Research


The ambition of the PFA is to maintain a sustainable fishery for pelagic fish stocks, both now and in the future. Collaboration with science and research is an important requirement for that ambition. Martin Pastoors is PFA's Chief Science Officer and responsible for the implementation of the PFA research strategy.


Research news


15Oct

PFA contribution to SPRFMO Science Committee


15 October 2016

The Science Committee of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO) met between 10 and 15 October 2016 in The Hague (Netherlands). Martin Pastoors presented the PFA self-sampling programme. In 2015 and 2016 a full self-sampling has been carried out on the PFA vessels that fished in the Pacific. That means that all trips and hauls have been self-monitored. From a large part of the hauls, length samples have been taken and analysed by the crew. From this fishery, very detailed information is available to the stock assessment of Jack mackerel (Trachurus murphii). Although this type of sampling is still quite unique in the Pacific (and in other areas), several countries have expressed interest in developing a similar approach for their fisheries. Read more (pdf).


06Oct

Video on the 6a herring survey available on YouTube


6 October 2016

A video on the 2016 industry herring survey in 6a North has been prepared by Andrew Scott and is now available online at https://youtu.be/HndFpuZJhjI.


03Oct

PFA and SPFA undertake first industry-led herring survey


3 October 2016

A pioneering industry-led survey of a key west of Scotland herring fishery is paving the way for fishermen to provide scientific support to fisheries management. Between August 1st and September 15th, six midwater fishing trawlers have participated in an extensive scientific survey of Scottish west coast herring that is yielding valuable data on the health of the stock. The acoustic and biological data gathered by the vessels will contribute to the scientific international stock assessment process used by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to provide advice on annual quota limits and other management measures.

 

Read more (pdf)

 


27May

PFA goes Korea!


27 May 2016

On behalf of the PFA, Martin Pastoors participated in the 7th World Fisheries Congress, held in Busan, South-Korea from 23-27 May 2016. This is a global fisheries science meeting that is held once every 4 years. But it was the first time that PFA was present in this event. Martin gave a talk on the reasons behind the decline in fishing mortality in European waters. Many topics were covered in the symposium: observer programs, bycatch mitigation, management strategies, genetic research, ecosystem and biodiversity research etc. In general: an important event for PFA to be present and also relevant for explaining the PFA strategy for research and sustainability.


27May

Successful participation in mackerel egg survey


27 May 2016

The PFA and IMARES have successfully complete a part of the tri-annual mackerel and horse mackerel egg survey that is coordinated by ICES. This is an important survey that contributes to the assessment of the mackerel and horse mackerel stocks. Read more


11Mar

Feasibility of electronic monitoring on pelagic freezer-trawlers


11 March 2016

The Redersvereniging voor de Zeevisserij (RVZ) and Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. (Archipelago) have undertaken an exploratory project to assess the feasibility of electronic monitoring (EM) to achieve the monitoring objectives. The project was carried out in the autumn of 2014 and results were further discussed and analysed during 2015. A summary of the main findings can be found here.


10May

PFA participates in International Mackerel and Horse Mackerel Egg survey


10 May 2016

On May 10, 2016 the Atlantic Lady (H180) freezer trawler will sail out of the port of Scheveningen to participate in the tri-annual international mackerel and horse mackerel egg survey. On board will be the crew of the vessel with Dirk Haasnoot as skipper and 5 researchers of IMARES with Cindy van Damme as cruise leader. The PFA is proud to be able to support the international egg survey by providing a vessel and crew and funding for the research. The tri-annual egg survey for mackerel and horse mackerel is an important part of the assessments of those stocks.

 

The contribution of the pelagic industry to the egg survey is the result of a close collaboration between industry and science that was initiated last year with an ad hoc pre-egg survey survey. This year the fishing industries of Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands are each contributing a two week period of survey time and a survey platform. Results of the survey will be collated into the international egg survey report.

