned £7bn windfarm off the Inner Hebrides was scaled back after it was identified as a basking shark breeding ground –


DECEMBER – The Government launched a consultation on The Draft Scottish Marine Regions Order to seek views on legislation that identifies and establishes Scottish Marine Regions – A Report on Progress on the Development of a Marine Protected Area Network was laid before the Scottish Parliament – The NFFO argued against a zero TAC for spurdog and porbeagle and for a by-catch provision –

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Thanks for all your support – 2013 is going to be full of challengesYOU CAN HELP MEET THEM

To make a donation or take out membership go to find out how your special talents could help the team, just reply to this mail.


SSACN has no paid officials, any money we receive is channelled directly into funding activities aimed at conserving fish stocks and their environment – please do what you can to support us and help ensure ‘Fish for the Future’.

Best Regards and hoping you have a great 2013

The Trustees of SSACN

As always – any errors or omissions are solely down to the editor, please use the ‘contact us’ facility if you spot any.

Category: SSACN Announcements

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