NAFC Marine Centre (UHI)

Address NAFC Marine Centre, SCALLOWAY , Shetland ZE1 0UN, Scotland, UK
Telephone: (01595) 772000
Website: http://www.nafc.ac.uk/Home.aspx

The NAFC Marine Centre (University of Highlands and Islands) based in Scalloway Shetland provides research, consultancy and training to support the sustainable development of Scotland’s marine industries. Recent investments in equipment and human expertise have established a dedicated Marine Development Section within the Department of Marine Science and Technology and significantly bolstered the range of marine survey services the centre can offer.

The Marine Centre UHI’s growing portfolio of marine services includes the collection and analysis and reporting of data from detailed bathymetric, habitat and sub-bottom profiling surveys. Its dedicated marine survey vessel the MV Moder Dy, a 12.5m Category 2 vessel with a capacity of two crew and up to 10 passengers, is equipped with the high specification survey equipment including a Wide Angle Seafloor Sonar Profiler (WASSP) system, Kongsberg’s over the side mounted GeoPulse sub-bottom profiler as well as benthic video recording and physical grab sampling equipment. The centre also operates a fully operational fishing trawler and aquaculture work boat catamaran that can be used for surveying and equipment deployment and recovery. The latter has recently been engaged in the placement of “waverider” buoys and moorings for an external client, the centre housing the receiving station infrastructure at its foreshore headquarters.

This investment in growth at the centre reflects not only the increasing interest in Shetland as a prime location for marine energy developments but the associated need for access to key information and data from existing industry sectors of fisheries and aquaculture that the centre has always serviced. The interests of these more established local industries, which remain by far the most important component of the islands economy, are being pro-actively and effectively represented in an arena where competition for “seaspace” is increasing rapidly. There is a growing appreciation within Europe of how established industry-science networks and well-developed marine spatial plans facilitate effective and efficient local consultation, this having the potential to reduce unforeseen difficulties with new developments and the associated costs and time delays.

Multidisciplinary integration of the NAFC Marine Centre UHI’s new Marine Development Section with the long established Marine Planning, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sections at the centre, each of which works in very close collaboration with local and national stakeholders, ensure that the they are ideally positioned to provide unique sources of information and intelligence for all local developments. For example, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sections feed information into the Marine Planning section to provide one of the most highly developed Marine Spatial Management Plans in Europe, which was developed under the auspices of the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative. The center’s Marine Planning Section undertook the development of the plan and continues to administer and update it as a publicly available document on their website.

The reputation of the center’s staff has been built on blending together a mix of scientist and experts drawn directly in from important local industry sectors. Over 100 years of cumulative experience of fishing and aquaculture resides within a department of Marine Science and Technology with in-house scientific staff that are focussed on highly applied, impact driven outputs. Working at the interface of industry and science provides a unique understanding of how to engage with a full range of stakeholders with flexible, responsive services at competitive rates. This human expertise in marine surveying, marine spatial planning and fisheries resource assessment can be accessed by companies across Europe.

If you would like to learn more about the NAFC Marine Centre UHI’s services and how they can assist with your project developments please contact its senior development manager Alan Bourhill.

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