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Photo: Satlink

A study shows notable differences in fishing catches recorded with electronic observation compared to manual methods

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

Electronic observation systems on board fishing vessels (also known as Electronic Monitoring or EM) are the most accurate and reliable source of data for the development of selective fishing practices and for the control of compliance with regulations. management measures for their ability to be verified. This is the main conclusion of a study 1, coordinated by the environmental organization The Nature Conservancy, which shows the notable differences between the records of catches and by-species obtained with EM systems compared to those recorded in traditional logbooks.

The investigation has been carried out in 15 vessels dedicated to longline tropical tuna fishing in the Western Pacific and equipped with the Spanish engineering Satlink electronic observation system, called SeaTube. Specifically, the researchers have analyzed the data collected by this solution in a total of 98 trips in the EEZs (Exclusive Economic Zones) of Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

According to the study, the greatest difference between both recording systems occurred in the case of yellowfin (Yellowfin or Thunnus albacares) caught in Palau waters, whose estimate of catches calculated from the EM is up to 1.3 (30%) times higher than those recorded in the logbooks. Similarly, also in Palau, estimates of shark bycatch calculated from EM were almost eight times higher than those obtained from logbooks.

In addition, according to the study, the EM system identifies a greater variety of species in each set, specifically, between eight and ten, compared to those shown by the logbooks, approximately between five and eight.

In this sense, the authors point out that the generalization of the use of these systems by governments and Regional Fisheries Organizations (RFOs) would improve the precision of catch reports and would make it possible to have more reliable data for scientific evaluations on fish stocks. to base more precise measures of sustainable management of resources.

Image: Satlink

The authors also emphasize the value of these systems to improve the management of fisheries that, like the Pacific longline, have a low coverage of human observers, with a minimum rate of 5% recommended by the Commission of Western and Central Pacific Fisheries (WCPFC) and the possibility of increasing said index to the 20% proposed by scientific organizations.

Spanish technology


The Satlink solution installed on the 15 ships analyzed consists of three to four high-resolution digital video cameras that record the activity on board without interruption. In addition, the ships have a geolocation antenna that provides the watermark of the date, time and location on each video.

Image: Satlink

Recorded data has been verified by local analysts certified by the Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observer Program and trained by Digital Observer Service (DOS) personnel. This company, which is part of the Satlink group, specializes in analyzing the video information collected by the SeaTube system and in generating precise scientific reports on the composition of the catch, the size, the incidental catch and confirming the fishing areas. In fact, since 2014, he has trained more than 150 professionals around the world in MS data analysis.

It should be noted that Satlink is one of the world leaders in this type of EM systems, with more than 250 facilities for the supervision and management of the fishing activity of various fisheries in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, in collaboration with governments, NGOs and assembly companies. In the case of the Pacific Ocean, the Spanish company leads this market with more than 110 vessels from fleets from nine countries monitored.

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