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Buckland Foundation Annual Report for 2017

OVERVIEW OF BUCKLAND FOUNDATION ACTIVITIES IN 2017.

The Trustees of the Buckland Foundation continued the objective of promoting Frank Buckland’s interests as set out in the foundation Trust documents. Trustees are regularly reminded of these by having the recent Sylvia Millar portrait of Frank Buckland at the AGM and Autumn meetings, and where possible at Buckland Lectures. The portrait is easier to transport than the large marble statue displayed in the Scottish Fisheries Museum.

On March 9, 2017, Mr Richard Girling, a former Environmental journalist, visited CEFAS Lowestoft to describe his biography of Frank Buckland, entitled The Man Who Ate the Zoo, and to take part in a question/answer session on the book, led by Trustee Dr David Righton of CEFAS. Dr Bannister attended, and as a gesture of thanks from the Foundation entertained Mr and Mrs Girling and Dr Righton to lunch.

Professor Paul Hart of the University of Leicester delivered the 2017 Buckland Lecture (theme ‘Stewards of the Sea: Giving Back Power to Fishers’) to audiences in Plymouth, Lowestoft, Norwich, St Andrews and Bergen.

Anastasia Moutaftsi, an undergraduate at the University of Aberdeen, was awarded the 2017 Buckland Smith Studentship to undertake a supervised project at the Marine Scotland Laboratory Aberdeen. She assessed the likely accuracy of estimating the length distributions of catches of haddock by analysing images filmed and recorded at sea by ship-mounted cameras during compliance monitoring.

Dr Bannister continued to chair the Trustees, and there were no changes to the board of Trustees. The financial and asset position of the Foundation investment portfolio, managed by the Brewin Dolphin charity team in Edinburgh, remains secure despite difficult international economic conditions. David Hourston of Brewin Dolphin attended the March AGM to review the investments and confirm the Foundation’s Investment Policy.

The Trustees met twice during the year in spring and autumn at the Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther, which accommodates our meetings and also hosts the Buckland website and physical archive. The generous support and interest of the Museum director, staff, and volunteers in Buckland activities is gratefully acknowledged.

BUCKLAND FOUNDATION LECTURES.

The Buckland Professor for 2017.

The Buckland Professor for 2017 was Emeritus Professor Paul Hart of the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology & Behaviour at the University of Leicester whose theme was Stewards of the Sea : Giving Back Power to Fishers. Professor Hart lectured to well- attended audiences at the National Aquarium Plymouth, the University of St Andrews, CEFAS Lowestoft, the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and, by personal request of Professor Hart, at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway. The Foundation was especially grateful to the National Aquarium, Plymouth, and the University of St Andrew, both of whom provided receptions for the Lectures. Professor Hart received the Honorarium, and his travel and subsistence expenses. The Lecture evolved during the series, and a version submitted by Paul Hart is now available in pdf form on the Buckland Foundation website.

Given the Brexit debate, there was understandable media interest in the avant garde theme and implications of Paul Hart’s 2017 Lectures. The Trustees therefore decided to preface future Buckland Lectures by stating that the Foundation is not an NGO or policy-making body, but simply provides an independent forum and platform to present and debate the themes of Lectures and Colloquia. Buckland Professors and Colloquia speakers will be asked to make clear in their presentations and any media interviews, that the views expressed are those of the Professor and his research collaborators and not those of the Buckland Foundation, or its Trustees and Clerk.

During 2017, the previous (2016) Professor, Professor Felicity Huntingford (Glasgow University Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine) and her collaborator Dr Martina Quaggiotto, transformed her Lecture ‘How Smart are Fish?’ to an interactive e-learning presentation aimed at enabling the general public to explore the interesting but little recognised complexity of fish behaviour. The project also seeks to encourage anglers and commercial fishers to contribute what they know or suspect about fish smartness in order to augment our understanding of the impact of commercial and recreational fisheries. The e-learning presentation is available from the Buckland Foundation website via the link: http://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/bahcm/research/sigs/marine/marinezoo/#/howsmartarefish?

