The Scottish Fishermen’s Trust has awarded bursaries to four students from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen for projects that will enhance knowledge and understanding of the marine environment.
The Trust will donate £15,000 over the next three years to fund bursaries for the University's pioneering new MSc degree in applied marine and fisheries ecology that is designed to produce cutting edge research to help the fisheries managers of the future.
The Trust was set up by the Scottish Fishermen's Federation in 2006 and since its inception has awarded over £100,000 to a number of worthwhile projects. One of the key aims of the Trust is to protect and conserve the marine environment and advance public understanding of marine ecology and biodiversity.
The new MSc in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology – Concepts and Practices for Ecosystem Based Management – has been developed to fill the knowledge gap that currently exists and help develop much needed policies and strategies.
James Brown, chairman of the Trust, said these new bursary awards underlined the commitment of Scottish fishermen to protect the marine environment and ensure a sustainable future for fisheries.
"The award of these bursaries to students for the University of Aberdeen's new MSc degree in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology puts into practical effect our desire to encourage the expertise and skills required to meet the challenge of marine resource management," he said.
Dr Beth Scott, lecturer within the University's School of Biological Sciences, said the support from the Trust will help attract the best applicants and contribute to the future production of excellent marine scientists and managers.
"We are delighted to be offering this comprehensive new degree and to have the support of the Scottish Fisherman's Trust. Their backing really gives us an opportunity to develop closer ties between our students and the fishing industry.
"We expect this programme to be of great interest to a range of people whether they are just finishing a BSc or improving or changing their career plans, and are interested in a future which sees them at the forefront of the management of our marine natural resources."
Dr David Lusseau, lecturer in Marine Populations, also within the University's School of Biological Sciences, said: "It is acknowledged that there is currently little consensus on the best way to approach ecosystem-based management. Our MSc in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology, taught by both academics and front-line government fisheries scientists from the FRS Marine Lab, will equip students with the knowledge and tools needed to meet these challenges and find new solutions to manage our natural resources."
The successful students for this first round of bursary awards are Laura Clark (26), Lucine Edwards (25), Heather McMillan (24) and Emma White (23), with their respective projects being on deepwater species; small cetaceans; Lamnid sharks; and the deepwater fish, orange roughy.