During 2013 the Buckland Foundation Trustees made two important decisions that took the Foundation into two new areas of activity which initial experience suggests are worth continued pursuit in the future. These were the partnership with The Fishmongers’ Company to organise and host a major new UK fisheries science colloquium, and first ever support for a Buckland-Smith Summer Student to undertake a research project outside the British Isles. The initial feedback and review of these initiatives fully support the judgement of the Trustees in making the investments involved, and have helped raise awareness of the Foundation, its objectives and activities. These two developments are further explained below.
The principal challenge that continues to confront the Foundation’s Trustees and Clerk is the relative financial constraint caused by the progressive erosion of the real value of the original financial bequests made by Frank Buckland in 1880 and Fred Smith in 1997. The low level of investment income typical of the current international economic condition means that the Foundation is limited in the support it can give in furthering and promoting fisheries science, and during the year the Trustees began to consider how additional funding for the Foundation’s investment portfolio might be secured. Informal discussions with fisheries science and the industry representatives at the London Colloquium gave some support to the view that fund-raising by the Foundation might be possible.
The Foundation is now firmly based in the Scottish Fisheries Museum in its St Ayles complex in Anstruther, and the Trustees are grateful for the continuing support for the Foundation and its activities from the Museum’s Trustees, staff and volunteers : it is a productive and positive partnership. Cataloguing of the present Buckland Foundation papers, documents, photographs and artefacts has been completed by the Museum curatorial staff, and the list of archive contents will eventually be available on the Buckland pages of the Museum’s still evolving and excellent website (www.scotfishmuseum.org). The feedback from Museum visitors on the Foundation’s Future of Fishing exhibition in the John Noble Gallery continues to be positive, but the Trustees will continue to argue that its importance in relation to the core sustainability challenge of commercial fisheries should see it in a more visible (and comfortable) location within the Museum.
The Museum has continued developing its plans for making essential changes to the St Ayles buildings and facilities that will enhance its attractiveness to new and returning visitors, and the Foundation will support these improvements especially where they strengthen the message of resource sustainability in commercial fisheries both in the Museum’s built environment and its online content. The Chairman of the Buckland Foundation Trustees, Dr Richard Shelton, as a Research Fellow of the Museum, is a member of its Education and Research Committee and thus helping establish an active research community at St Ayles. Progress was also made during 2013 in planning the refurbishment of the East Green building into a new Library and Research Centre in which the foundation will be actively involved.
Dr Colin Bannister, the Vice-Chairman of the Foundation, has been regularly involved in meetings in Fishmongers Hall and as a result of the contacts made he suggested to the Trustees that it was an appropriate time to host a Colloquium with the Fishmongers Company on the theme of Why, or why not, maximum sustainable yield (MSY)? Contemporary thoughts on the rational management of fisheries.” Dr Bannister, with the help of the team in the Fishmongers Company, put together an interesting and important meeting that attracted an audience of over 80 delegates from the UK and Europe including seafood journalists, NGO members, managers of inshore fisheries, academics and students, NFFO representatives, and other retired fisheries scientists, managers and advisors. Two Buckland Lectures were given in the morning, and following lunch sponsored by the Fishmongers Company, four discussion groups, facilitated by senior scientists, explored the scientific and policy implications of the morning presentations; and the conclusions of the groups were then presented to the closing plenary session.
This unique double bill of Buckland Lectures was a major success for the Foundation, and personally for Dr Bannister who convened and chaired the Colloquium held in the superb surroundings of Fishmongers Hall. The Buckland Foundation Trustees fully recognise that the major success of the Colloquium lies with Dr Bannister and is grateful to him for his creative and sustained effort that resulted in the best and most influential meeting in the history of the Buckland Foundation. The Trustees also were, and are, grateful to the Warden and staff of the Fishmongers Company, and especially Clair Tibbett, for their generous hospitality and sponsorship. Those attending the Colloquium, including the Clerk to the Buckland Foundation, concluded that the impact of the event strongly argues for the London Colloquium to become a regular (perhaps biennial) event. A short report on the Colloquium was provided to the Trustees.
The first of the Colloquium’s morning Buckland Lectures was given by Professor Sidney Holt, the 2013-14 Buckland Professor, who flew in from Rome to take part. He addressed the core theme of the day by asking “Why MSY?” and gave a tour de force reviewing national and international fishing developments during his professional career. Ian Boyd, the 2012-13 Buckland Professor, addressed future challenges through his presentation on Future Approaches to Fisheries Science, which developed the Buckland Lecture topics that he had piloted in his earlier Anstruther and Lowestoft presentations. It is hoped that a more comprehensive report of the Colloquium can be produced for publication by the Foundation.
The research undertaken in St Andrews by Maud Kent, the 2012 Buckland-Smith Summer Student, was sufficiently well regarded as being innovative and important by the Trustees that they decided to support her application for a second Studentship that would enable her to further develop the results of her work with Guppies by exploring the swimming behaviour of commercial fish species to temperature changes. On the basis of her 2012 research, she was invited to replicate her video-based systems with the larva of North Sea herring in the research labs of the Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science at the University of Hamburg. She expects to produce a report to the Foundation setting out her initial results by Spring 2014 followed by a series of peer-reviewed papers.
This innovative Trustee support of Studentship research outside the British Isles meant that the higher travel and subsistence costs involved resulted in only one Summer Studentship could be supported during 2013. The Trustees and the Clerk will hope to return to supporting two annual Summer Studentships from 2014 onwards, and will also seek to identify possible commercial and corporate funding for Summer Studentships in the future as the Trustees believe that enabling young fisheries scientists to undertake research that might help their transition into a fisheries science career is an important priority for the Foundation.