In recent years the Trustees have adjusted the scope and practice of the Buckland Professorship by, for example, replacing printed papers and reports of the Lectures by digital presentations placed on the website, and encouraging the e-learning development (as with the 2016 Lectures). A revision of the terms and conditions of the appointment was proposed and the Chairman is preparing a new draft for ratification at the 2018 AGM.

The Buckland Professor for 2018.

At the autumn meeting, the Trustees agreed to a proposal from Dr Armstrong that Dr Ronald Campbell of the Tweed Foundation be appointed the 2018 Buckland Professor, to address the theme The History of Salmon and it’s Management, and the Trustees are pleased that Dr Campbell has recently accepted the invitation. The Lecture will be presented at three venues, beginning in Scotland, where it will be supported by a presentation from Dr Armstrong providing a government advisor’s perspective.

BUCKLAND-SMITH STUDENT BURSARY.

In 2017 the Foundation awarded the Buckland Smith Studentship to Anastasia Moutaftsi, a third year undergraduate student at the University of Aberdeen to work on a research project at the Marine Scotland Laboratory, Aberdeen, supervised by Dr Coby Needle. Her topic, ‘The assessment of data accuracy extracted from CCTV compliance footage of a haddock population’, reflected a recent decision by the Buckland Trustees to encourage fisheries research institutes to use a student to access and examine data and statistics already collected for other purposes. Anastasia was tasked to assess the feasibility and likely accuracy of using at-sea compliance video footage to estimate the lengths of haddock in images of the conveyer belt system after capture. The study revealed that the lengths of haddock assessed by the available software under-estimated the actual lengths, possibly because of errors caused by the optical geometry associated with the position of the cameras. In addition to her report Anastasia produced the draft of a poster that could be displayed at the Museum or a Buckland event. This is a valuable result, and at the subsequent autumn meeting the Trustees agreed to support a follow-up student at Aberdeen in 2018 to extend this work.

During 2017 the Trustees recognised that the current Bursary has not kept pace with the cost of supporting a student in this day and age. The autumn meeting therefore discussed the possibility of doubling the existing stipend, but awarding it only biennially. The Chairman agreed to propose draft revised terms and conditions, and these await approval at the 2018 AGM. The discussion also raised the possibility of securing additional funding contributions to the Bursary from other institutions, but no firm proposals were made.

TRUSTEE MEETINGS AND COMMUNICATIONS.

The Trustees held two meetings at Anstruther in 2017: the AGM in March, at which they were joined by David Hourston of Brewin Dolphin, and the autumn meeting, which on this occasion was followed the same evening by Professor Hart’s third Buckland Lecture at the University of St Andrew’s Byre Theatre. Dr Righton represented the Foundation at the Buckland Lectures in Plymouth, UEA Norwich, and Lowestoft.

Most communications between the Trustees and Clerk are made by email, but essential documentation for meetings, plus travel invoices, receipts and cheques, are also sent in hard copy. The Clerk retains hard copies of key financial documents, bank statements, Brewin Dolphin portfolio reports, and documents and artefacts considered as relevant archival material.

BUCKLAND BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS.

Lectures published previously by John Wiley result in a continuing low level of sales, and the Clerk has occasional enquiries about purchasing books in the series, but cannot respond as there are now no spare copies in the archives.

No new books or monographs are being produced or published from previous outstanding Buckland Lectures, which reflects the closing of the requirement to produce a printed version of the Lectures. This arises from time pressures on Professors, and the prospective high financial and time costs of creating a publication with limited scope for sufficient sales to recoup the costs. The move to digital publishing and communication is now widely accepted, so Buckland Lectures and the Buckland-Smith Student Report are now being made available on the Buckland pages of the Scottish Fisheries Museum website.

THE BUCKLAND FOUNDATION TRUSTEES.

There were no changes to the Trustees during 2017, and the period of appointment for each Trustee means that no changes need be considered until the 2019 AGM. Dr Armstrong remains a Trustee, but owing to work pressures he relinquished the role of Vice Chairman in favour of Captain Du Vivier R.N. The Clerk has intimated that after a long stint in his role he wishes to hand over to a new Clerk after the Autumn 2019 meeting, and will consider suitable candidates for this appointment capable of operating out of the Registered Office of the Buckland Foundation in St Ayles, Anstruther. He will be willing, however, to remain the principal contact with the Scottish Fisheries Museum, if the Trustees so desire.

