Wold Ecology

Filey Bycatch

Between 2010 and 2012, Wold Ecology undertook a unique contract for the Environment Agency and Natural England to monitor the bycatch of seabirds caught by salmon fishermen in Filey Bay.

The project arose from concerns over the rate of casualties and the influence of these on the sustainability of the nearby Special Protection Area (SPA) for breeding seabirds. A byelaw was introduced in 2010 covering the most sensitive SPA breeding season.

This high profile project involved the following:

  • Recording: The collation of daily records of the number of Razorbill, Guillemot and any other seabird species caught as bycatch by each of the licensed netsmen and their endorsees.
  • Direct contact with the netsmen: Wold Ecology staff built up a trusting relationship, encouraging the fishermen to hand over any dead and injured birds and to impart information from their log books.
  • Vantage point surveys: Wold Ecology carried out intensive monitoring of each boat over the full period of fishing from observation points on the cliff top, in order to record all bycatch as the fishermen brought in their nets.
  • Reporting: Wold Ecology Ltd collated detailed daily statistics and produced a comprehensive end-of-season report which included a statistical analysis of the project results.
  • The annual success of the project has led to continued funding by the Environment Agency and Natural England and award of the contract to Wold Ecology.