Capacity building to manage seabed sediments

Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust

SIFT’s mission is to promote the sustainable management of Scotland’s inshore waters which lie within 12 miles of the coast. These waters have suffered from decades of over-exploitation and poor management. As a result, their ecosystem is degraded and they fail to support many of the communities which could sustainably use their resources. As the wellbeing of ‘the inshore’ affects the health of Scotland’s wider territorial seas - which stretch out into the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea - SIFT’s work has international as well as national significance. 

To SIFT, sustainable management involves the conservation and restoration of a biologically diverse and abundant marine ecosystem, alongside the development of fisheries and alternative livelihoods which co-exist with nature and offer long-term employment opportunities to coastal communities. 

To achieve our mission, we commission marine biological, economic and legal research to underpin the policies we develop. We then promote these policies in primary and secondary legislation through advocacy work with officials, politicians, the media and the public. We also work with community groups, the fishing industry and scientists to develop and implement detailed marine management plans for specific coastal locations.

We focus on promoting sustainable management of inshore waters in various ways, including:

Reforming inshore fisheries legislation. We campaign for new fisheries legislation which promotes ecosystem recovery and fair treatment of all stakeholders. We focus on the introduction of spatial management measures to limit the area where the most destructive fisheries, such as scallop dredging, can operate. We also advocate fair governance mechanisms and the need for more effective monitoring and enforcement of fishery regulations.

Managing the seaweed industry. Having successfully campaigned to ban commercial kelp dredging in Scottish waters, we now focus on developing sustainable community-scale seaweed cultivation and offshore kelp farming to contribute to carbon sequestration. 

Managing marine carbon. We campaign to include marine carbon in Scotland’s national climate change policies. We fund research into the impact of bottom trawling on carbon stored in seabed sediments and advocate the establishment of marine protected areas for vulnerable carbon-rich habitats.