FINANCE AND ACCOUNTS.

The annual accounts of the Buckland Foundation covering the year to 31st December 2017 are attached as an annex to this annual report. They have been reviewed and approved by Ken Fraser, the Independent Examiner of Accounts appointed by the Trustees at the 2017 Annual General Meeting held in Anstruther. The accounts and the Independent Examiner’s report are reported both to the Office of Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and the Charity Commission in England. The format and content of the 2017 annual accounts have been changed from those for earlier years to reflect the OSCR requirement to provide a Statement of Balances, which is not required by the Charity Commission. The Clerk has provided an explanation for the future preparation of accounts to guide future Clerks and Trustees.

The annual earnings from the Buckland Foundation investment portfolio managed by Brewin Dolphin’s Charity Team in Edinburgh remain sufficient to support the costs of the Buckland Professorship, the Buckland Lectures, the Summer Studentship and the essential expenses incurred by the Trustees and the Clerk in delivering the Foundation’s charitable activities. Brewin Dolphin also secured another modest growth in the asset value of the portfolio, thus securing the Foundation’s activities over the medium term.

Over the past three financial years the value of the portfolio’s assets has risen from £157,261 as at 31 December 2015 to £175,770 at 31 December 2017, generating an average cash income of £5,750 for the Foundation, an average investment yield of 3.4 per cent. Whilst this meets the annual income target agreed with Brewin Dolphin in 2005, it does not address the long-term impact of inflation on the real value of assets as bequeathed to the Foundation by Frank Buckland in 1880, or the later 1990 bequest by Fred Smith to fund the Summer Studentship. In this erosion of asset value the Foundation is no different to other charitable trusts, and over the 1880 to 2017 period the portfolio’s current asset value of £175,770 contrasts with the estimated £572,100 portfolio value had inflation not taken place : Trustees are thus operating with around 30 per of the assets left by Frank Buckland.

The recent complex international economic and market conditions faced by the Foundation’s investment managers, not least the emerging impact of Brexit, present a challenge, and in the light of this the investment performance is acceptable to the Trustees. The new management fee approach resulted in a slight increase in Brewin Dolphin’s fees to £1,641.75 : the Trustees will review these fees on an annual basis through a meeting with Brewin Dolphin’s portfolio manager, which will also confirm on an annual basis the Investment Policy and priorities agreed with David Hourston at the 2017 Annual General Meeting in Anstruther.

The Foundation’s total operating expenditure during 2017 was £7,629.75, up from the previous year because of the rise in portfolio management fee and much higher than anticipated subsistence and travel expenditure associated with the 2017 Buckland Lecture which included a Lecture in Bergen, Norway. Following this expenditure, the Trustees at the Autumn meeting agreed that Dr Bannister, as Chairman, together with the Clerk, will redraft both the Professorship and the Studentship Requirements and Conditions to set firm limits for Honoraria and Expenses associated with both these awards for approval by trustees at the 2018 AGM.

The Foundation’s income over the year to 31 December 2017 was, at £6,374.78, slightly up on the preceding two years through an increase in payments by Brewin Dolphin but royalty payments from John Wiley Ltd sales of books continued to decline. The net balance in the Foundation’s HKSB current account at the end of 2017 was £7,492.64, and Brewin Dolphin held end year cash balances of £2,611.00. The Trustees continued to require Brewin Dolphin to only transfer funds into the no-interest yielding HKSB current account sufficient to cover the Foundation’s necessary expenditure, and thus build up the investment portfolio assets.

During the year the Clerk met with Simon Ward, Business Accounts Manager at HSBC in Edinburgh, to confirm and update the information held on the Foundation by the bank, and also to confirm which Trustees are authorised to counter-sign cheques and other financial documents with the Clerk. As at the end of December 2017, Dr Bannister, Dr Shelton and John Firn are the authorised signatories. Captain Du Vivier is not a signatory, in line with his role as in-house reviewer of our financial plans and position. The option for Dr David Righton and Dr John Armstrong to become reserve signatories will be reviewed during 2018.