 

After leaving port, the Atlantic Lady will sail to the survey grounds in the Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay. According to the survey plan, 89 hauls with the plankton torpedo will be carried out in a fixed grid of stations. After each plankton haul, the number of eggs will be counted and measured. In addition, the vessel will aim to collect samples of adult (female) mackerel and horse mackerel to determine how many eggs can be expected per individuals. The number of eggs in the sea in combination with the number of eggs per female give an indication of the size of the spawning stock of mackerel and horse mackerel.

 

The vessel will be out for just over 2 weeks. It will be expected back in the harbour of Scheveningen on 24 May 2016.


15Feb

Improving the information on the history of scientific advice


15 February 2016

In collaboration with ICES, PFA has recruited an intern who will work on the development and analysis of a database with the history of scientific advice in Europe. Marta Mosquera will work at PFA from 15 February 2016 for 3 months. The objective is to make better use of the advice summary tables in the ICES advisory documents, and thereby provide insights into the links between scientific advice, policy decisions and implementation.


26Jan

Work on optical species recognition has started


26 January 2016

On 26 October 2015, Andries van der Meer, MSc student at Wageningen University, Biosystems Engineers, has started on his MSc thesis on optical species recognition of fish on pelagic freezer-trawlers. Andries will work for 6 months on the topic. We are looking forward to the results he will generate in his thesis. 


16Jul

PFA is looking for a student to work on optical species recognition


16 July 2015

In collaboration with Wageningen UR Food and Biobased Research (FBR), PFA is looking for a student to work on new techniques for species recognition on pelagic freezer-trawlers. We are looking for a technical and innovative person who is familiar with different vision technologies and with the mathematics of converting images into patterns. This is an exciting new field of work where we will be applying lessons from other domains into the fisheries practices. The student position will be for 6 months, starting as soon as possible. To make a head-start possible, we are already collecting data on board of one of the trawlers right now, so that there will be images available to initiate the species recognition. 

Read more

Please contact Martin Pastoors at PFA (mpastoors@pelagicfish.eu) or Rick van de Zedde at FBR (rick.vandezedde@wur.nl) for more information. 

16/7/2015


10Jul

Boarfish avoidance project finalized


10 July 2015

The Boarfish Avoidance project (Dutch: Vermijding van Evervis VvE) has recently been finalized. The project aimed to find methods to avoid bycatch of boarfish in the pelagic trawl fisheries by looking for escape solutions and looking for acoustic recognition techniques. Read more (pdf)

 

The project was funded under the European Fishery Fund: "Investment in Sustainable Fisheries."

 

Resources: 

Fassler, S. M. M., O'Donnell, C., and Jech, J. M. 2013. Boarfish (Capros aper) target strength modelled from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of its swimbladder. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 70: 1451-1459.

 

Pastoors, M. A., Van Helmond, A. T. M., Van Marlen, B., Van Overzee, H. M. J., and de Graaf, E. 2014. Pelagic pilot project discard ban, 2013-2014. Rapport C071.14.

 

Van Marlen, B., Fassler, S. M. M., and Gastauer, S. 2014. Avoiding the by-catch of boarfish in pelagic trawling. C137/14.

 


16Jun

International workshop on the use of acoustic data from Fishing vessels


16 June 2015

On 12 June 2015, PFA organized on behalf of the EU pelagic fishing industry, a workshop on the use of fishing vessel acoustics for research. The workshop was held at Schiphol airport and was well attended by skippers, fleet managers and researchers. With the help of presentations from different parts of the world (New Zealand, Canada, Peru, Europe) we managed to develop a broad picture of the potential use and method for assembling fishing vessel acoustic data for research purposes. The acoustic data from fishing vessels could broadly be used for two different purposes: quantitative data directed at stock estimation and stock assessment, and qualitative data on overall trends and distributions within marine ecosystems. The overall driver could be to collect data where traditional research activities cannot reach (e.g. remote areas, rough weather, many vessels at the same time). More information in the report of the workshop.


18May

Student positions available on different topics


18 May 2015

Fishermen are the eyes and the ears at sea. Being at sea for most of the year, they experience directly what is happening to the ecosystems and the environment. Changes in distributions of species or timing of occurrence, changes in abundance of species, observations of new species in certain area; all aspects that could well be monitored by fishermen out at sea. Making effective use of the presence, the knowledge and the experience of fishermen, has the potential to make significant contributions to our understanding of the oceans and to the management of natural resources.

