Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Data (WGSFD)
The Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Data (WGSFD) focuses on collating and analysing spatial fisheries data in order to evaluate fishing effort, intensity, and frequency in European waters.
ICES had issued a data call for aggregated VMS and logbook data for the years 2009–2018. In preparation to the meeting, the ICES secretariat in collaboration with WGSFD had prepared a Quality-Control document that processed submitted Member State data and generated indica-tors that were carefully scrutinized by the WGSFD chairs for quality. In case concern was raised, data submitters were consulted and asked to revise and resubmit data if necessary. Prior to the meeting a subgroup of WGSFD met via WebEx to review and quality check the aggregated data products. This revealed a small number of submissions had not been prepared in a manner consistent with the others. Subsequently, relevant data submitters were contacted and asked to re-vise and resubmit data. This substantially improved our understanding potentially outlying data and the data quality as a whole.
The group was updated on a number of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), Automatic Identifica-tion System (AIS) and Logbook related projects which are ongoing at national labs, including presentations on the use of VMS to assist with spatial planning of measures to protect Natura 2000 sites, the changes evident in VMS data as a response to voluntary discard reduction programme, and spatial data from an experimental razor clam fishery.
Members of WGSFD analysed produced maps of fishing activity in NEAFC areas using the VMS and logbook information collected by NEAFC. A product was once again delivered to the ICES Working Group on Deep-water Ecology (WGDEC), which was used in the assessment of fishing impact on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems.
WGSFD also addressed Terms of Reference on the potential use of AIS to deliver information on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) indicator D6C2 and explored means to collect the data required to parameterise the use of VMS as an indicator of effort in static gear fisheries, discussed the implications of moving to a finer spatial resolution in the data call, provided strategic guidance to the Workshop on scoping benthic pressure layers D6C2 – methods to operational data products (WKBEDPRES) on the use of AIS data.
WGSFD retains its ambition to publish peer-reviewed research. One term of reference dealing with quantification and spatiotemporal variability of fishing fleets is making good progress to-wards this aim. A second paper on best practices for analysis of VMS data, which was started under the previous terms of reference, was paused whilst details surrounding protection of fishers’ anonymity were resolved. This issue was addressed by WGSFD at this meeting, and work is continuing to define best practice.
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