At the start of 2015, the status of the marine market made it look as though we could be in for an uphill struggle, with the downturn in the oil and gas market definitely taking its toll and a couple of past clients winding up their businesses.
However, despite this early outlook, we undertook some interesting and varied projects throughout 2015.
We delivered two large sample analysis contracts for Cefas, creating huge sets of benthic invertebrate abundance and biomass data for their Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) and Site of Community Importance (SCI) work. Our experience in analysing large numbers of samples stood us in good stead to deliver faunal data for input into a study, undertaken by Bangor University on behalf of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association, on the effects of scallop dredging.
We also continued to work on non-UK projects, identifying benthic fauna from West Africa and North America on behalf of some of our commercial clients. Our marine consultants provided expert advice on the potential impacts of the construction of a new major harbour on the marine environment and local European Sites.
Closer to home, our fisheries team was kept busy on flood alleviation projects around the UK ensuring that our clients met their legal obligations and standards for fish welfare, and our consultancy arm continued to add to our longstanding and in depth experience of the Thames.
One week in to the new calendar year, 2016 is looking to be another positive year for Thomson Unicomarine. We have been awarded a place on all the sections we applied for under the Scottish Natural Heritage Marine Survey Analysis and Interpretation Framework. We have picked up a large contract for Marine Scotland with a quick turnaround, and are collecting more sample analysis work from Cefas.
We are advertising for additional staff and looking forward to another year of interesting jobs, pushing forward innovations in the way we work, and attending the most relevant conferences and exhibitions.