Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Gdansk University of Technology Featured PhD Programmes
Queen’s University Belfast Featured PhD Programmes

Evaluating environmental and economic implications of management measures for the UK scallop fishery

   School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

  Dr Marija Sciberra  Monday, May 23, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidates with demonstrable strong numerical and computer coding skills from various backgrounds, including mathematics, statistics, marine fisheries, marine ecology, environmental sciences or social sciences.

The scallop sector is one of the highest value commercial fisheries in the UK and supports a productive catch sector and processor businesses. Despite their economic relevance, the UK scallop fisheries lack robust management regimes to regulate effort and landings and minimize impacts on target and non-target species. The current management of UK scallop fisheries generally consists of minimum landing sizes, restrictions on dredge number and seasonal closures in some regions. Except for a few regional and local examples, such as the Shetland inshore scallop fishery and the Isle of Man fishery, management planning is limited. In the absence of appropriate fisheries management measures that promote economic and harvesting efficiency, fishing becomes a frantic overcapitalized race for fish. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU represents an opportunity to prioritise and re-structure future fisheries management.

Objective of project

This project will assess the environmental, economic and social consequences of different harvest strategies and management measures for the UK scallop fishery. The knowledge gained through this PhD will help inform future fisheries management decisions to improve the management of scallop stocks, whilst also taking into consideration the environmental and economic implications of different management measures for the commercial fishing fleets in UK waters.


The project is multidisciplinary and cuts across the disciplines of biology and ecology, sociology and economics. The candidate will have the opportunity to learn and develop scallop population dynamic models and bio-economic models and engage with members of the scallop dredging industry to determine the drivers (social, environmental and economic) of fishers’ spatial behaviour and their preference of management measures for scallop stocks. The candidate will benefit from working with fisheries science authorities (CEFAS, Marine Scotland Science) advising UK government on scallop fisheries management in the UK and will benefit from industry input by engaging with members of the seafood industry.

The successful PhD candidate will be based at the Lyell Centre at Heriot-Watt University and will be supervised by Dr Marija Sciberras (Heriot-Watt University), Dr Lynda Rodwell (University of Plymouth), Dr Gwladys Lambert (CEFAS), Dr Karen Alexander and Dr Micheal Bell (Heriot-Watt University).


Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification or similar experience.

More Information on eligibility and the application process can be found at

How to Apply

To submit your application, please send the following information to :-

A two-page curriculum vitae (CV). Please do not include personal identifiers such as your portrait photograph on your CV.

A personal statement/covering letter (no longer than 1000 words) which explains why you consider yourself to be a suitable candidate for the PhD Project advertised, what qualifications, experience and skills you have that support your application, and what your aspirations are following on completion of this PhD. Please ensure you state the PhD Project Reference Code for which you are applying on your personal statement/covering letter.


The closing date for applications is 16:00 BST on 23 May 2022.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview, which will be held online from the week commencing 6 June 2022.  Applicants must be available to start by 1 October 2022.

Funding Notes

The studentship is supported for three years and eight months. All UKRI-funded PhD students will be eligible for the full award – both the stipend to support living costs (£16,062 per annum pro rata at the 2022/23 rate), and fees at research organisations’ UK rate.


[1] Cappell, R., Huntington, T., Nimmo, F., and MacNab, S. (2018) UK scallop fishery: current trends, future management options and recommendations. Report produced by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd.
[2] Stewart, B.D., J. Beukers-Stewart, Principles for the Management of Inshore Scallop Fisheries around the United Kingdom. Marine Ecosystem Management Report No. 1. University of York, 2009.
[3] DEFRA (2022). Consultation on the draft Joint Fisheries
Statement. Available at:
[4] McConnaughey, R.A., Hiddink, J.G., Jennings, S., Pitcher, C.R., Kaiser, M.J., Suuronen, P., Sciberras, M., Rijnsdorp, A.D., Collie, J.S., Mazor, T., Amoroso, R.O., Parma, A.M., Hilborn, R. (2019). Choosing best practices for managing the impacts of trawl fishing on seabed habitats and biota. Fish & Fisheries
[5] Bell, E D, Bell, M, Smith, M, & Addison, J (2007). SpatMan: A spatial management modelling tool for shellfish stocks. ICES CM 2007/O:08.
[6] Garcia D., Sanchez S., Prellezo R., Urtizberea A., Andres M. (2017). FLBEIA: A simulation model to conduct Bio-Economic evaluation of fisheries management strategies. SoftwareX 6: 141-147
[7] Pitcher, C.R., Hiddink, J.G, Jennings, S., Collie, J., Parma, A.M., Amoroso, R., Mazor, T., Sciberras, M., McConnaughey, R.A., Rijnsdorp, A.D., Kaiser, M.J., Suuronen, P., Hilborn, R. (2022). Trawl impacts on status of seabed sediment habitats in 24 trawled regions worldwide. PNAS 119: e2109449119

Email Now

PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs