Case Study - Local firm contracted to deliver high-tech fishing scheme

An Aberdeen-based business is helping to deliver a Scottish Government pilot scheme to reduce the numbers of dead fish dumped at sea which could have significant impacts on the future of commercial fishing and its sustainability.


Marine Scotland introduced the Cod Catch Quota Scheme to monitor fish caught, regardless of size and marketability.  The idea of the pilot is to control the total removals from the sea not just landings, in other words “land more catch less”.

A key component of the pilot is the ability to monitor the catch landed, and to do so, Marine Scotland has sourced world-leading technology to capture around-the-clock video footage while vessels are at sea. Installing, and more importantly, maintaining cameras on board the vessels which operate in testing sea conditions is the responsibility of Woodsons of Aberdeen Ltd, a marine electronics specialist.

It is hoped that the research will highlight how stocks can be safeguarded and still deliver onshore supply while tackling the appalling waste of discards, dead fish which are too small for sale or prime fish which the vessel does not have quota for, being dumped back into the sea.
The pilot received an overwhelming response from applicants, in the end, 17 vessels were signed up, each agreeing to keep cameras switched on at all times, with no cod to be discarded.

Steven Wood, managing director for Woodsons said: “We were aware of the pilot study and its use of video technology to monitor catches and felt that our business had the experience to keep the cameras working in less than ideal conditions.

“The cameras are fitted with sensory equipment which cover and record all the key areas such as indentifying when a vessel is out fishing, viewing the catch coming aboard and watching the sorting process to make sure no fish are dumped.

“We tendered to supply the support service through Public Contracts Scotland, the public sector procurement portal. Although as a business we had never used the portal before, it was a very easy process and we are very pleased to have won the contract on our first submission.

“Our experience of securing the contract has definitely made us more aware of public sector opportunities which are a vital source of new business potential.”
Allan Gibb, head of regulation and licensing Marine Scotland, said: “We will be analysing the results of the pilot at the end of the year, but the early indications are encouraging, both from control and scientific perspectives. The scheme clearly supports the Scottish Governments aim of achieving sustainable fishing at responsible levels, while supporting sustainable economic growth.

“As the Cod Catch Quota research depends on onboard video monitoring, we were keen to find a local supplier to carry out the installation of the cameras and provide ongoing maintenance. By using Public Contracts Scotland we were able to invite interest from a wide range of suppliers and ensure we worked with a business with the right experience to support the pilot, while delivering best value.”