Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland

Fisheries Science Forum

Fisheries Science Forum

The MASTS Fisheries Science Forum aims to be a collective world-class fisheries science collective which provides research and advice relevant to sustainable fisheries management.

The forum work under the MASTS ‘Productive Seas’ Theme to improve our understanding of marine [fish and shellfish] systems, and the human [fisheries] influence on them, by undertaking research into the ecology, economics, sociology, and governance of commercially exploited marine fish and fisheries. This is important not only for the long term economic future of an important global industry, but for the well-being of rural communities, and the food security and good health of the general public.

The forum will complement and supplement work carried out by national agencies such as Marine Scotland, but focus on medium to long-term strategic research, although members may provide short-term objective scientific advice on fisheries matters, as well as expert opinion & comment. The Forum will use and develop innovative technology and tools in support of these goals, drawing on the broader range of expertise available in the Scottish HEI community and the Scottish fishing industry. Finally, the forum will help to develop a new generation of fisheries scientists, providing a vibrant research atmosphere and training opportunities for young scientists.

This Forum works closely with Fisheries Innovation & Sustainability (formerly known as Fisheries Innovation Scotland). Find out more here. Download “A review of Scotland’s marine fisheries: stock status, knowledge gaps, research requirements and stakeholder engagement” here.

Forum Convenor: Paul Fernandes (Heriot-Watt) has been in post for over 10 years, so please contact the MASTS Directorate if you are interested in this position.

Deputy Forum Convenor: Dougie Speirs (University of Strathclyde)

Steering Group: Harriet Cole (Marine Scotland Science); Michel Kaiser (Heriot Watt); Clive Fox (UHI-SAMS); Robin Cook (University of Strathclyde); Karen Diele (Edinburgh Napier University); Mike Heath (University of Strathclyde); Chevonne Angus/Beth Mouat (NAFC Marine Centre); Elena Balestri (Scottish Fishermens Federation); Arina Moltova (Seafish); Beta Rodrigues (Student rep from Heriot Watt University and the SUPER DTP) and Tania Mendo & Mark James (University of St Andrews)

Forum Activity

MASTS Fisheries – Interaction with Policy Symposium (February 2023)

This event provided the opportunity to showcase to Marine Scotland Policy colleagues, the scope and research expertise relevant to fisheries across the MASTS community. The symposium was designed to allow a broad selection of research to be highlighted through a series of brief presentations and time for questions and discussion. Policy colleagues were invited to participate in a facilitated open discussion to explore how the research community can engage and help to better inform policy.  The facilitator for this event was Kara Brydson, Executive Director at Fisheries Innovation & Sustainability.

A copy of the abstract booklet and links to selected presentations is available to view here.

ECR and PhD Fisheries Science Conference (January 2020)

On the 15th and 16th January 2020, the Lyell Centre and Heriot-Watt University hosted a conference for PhD and early career fisheries and conservation scientists, organised by the MASTS Fisheries Forum. This was the first such conference that the FSF had sponsored and it was hosted by Professor Michel Kaiser who joined HWU in February 2019.

One of the aims of MASTS is to ensure that Scottish HEIs punch above their weight, so the conference was an excellent opportunity for the fisheries community to get together and share their research findings, ambitions and ideas. Thirty students and researchers attended from Orkney, Oban, Stirling, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Strathclyde, and Aberdeen. There were 25 PhD and ECR presentations, covering all types of fisheries, with topics as wide ranging as fisheries acoustics (counting cod in Greenland), to parasite infections in scampi in The Clyde, to environmental effects of ghost-fishing. The workshop had two keynotes speakers; Aoife Martin from Seafish who spoke about her experience of managing fisheries in New Zealand, and David Donnan from Nature Scotland (formerly SNH) who spoke about the importance of science in implementing conservation policy. The conference concluded with a social media and communication workshop run by Michel Kaiser and Dr Heidi Burdett (both based in The Lyell Centre). MASTS kindly sponsored the catering for the event.

MASTS ASM Session (November 2019)

This Forum hosted a special session at the 2019 ASM on “The future of Scottish fisheries in a changing world”. If you were not lucky enough to attend in person, why not catch up by reading the article that has been recently published in Fishing News.

Related case studies

Minugulay Reef Complex

MASTS Resources

We’re working behind the scenes to bring you a suite of useful, and updateable, resources including: 

  • Find an expert
  • Find facilities & equipment
  • MASTS Publications


If you would like to be updated when the resources section is live please let us know.