Scilly’s IFCA Launches Pioneering Project To Track Crayfish

lobster tag 2015The Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority is going to place a buoy in the water between the Western Rocks and St Mary’s to help study the life cycle of crayfish.

There’s been extensive work to monitor their movements around the Mediterranean but there’s not much information on how they move in British waters.

There are suggestions that Scilly’s crayfish could travel as far as France.

Doug Holt from the IFCA says this project will provide answers to questions about where they go and when.

They’ll attach special electronic tags, supplied by the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, to the crayfish.

These will record the sea temperature and depths they reach.

Software will compare the reading from the tags on the crayfish with the temperature and sea condition statistics recorded at the fixed buoy. And by comparing that data, a computer program will be able to plot out how far they’ve travelled.

GPS, which could provide that information above the water, won’t work beneath the waves.

Divers will hand-select sixteen of the crayfish, also known as spiny lobsters, and glue the £325 tags to them.

There is a risk though. They’ll have to find all of the tagged animals and physically remove the tags to access the information.

Doug says they’ve not fixed the exact location of the data buoy yet, but it will be placed out of the way of busy boating lanes.