Royalties from sales of previous Buckland Books and Lectures were, at £139.97, down from the £276.57 received in 2012 from John Wylie and Sons. The decline may be caused by a number of factors including the absence of published texts from many of the recent Buckland Professors, the emergence of electronic publishing and changes in purchasing priorities in fisheries science institutions, university libraries and appropriate government departments.
In 2012 the Trustees began to consider the potential for making Buckland Lectures, which increasingly have been delivered via MS PowerPoint, available online; and also decided to explore the potential for digitising some or all of the books and monographs based on the Lectures. This will require significant funding and administrative effort outside the present capability of the Foundation, but it will be further investigated by the Trustees and Clerk in partnership with the Museum. It has also been agreed that the Clerk with the support of the Museum’s curatorial team will compile a comprehensive list of Buckland Foundation books and other publications for eventual inclusion on the Buckland website, and will assess how many copies of these remain available for purchase. There may also be some gaps in the complete list of publications and if so attempts will be made to fill these through purchase or donation.
At the Annual General Meeting of the Foundation held in the Scottish Fisheries Museum on March 20th 2013 the Trustees were pleased to confirm that Dr Richard Shelton would continue to be Chairman of the Foundation for 2013, and that Dr Bannister would continue as Vice-Chairman. The Trustees at their October 2013 meeting in St Ayles, having reviewed potential candidates for Trustees, formally invited Dr David Righton to become a Trustee once the term of Dr Bannister comes to the end of his second term in March 2015. Dr Righton was invited to join the Trustees at their meetings alongside Dr Bannister in order to ensure an effective transition. It was agreed that a comprehensive list of present and former Buckland Foundation Trustees and their Chairmen be compiled for eventual inclusion on the Buckland pages of the Museum website.
The total income generated during 2013from the Buckland Foundation investment portfolio managed by Brewin Dolphin was £4,342.96 – a 17% fall from the 2012 income of £5,263.37. The reasons for this decline will be reviewed with Brewin Dolphin as it fell below the annual level of income agreed with the fund managers in 1997, and as such was a prime factor in the net change-of-funds loss of -£614.37 over 2013. The Foundation Trustees will seek to ensure that investment income will return to a positive level, but have no concerns, in the probable economic climate, that the Foundation activities will be curtailed.
Expenditure by the Foundation over 2013 has generally been in line with previous years with two exceptions. First, Professor Ian Boyd, the 2012-13 Buckland Professor very kindly waived the travel and subsistence expenses due to him for his lectures in Anstruther, Lowestoft and Fishmongers’ Hall, which the Trustees much appreciate and acknowledge. The second exception is in relation to the successful London Colloquium on Maximum Sustainable Yield which incurred expenditure of £972.95 by the Foundation on equipment hire, labels and printing and the essential and superb management by Dr Bannister that ensured a memorable and influential event.
The cash balance held by HSBC for the Foundation at 31st December 2013 was £7,730.27 a rise of £262.51 from the end of December 2012, and 23 % up on the closing cash balance for 2011. The Trustees decision to support (in recent years) two Summer Studentships has encouraged the Clerk and Trustees to be cautious in their expenditure, and the Clerk has gently drifted some expenditure into later months to ensure that the HKSB balances are fully capable of covering the Foundation’s expenditure. The forecast expenditure by the Foundation for 2014 is thus fully funded by the cash balance and will not require further topping up through additional drawdowns of investment income.
The total value of the Buckland Foundation investment portfolio at 5th January 2014 was £147,283 representing an annual gross yield of 3.8% over the period from 5th January 2013. Only a small number of changes were made to the investment holdings in the portfolio over the course of the year, and the Trustees are grateful to Brewin Dolphin, and especially Nick Liddell, for its careful stewardship of the Foundation’s assets.
In last year’s Annual Report the Trustees reviewed the progressive loss of real value in the Buckland Portfolio since the original Buckland bequest of 1880, and more especially over the post-1923 transfer of funds from the family estate to the Foundation; and also of the associated loss of value in the proportion of the portfolio representing the 1977 Fred Smith bequest that enabled the Foundation to introduce the Buckland-Smith Summer Studentships. The continuing notional loss of income over these periods does limit the longer-term potential of the Foundation to give the level of support and encouragement in fisheries science that its founder originally envisaged. As noted last year, stabilising (and hopefully reversing) the slow attrition of funds from the current modest expenditure on Foundation activities will require both additional income and capital assets to be pursued and secured. This is an important strategic priority for the Trustees and its investment advisors in the years ahead.
The year passed with no apparent activity by the Buckland Supper Club, and an initial attempt by the Clerk to make contact with the organisers of the last supper in 2011 met with no success. Attempts to restore this long-standing link will continue. The Chairman has managed to continue the tradition of hosting and providing a Frank Buckland lunch at the meetings of Trustees, and it has been suggested that a Frank Buckland Dinner might be appropriate at future Colloquia organised by the Buckland Foundation and partners such as The Fishmongers’ Company. It is planned that information about such dining links is also added to the Foundation’s pages on the Museum’s website.
Dr R G J Shelton. Chairman : Buckland Foundation Trustees.
31 March 2014.
The Buckland Foundation Trustees as of 31st December 2013 were :
The Clerk to the Trustees is John R Firn. (079 1936 1689).
The Registered Office of the Buckland Foundation, through which the Trustees and Clerk can be contacted is :
The Scottish Fisheries Museum, St Ayles, Harbourhead, Anstruther, Fife KY10 3AB.
Further information about the Buckland Foundation and its activities can be found on-line at