West of Scotland Herring Hunt (WOSHH)
  West of Scotland Herring Hunt (WOSHH)

Herring helped to generate local income, identity, and societal change for centuries in Scotland, but their numbers on the west coast have been in decline since the 1970s. Since herring use specific seabed habitat to deposit their eggs on, it is essential for population recovery that such areas are available when herring return to spawn.

The three-year West of Scotland Herring Hunt (WOSHH) project (11/21- 10/24) seeks to detect if, when and where large herring shoals are present in inshore waters on the west coast of Scotland, particularly during the spring-spawning season. WOSHH also aims to identify herring spawning habitat on the west coast to conserve and enhance it. Healthy spawning habitat could help rebuild inshore herring populations, with potentially positive social and economic impacts, as well as improving biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

WOSHH aims to achieve this by
• collecting habitat information working with Scottish west coast communities, organizations, industry, and individuals, from the Clyde to Cape Wrath and the Hebrides
• bridging newly generated scientific information with local ecological knowledge (including historical)
• inviting citizen scientists to join in on “herring hunts” to record signs of herring presence using the “Herring Hunt” web app
• tapping into historical local ecological knowledge (e.g., from the last “herring boom” days) across the whole of the Scottish west coast
• studying the role of complex seabed substrate (e.g., maerl) for reproductive success
• investigating historical herring catches, temperature and climatic anomalies to learn from the past and help predict future trends
• promote co-management and dialogue between marine stakeholders within inshore waters where space is limited
• champion the integration of essential spawning habitat into management measures

WOSHH, led by Edinburgh Napier University and funded by the William Grant Foundation, collaborates with a wide range of partners to achieve the project’s goals.

Read more on WOSHH on the scottishherring.org webpage.

  • Start Date:

    1 November 2021

  • End Date:

    31 October 2024

  • Activity Type:

    Externally Funded Research

  • Funder:

    William Grant Foundation

  • Value:


Project Team