External Organisations

  • Danish Fishermen's Association, Denmark

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The purpose of this project was formulated in 2008 to establish knowledge on the geographical distribution of target species in Skagerrak, which enables the fishermen to plan and execute sustainable fisheries on these species with a minimum of discard and unwanted by-catch of cod, and without drastically reductions or unjustified closure of areas.

OSKAR was a collaborative fishermen-scientist project building on the experience from the REX-project conducting small-scale scientific surveys with commercial ships.

To separate control issues of the mixed fishery of Skagerrak from the issues of using fishermen’s and scientists’ combined knowledge and experience to produce more selective fisheries, some of the key questions addressed were:
- Is it feasible to predict the size distribution of cod on a small spatial scale (single trawl haul) from surveys?
- How important are the seasonal changes for the spatial distribution of cod in Skagerrak?
- Can fishermen’s anecdotic knowledge on the distribution of cod be used?
- Which role does mechanistic process knowledge play in determining critical spatial dynamics of cod?
- Taking also gear technology into account then how can we best produce e.g. a useful cod avoidance tool?

A new advanced geostatistical tool GeoPop was introduced in order to use all available survey data in the maximum likelihood estimation of temporal and spatial dynamics of the size distribution of the stock. Real time closures, future disallowance of discards etc. put the perspective of OSKAR into focus.

The development of GeoPop in this fishermen-scientist project has proven valuable (see Jansen et al 2016, Fish. Res. 179: 156-167 and refs herein). The method was published in 2013 (Kristensen et al 2013, Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 99: 1-19). Particular attention in GeoPop is paid to correlation between size classes within each trawl haul due to clustering of individuals with similar size. Extracting this nugget effect produces clearer population signals and allows e.g. following cohorts in space and time and determining stock structures. Although GeoPop today is fully TMB operated it is the present computer capacity which sets the limits to exploring e.g. the impacts of spatial heterogeneity on fishery stock assessment.

The project was coordinated by DTU Aqua.


  • Research areas: Marine Living Resources & Marine Populations and Ecosystem Dynamics & Fisheries Technology & Fisheries Management
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ID: 2287065