Celebrating 20 Years of the Marine Stranding Scheme

Published Wednesday, 7th November 2012 in Research news

The SRUC-led scheme that investigates why marine mammals strand on Scottish beaches celebrated its 20th birthday with a major conference attended by marine specialists from across the UK.

SRUC Chief Executive, Bob Webb, also attended to show his support for this significant landmark. The event showcased the work of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme which over the last twenty years has recorded around 7000 strandings of 30 different species and has undertaken over 1,700 full autopsies. Delegates explored how the scheme has increased knowledge about strandings, how monitoring can be improved in the future, and how to encourage more of the general public to report strandings. 

Andrew Brownlow, Head of the Marine Strandings Scheme, says: “I found the day truly inspirational; full of the sort of collaborative, discursive, surprising science we need once in a while to remind us why we're in this game… I feel this is a very exciting time for the research we do and I'm very proud indeed, both of what's been achieved by the many people who've worked on this scheme over the past two decades, and our potential for the future.”

The work of the Scheme was highly praised by Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment. He said: “The research has contributed much to developing our understanding of the health and wellbeing of cetaceans. I’m sure the scheme will continue to have an important role in future years in our efforts to safeguard these wonderful and iconic species.”   

The strandings project was set up in 1992, led by SRUC, funded by Marine Scotland and supported by National Museums Scotland. The project aims to collate, analyse and report data for all cetacean, marine turtle and basking shark strandings. Every year over 300 marine mammals are stranded around the coast of Scotland and about a third of those cases are investigated by the project.

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