Nick at the Orkney International Science Festival

Nick Morrison is attending many of the events at the Orkney International Science Festival.

The 2018 Orkney Science Festival Started well to a packed audience with lots of young faces it which is nice to see. It was in some ways a microcosm of the Science Festival itself being a blend of Science and the arts in this case poetry. The science festival has for some time included a session or two daily from the arts. We have been treated to Japanese drummers, poetry readings, Canadian First Nation dancers and several diverse musical performances.

“A poem is a machine in words”

Poet Alec Findlay spoke in terms of “the energy of the Orcadian dialect” which is missing in plain English He read one of his poems in an attempt at our dialect which was enthusiastically applauded.

All the presenters commented on the energy during conversations twixt scientist and writer.  Dr Gareth Jones read a poem of his own which was also well applauded.

An inspiring and excellent start to this years Festival

Fishing for the Future

lobster-potsLucy Leech & Hope Laing (young presenters in this the Year of Young People) introduced Dr Mike Bell of Heriot Watt University  then introduced four local researchers, Kate Rydzkowski, Mathew Coleman(Orkney Sustainable Fisheries ) Hannah Fennell and Cara Duncan (Orkney Fisheries Association)

An in depth study has been going on into the lifecycle of the lobster considering how long we have been catching and eating lobsters we actually know very little about them.

The other researchers thanked Kate who has been doing much of the work. Lobsters are  a low volume but high value item. The research has even been going on beneath the waves with cameras attached to modified creels.

Work is also ongoing with crabs  in particular into the survival rate of the smaller crabs which are discarded at sea.(Success of Orkney’s V Notch Lobster Project).

“Climate change is an economic issue”

Hannah Fennel gave a quick tour of the economic climate affecting our fisheries now and in the future.Climate change is affecting which fish may be caught and when. Fishing these days is controlled by “quota’s” or “days at sea”  widely as these measures are criticised they are very necessary. Uncontrolled fishing in the past has wiped out 85% of Europe’s  oyster beds. Much of our market is highly dependent on the European market with peaks around the Catholic holidays.

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  1. Beta Rodriguez also gave an interesting talk about crabs and their ability to survive after being returned to the sea!

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