For many years already, the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) has been an active player on the interface between industry, science and management. PFA members have all contributed to data collection initiated by scientific institutes (observer trips, catch sampling, logbook information). In addition, the PFA has initiated and commissioned several scientific research projects, for example on stock structure of horse mackerel, on the improvement of the knowledge base for horse mackerel, catch sampling in Mauritanian waters etc. And we have also been actively engaged in the translation of science and scientific advice into fisheries management advice through the Advisory Councils.

With the recruitment of Martin Pastoors as Chief Science Officer at PFA, the organization has stepped up in the ambition to effectively use fisheries knowledge for sustainable fisheries management. As part of this ambition, the PFA is currently engaged in several new research projects in collaboration with Wageningen University and applied research institutes like IMARES and Food and Biobased Research (FBR). These projects also offer interesting possibilities for students looking for thesis subjects. The following student topics are currently available:

  • Can fishers make the difference? Distinguishing different types of horse mackerel on the basis of detailed vessel logbook data (Ref 2015/01)
  • Search time of pelagic trawlers as a potential indicator of stock abundance of horse mackerel. (Ref 2015/02)
  • Exploration of use of camera systems and vision algorithms to sort and document fish on-board of pelagic trawlers (Ref 2015/03)
  • Where have all the females gone? Analyses of skewed sex proportions in herring catches in the North Sea (Ref 2015/05)
  • Evaluating the history of the scientific advice for fisheries management in the Northeast Atlantic (Ref 2015/06)

01May

New research projects initiated


1 May 2015

PFA has initiated three new research projects recently, supported by scientific quota. 

1. Pelagic research fleet

Facilitate and improve the shore-version of Elogbook software. Explore the potential of coupling the quality data with the haul data. Explore how catch and by-catch information can be shared within the fleet and can be used for scientific research. 

2. Improving the knowledge base for horse mackerel

Using genetic and chemical sampling and usoing skippers’ catch information to enhance the understanding on the mixing of stocks. Investigating additional indicators of stock abundance based on groundfish surveys and search time in commercial fisheries. 

3. Sonar for species identification

Finalize the proof-of-concept of species classification using a Farsounder forward looking multifrequency sonar


06Sep

Four EFF pilot projects to prepare for the landing obligation in pelagic fisheries


6 September 2014

Under the new Common Fisheries Policy in the EU, a landing obligation will be implemented for the pelagic fishery from 2015 onwards. PFA is actively preparing for this major challenge, by carrying out four pilot projects during 2014 and early 2015. Projects focus on 1) electronic monitoring to document the catches, 2) improving selectivity by net innovation with grids and 3) by testing with broadband acoustics for better species recognition 4) making best-use of unavoidable bycatch. Read more     

  

Electronic monitoring Net innovation Broadband acoustics Best-use of bycatch

  

 

 

 


06Sep

Other ongoing research activities


6 September 2014

  • Improving selectivity for boarfish (2012-2015, EFF project).
  • PelAcoustics II: using acoustic information from commercial vessels for stock assessment

          (2013-2014, EFF project).

  • MYFISH: contributing to an evaluation framework for herring and sprat in the North Sea and IIIa

          (2014-2015, 7th Framework Programme).

  • GAP2: contributing to the development of management plan for IIIa herring

          (2013-2014, 7th Framework Programme).

  • Contributing to scientific monitoring and stock assessment for West-African waters

          and the South Pacific. 


06Sep

Previous research projects


6 September 2014

  • Development of a management plan for North Sea horse mackerel (2013-2014, report)
  • Stock identity of western horse mackerel (2011-2012)
  • Preventing bycatch of megafauna in Mauretania (2007-2009)


More research
27-05-2016 PFA goes Korea!

 
If you want to know more about
the PFA research activities,
please contact Martin Pastoors,
PFA’s Chief Science Officer.
 
Email mpastoors@pelagicfish.eu
Phone +31 631901027
Skype martin.pastoors
LinkedIn