Scientific advice concerning the impact of the gears used to catch plaice and sole (GUPS) (38115)

  • Madsen, Niels (Project Manager)

Project Details


The aim of the project was to:
- Collect information on the fishing fleets that target plaice and sole in the North Sea
- collect information on the main fish stocks and ecosystems impacted by these fleets
- Evaluate the performance of these fleets in terms of economic, ecological and social sustainability
- List the problem fisheries-list alternatives that reduce adverse impacts
- Estimate the improvement in economic, ecological and social terms caused by adopting these alternatives.

The work program was structured into four tasks:

In Task 1, basic data were collected on fleets and effort, fish stocks, discards and selectivity. The scientific and grey literature, project reports and existing databases was consulted to collect the basic information. This information was aggregated along a common methodology. Sub-fleets or métiers were defined and an evaluation was made of the performance of the different fleets in economic, ecological and social terms.

In Task 2, the critical effects on the marine environment was identified for the different fisheries evaluated in Task 1. Based on comparative indicator tables, the problem areas were listed in order to best focus the review and selection of alternative gears and vessels.

In Task 3 a review was made of possible ways to reduce the adverse effects by fisheries selected in Task 2. These were technical alterations to existing gears, alternative fishing methods for vessels designed for a specific method or fishing methods not yet applied on a large scale in the North Sea.

In Task 4, predictions were made on the effects of a possible modification of existing sole and plaice fisheries in the North Sea based on the following criteria:
- possible reduction in discards through an improved selectivity-benefits for the spawning stock biomass and the landings.
- reduction in the environmental impact of the fishing activity.
- improvement of the socio-economic performance of fishing fleets.

Based on the results obtained in Task 4, conclusions and recommendations were formulated on the feasibility and effectiveness of the alternatives for existing fisheries targeting sole and plaice in the North Sea.

The project was coordinated by Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Belgium.

Research area: Fisheries Technology
Effective start/end date01/01/200731/12/2009