The number of vessels in Scotland’s fishing fleet that have supported the local oil and gas industry this century has now surpassed 500.
Fishing restrictions have meant that the industry needed to look for alternative work, and the industry’s role in offshore oil and gas has softened the financial impact of enforced vessel downtimes.
Some fishing vessels have been providing protection for vulnerable subsea infrastructure such as pipelines under construction, wellheads awaiting full protection and telecommunication and umbilical cables, while others have assisted with environmental survey work, reports Aberdeen Press and Journal.
In the last two years the fishing fleet has spent over 16,000 working days performing offshore-related duties. That equates to the average yearly workload of 114 vessels.
As part of the two industry’s joint cooperation, the Scottish Fishermens’ Federation launched an App in January designed to help make life safer for North Sea fishermen with help from the oil and gas industry.
The FishSAFE Companion App gives information about oil and gas equipment on the seabed and surface – ranging from platforms to subsea pipelines - so fishermen can better understand what the object is.
The App is designed to complement FishSAFE Information and the FishSAFE unit which are already used by hundreds of skippers in the North Sea to obtain information about oil and gas-related potential hazards in UK waters.
FishSAFE was set up after four men died when the trawler Westhaven sank after it snagged on an underwater pipeline in 1997.
Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, said: “The fishing industry is vital to many of our rural communities all across Scotland and the safety of fishermen, offshore oil and gas personnel and the protection of the marine environment is extremely important.”