David Hourston, the Brewin Dolphin (BD) manager of the Foundation’s investment portfolio, met with the Trustees at the March AGM and presented a performance review of the portfolio. He explained the new fee discretionary charging basis introduced by BD from 2016 onwards which the Trustees noted had raised the annual management costs. A discussion of the Foundation’s Investment Policy and an emerging Investment Policy Statement prepared by Capt Du Vivier on behalf of the Trustees, confirmed the investment aims, desired risk profile (level 6) and investment time horizon for the Foundation. The Trustees agreed that a revised income target of 3% is more consistent with current market and investment conditions, and this has now replaced the previous target of 5%. This will be reviewed annually and confirmed with Brewin Dolphin. The Trustees have accepted as unrealistic the goal of expecting the value of the Portfolio to keep pace with the value of the original investment adjusted for inflation.

The Buckland Registered Office is located at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, which holds an important collection of Frank Buckland’s artefacts and archives, and hosts the AGM and autumn meetings of the Trustees. The Museum website, which now hosts the Foundation pages, underwent a major upgrade and re-design over 2016-17, and the Buckland Foundation Trustees made a £500 donation towards the cost of this as, to date, the Museum has made no charge for hosting our pages. Special thanks are due to Museum Trustee Alaistair Graham, who maintains and updates the Buckland web pages, and advises on opportunities to extend the online availability of Buckland documents, photos and other material. The portrait in oils of Frank Buckland by Silvia Millar that the Foundation acquired in 2016 has now been formally given on long-term loan to the Museum to ensure its safe preservation and storage, whilst making it available to the Buckland Trustees for display at meetings, lectures and other events.

At the autumn meeting the Trustees reviewed the current corporate livery and stationery designed by the 2015 Summer Student, and David Righton suggested making some adjustments, to be considered by the Trustees during 2018.

LINKS WITH BUCKLAND DINING AND OTHER SOCIETIES.

There were no known meetings of Buckland Dining Clubs, and the Trustees may wish to give thought during 2018 to exploring whether this long tradition should or can be revived. There could be an opportunity to bring interested people and parties together in 2024 to mark the Centenary of the Buckland Foundation funds becoming available from the Buckland Estate. The tradition of Frank Buckland lunches is continued by our Patron, Dr Richard Shelton of Brigton, who provides the Trustees’ lunch at both the AGM and Autumn meetings in the Scottish Fisheries Museum, for which the Trustees express their gratitude.

BUCKLAND ARCHIVES.

A large but unsystematic collection of Buckland artefacts, past Buckland Books, and documentation, is lodged at the Scottish Fisheries Museum, but much of this is not yet ordered and only partially catalogued, a matter that the Trustees will address in the near future. It is intended to make the completed catalogue available in digital form via the Buckland Foundation web pages.

John Firn, Clerk.

R C A Bannister, Chairman.

The Buckland Foundation. 15 April 2018.

BUCKLAND FOUNDATION TRUSTEES AND CONTACTS.

The Buckland Foundation Trustees at 31st December 2017 were

  • Dr RCA Bannister, Chairman of the Trustees
  • Captain PE Du Vivier, RN. Vice-Chairman
  • Dr David Righton
  • Dr John Armstrong
  • Dr RGJ Shelton, Patron

The Clerk to the Trustees is John R Firn (079 1936 1689).

The Registered Office for the Buckland Foundation, through which the Trustees and the Clerk can be contacted, is :

The Buckland Foundation, Scottish Fisheries Museum, St Ayles, Harbourhead, Anstruther, Fife KY10 3AB.

Further information about the Buckland Foundation, its objectives and activities can be found on-line via :

http://www.scotfishmuseum.org/the-buckland-foundation.

For a recently published introduction to the life and impact of Frank Buckland and his Foundation see Richard Girling, The Man Who Ate the Zoo : Frank Buckland – Forgotten Hero of Natural History, (London, Chatto & Windus, 2016). ISBN 971784740405.

The Scottish Fisheries Museum Trust Ltd
St Ayles, Harbourhead, Anstruther, Fife KY10 3AB
E-mail: enquiries@scotfishmuseum.org
Tel (within UK): 01333 310628
Tel (from outside UK): +44 1333 310628
Charity Number: SC 006185
VAT Reg Number: 270 2790 64
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