WKNAMMM, comprising a host of representatives from coastal state fishing industries across the EU and in Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Russian Federation as well as specialists on science-industry partnerships, survey techniques, and stock assessment and advice, met at ICES Secretariat in Copenhagen on 25 February to begin working through its terms of reference.
Included in the tasks were the identification of existing Northeast Atlantic mackerel data collection methods, the obstacles in terms of assessment and advice for the species and how they can be overcome, and process requirements for science-industry partnerships. Indeed, the overall contribution of science-industry partnerships was an overarching topic for the group.
Certain group members then headed for DTU Aqua in the northern Jutland town of Hirtshals from February 26-28 for a hands-on, three-day programme of practical experiments interspersed with discussions. As well as a trawl calibration study between vessels and a look at the implementations of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), WKNAMMM members carried out flume tanks test for trialling different rigging options such as set back in metres in the trawl, trawl door depths, and type and placement of floats.
The workshop was chaired by Martin Pastoors of the Netherlands and Leif Nøttestad of Norway. "The members believed that the flume tank experiments have been an eye-opener with regards to performing pelagic trawling," said Nøttestad. "We were all well educated in the values of performing such experiments for science purposes and documentation as well as in the great value to commercial pelagic fishing operations."
Based on what it saw and studied in Hirtshals, WKNAMMM
made firm decisions on the most optimal rigging design, which all member
countries will apply ahead of the upcoming mackerel/ecosystem survey in the
Northeast Atlantic during July and August this year.
WKNAMMM's report is due later this year.
Phillip Copland and Karl-Johan Kjær study the performance of the Multpelt 3832 pelagic trawl for mackerel; © Leif Nøttestad, Institute of Marine Research,