Funding secured for fish net trials ahead of EU ban on discards
Funding to trial new fishing nets has been secured ahead of a European discard ban which begins next year.
From the beginning of the year, boats had to start landing unwanted fish which were caught in their nets.
Incidents of throwing dead fish back into the sea had increased due to strict EU quotas on which fish could be landed in a bid to conserve stocks.
The Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) has now received funding for trials of design modifications.
The money is from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and Marine Scotland.
The first phase will run from now until the end of the year and aims to have sea-trials of new designs of nets.
It will try to ensure that any skipper who comes forward with an idea will be the skipper who trials it.
It is expected a further phase will then run through to 2019, to help with development.
SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: "If selective fishing gear is to play a part in meeting the challenges of the upcoming discard ban, innovation and practical input from the users is simply a must.
"This project is designed to gather the best ideas and turn them into optimised nets - teamwork will be everything."
Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "I commend the industry for their work on such an important issue."
The ban came into force in January for species such as herring and mackerel, and takes effect next January for cod and haddock.