First H2020 calls published today

The first calls for project proposals in Horizon 2020 have just been officially published. Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. One of the calls are particularly of interest for the Fishing gear consortium i.e. SFS-9-2014: Towards a gradual elimination of discards in European fisheries. The full SFS 9 call text can be viewed here.



Fishing from space!

Can satellite data be used to locate the best fishing grounds? This is the topic of Kristín Ágústsdóttir’s thesis from Lund University. It is safe to say that if this is the case then we can use this technology to make fisheries more effective, cut costs, improve quality and reduce environmental impact due to fuel use and bottom effects. Following is an abstract from Kristín’s thesis:

As concentrations of measured CO2 in the atmosphere reach a record high it is important to attempt all possible efforts to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in all aspects of industry. The fishing sector contributes 15% of total GHG emission in Iceland, with the majority originating from fishing vessels using fossil fuel. The relationship between catching locations of Atlantic Mackerel in Icelandic waters and satellite remote sensing variables was explored. The aim was to provide information for possible fisheries forecasting, which could facilitate reduced energy consumption in Icelandic fishing vessels. The hypothesis was that satellite variables were a valuable source of information for determining viable fishing grounds in Icelandic waters.
The variables explored were sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll (CHL), photosyn-thetically available radiation (PAR), water leaving radiance (L443) and down welling diffusion attenuation coefficient (kd490). The spatial resolution was about 4.6 km and temporal resolution 1 day. Effects of decreased spatial and temporal resolution were also explored.
Binomial generalized additive models were created to identify the possible relationship with fishing locations represented as absence or presence of mackerel catches. Seven day PAR was the strongest single variable, explaining 47% of deviance, with the spatial variables latitude and longitude incorporated. The most successful multiple variable models included one or seven day averages of PAR and SST and seven day averages of L443, explaining 48% of deviance. Decreasing temporal resolution to 7 days improves the predictive ability of all variables. Decreasing spatial resolution to 3*3 cells does not decrease or increase the predictability to any extent.
In order to estimate the usefulness of global data sets in local situations, a correlation of observed and remotely sensed CHL in Icelandic waters was estimated. Results on a minor sample size revealed a strong significant correlation, suggesting that global datasets were useful in local situations around Iceland.
The satellite variables explored significantly contribute to a model explaining the absence and presences locations for mackerel fishing in Icelandic waters. Mackerel catches were most successful in a temperature range of 7.5°-13°C where there were high amounts of incoming visible solar radiation and intermediate concentration of phytoplankton. Clear waters due to little absorption as well as turbulent water with high scattering also had effects. This suggested that mackerel caught in Icelandic waters was more dependent on visual foraging than previously considered. Source: