Conservation & Sustainable Fishing

Conservation & Sustainable Fishing

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation is at the forefront of science and conservation at sea.



On scientific matters, we operate both proactively and reactively, dealing with everything that originates from the fishing activities of our members and could be enhanced by or provide help to the scientific community — including gear trials, biological data collection, participation in university-led projects, science/industry partnerships — and with issues stemming from wider scientific research that could affect fisheries, such as climate change, carbon release and disturbance.

SFF and its Constituent Associations draw on a network of in-house and external scientists. As well as following the science that leads to the annual release of advice on fishing opportunities, this network actively follows any fisheries-related science and actively engages with projects aiming to enhance the selectivity of fishing vessels.



SFF works to bridge gaps and mediate between governments and the fishing industry to ensure that an appropriate level of conservation is implemented, whilst safeguarding the right for a sustainable use of our seas. Our intent is to minimise overlap between features in need of protection and fishing activities, with the focus on keeping the latter viable and thriving in the near and distant future.

SFF works closely with the Scottish Government Marine Directorate, the University of Aberdeen, Heriot Watt and St Andrews, and the wider Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) community, among others. Further afield, SFF actively engages at a wider national (e.g. Cefas) and international level and sits on several International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) Working Groups.


Stock assessment, data collection, observer coverage and scientific project support.

As part of an active and ongoing commitment to science, SFF Services Limited (SFFSL) ran an observer scheme through various phases leading to the current Independent Fisheries Science Support Scheme (IFSSS). It Is managed under the auspices of SFFSL’s subsidiary company, Marine Environmental Solutions Limited and is funded by the Scottish Government through Marine Fund Scotland.



Elena Balestri

Senior Fisheries Policy and Science Manager
Elena Balestri
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