The Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) published its Annual Report and Accounts 2008–09 on 9 July 2009. The report describes Cefas’ major achievements for the year and charts the agency’s progress against its strategy.
As an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the document also outlines Cefas’ performance against ministerial targets – all of which were achieved.
Cefas’ Chief Executive, Richard Judge, said: “It has been a hugely successful year. We continued to deliver high-quality science and have gained very positive feedback from our customers.
“Working collaboratively across government, the science community and industry means that we are in a very strong position – providing an almost unique perspective to inform the government’s sustainability and marine agendas. The report highlights numerous examples of our staff’s talent and commitment really making a difference for society.”
Some of those examples include:
- Cefas scientists tested over 5,000 samples from across the UK on behalf of the Food Standards Agency, to protect consumers from ill health through the ingestion of shellfish toxins. In addition, the agency has made significant strides in limiting and replacing the use of animals for such testing regimes.
- Cefas supplied the Environment Agency and the Met Office with “real-time” data to help alert vulnerable communities to potential storms and damaging waves or high tides. Its WaveNet system – using buoys and satellite relays – was extended in 2008–09 to include additional locations off the Scottish coastline.
- An international workshop, led by Cefas, helped to develop practical tools for planners assessing conflicting uses and potential impacts on marine ecosystems. The agency also demonstrated how its IT systems, acoustic mapping devices and data-sharing initiatives across organisations support the requirements of the forthcoming Marine and Coastal Access Bill, currently being considered by Parliament.
- The agency’s scientists continued to work closely with the fishing industry – through the Fisheries Science Partnership and other initiatives – to test adapted fishing nets and implement measures that secure sustainable fisheries and future jobs.
- An innovative, international project to track the migration of European eels was launched in 2008. Led by Cefas, the project hopes to uncover some of the biological secrets of this iconic but dwindling species.
Other achievements included:
- successfully relocating its Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, facility to Lowestoft, Suffolk – delivered within budget and to an accelerated timescale
- a partnership agreement with the University of East Anglia, including a jointly funded lectureship
- strong business growth, despite ever-increasing economic pressures across government
- praise for its Fisheries Science Partnership team at the national Civil Service Awards.
Copies of the Cefas Annual Report and Accounts 2008–09 are to be placed in the library of the House of Commons on the morning of 9 July 2009 and can be downloaded here.