ICES Annual Science Conference 2018

Theme session P

Electronic monitoring and movement analysis in fisheries; applications of emerging science
Wednesday, 26 September
Lecture Hall C


Electronic technologies now enable us to track and monitor predators of different types, including individual animals (mammals, birds, fish) and fishing vessels.  This enables scientists to better understand animal and fleet behaviour and build more realistic models.  It also enables managers to better understand spatial, temporal and operational aspects of fisheries at the individual vessel level, and potentially to improve quota management and accountability through accurate tracking of retained and discarded catches. This session aims to further the scientific applications of such technologies through consideration of how to maximise and best utilise the information which can be gleaned from them.

For vessels, technology-based at-sea monitoring has evolved over the past twenty years. It comprises a diverse set of tools, at various states of maturity, with, for instance, Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) and electronic logbooks widely installed on larger fishing vessels, and the increasing application of closed-circuit television (CCTV; also called EM in the US) aboard vessels of all sizes and which has the potential to address scientific and management information needs. 

For animals, increased miniaturisation, as well as improvements in data storage and energy consumption have allowed development of sophisticated tags capable of recording multiple parameters over long periods of time for many types of organisms (fish, mammals, bird, cephalopods, etc). 

The need for spatial information in fisheries science has stimulated the use of positional data to produce fishing effort maps by filtering VMS points directly by vessels’ speeds or through more sophisticated models. Knowledge beyond the presence or absence of fishing can be derived from the analysis of tracking data and enriched the understanding of fisheries dynamics and fisheries management. Modelling the behaviour of individual vessels elucidates the different strategies adopted by fishers. 

Movement analysis allows investigation of individual and collective dynamics and may also reveal processes driving the movement of predators, including fishing vessels. Trajectory analysis brings novel mathematical concepts to the study of fisheries ecology and fishing fleet dynamics. Several mathematical formulations of trajectory analysis, and many models to capture associated movement dynamics, are available. However, the nature of tracking data and movement often make the application of existing operational methods difficult. Similar models and algorithms are now being applied to video captured aboard vessels to identify bycatch, fishing events, and quantify discards. Could these data could be used to provide currently lacking model validation at the individual vessel level?

The objectives of the theme session are thus to promote and share the ongoing progresses made on technology-based at-sea fishery monitoring, and on the analysis of movement in fisheries science and fleet dynamics, and to explore opportunities for further integration of data collection, and analytical approaches and innovation.

Contributions regarding the following, and related topics and are welcome in this session:

Evaluation of the accuracy and precision of data gathered through electronic monitoring technologies for estimation of resource utilisation, catch and bycatch and spatial qualities.

Understanding and quantification of interactions between vessels and adjustment of fishing effort estimation. Can we anticipate fishers' reaction to alternative management measures?

How can we encourage research on and development of electronic monitoring technology and its applications to improve data quality, drive innovation and cross-sectorial collaboration, and promote best practices?

How can spatial information be integrated into the management/advisory process and marine spatial planning?

Can data collection tags attached to predators be used to assess the distribution and abundance of their prey?

Development of analytical tools, models and technologies – implications and needs for future research, development, and advisory structures

How effective are current technologies and analytical approaches in meeting management/advisory information needs?  Are these approaches also effective in meeting industry operational requirements? What improvements are needed?

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Neil Campbell (Scotland)
Nicolas Bez​​​ (France)
Chris McGuire (USA)​

Associate Conveners: 
Tommaso Russo (Italy)
Clara Ulrich (Denmark)
Bill Karp (USA)
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Theme session P

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