ICES Working Group on Electrical Trawling (WGELECTRA) has published its first Interim Report. The report sums up the main findings from a meeting that the working group hosted in Belgium last October. The objectives of the meeting were as follows:
- To review knowledge of the effects of electrical fishing on the marine environment
- evaluate the effect of a wide introduction of electric fishing
- conduct a pilot study on control and enforcement procedures for flatfish pulse trawling
- evaluate the impacts of restrictions on pulse characteristics for shrimp pulse trawling and groundrope configurations
- and to make an inventory of views on pulse fishing among various stake-holders in European member states.
The major findings were as follows. The pulse stimulation tested in a uniform field did not result in an increased mortality or macroscopic lesions in sole, cod, brown shrimp and ragworm. No mortality or ёspinal injury, but minor haemorrhages and point bleedings were found in plaice, sole, cod, armed bullhead, and bull-rout. Some effect was found on egg stages of sole, but no real effect on larval stages. Lesions were found in dab under pulse stimulation, but no clear differences between treated fish and reference fish could be distinguished. The results of tank tests on cod under pulse stimulation varied considerably, which was attributed to differences in rearing of the fish. A catch comparison between a new shrimp pulse trawl (12 electrodes and 11 bobbins) and a conventional shrimp trawl (36 bobbins) showed that shrimp landings remained the same, with less undersized shrimp and much less bycatch. Electrofishing on razor clam in Scottish waters has minimal effect on the seabed compared with conventional dredge and trawl fisheries; immediate effects on non-target species are non-lethal and effects on invertebrate behaviour are short term, but restrictions on fishing effort may be needed in view of high efficiency of electrofishing. A yearlong study in Germany showed that bycatch of non-target species can be reduced by electrical stimulation in shrimp trawling. The specifications of the groundrope arrangement (number and size of bobbins) need careful consideration too. New developments might be a twin-rig using pulse stimulation for catching plaice and sole, and the use of electrical stimulation at the position of escape windows. The group recommends meeting again next year to discuss the ToRs.
For the full report click on the following link ICES Working group on Electrical trawling (WGELECTRA)
Bottom trawlers are increasingly using mid-water trawl doors so that they can position the doors just above the sea bed. This allows them to save fuel and reduce bottom effects. On the home page of Greenline fishing gear a/s is an informative move of how this works in practice. See here
The European Commission’s web-side on energy efficiency in fisheries
The European commission is a part of an initiative to collect information, fund research and contribute to increased energy efficiency in fisheries. Various interesting information is available on the web-page.
Fishing is one of the most energy-intensive food production methods in the world, depending almost entirely on fossil fuels. In 2000, the world’s fishing fleets were responsible for about 1.2% of total global fuel consumption, corresponding to 0.67 litres of fuel per Kg of live fish and shellfish landed. In 2008, the EU fleet consumed 3.7 billion litres of fuel, representing 25% of the value of landings.
In the past decade, fuel prices have increased by an average of 80% while fisheries production declined by 17% between 1995 and 2002 in the EU-25. Mostly because fishing capacity is greater than the available fish stocks, many fishing fleets in the EU have been facing economic problems. With added concerns about oil prices since 2005, energy efficiency is key to profitability and has become both a political and a scientific issue.
Improving energy efficiency is decisive for competitiveness, security of supply and for meeting the commitments on climate change made under the Kyoto Protocol. At the end of 2006, the EU pledged to cut its annual consumption of primary energy by 20% by 2020. On 22 June 2011, a new set of measures for increased Energy Efficiency was proposed by the European Commission to fill the gap and put back the EU on track.
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