This year’s WGFTFB meeting was sponsored by FAO and organized in collaboration with Shanghai Ocean University (China) and was held from 8 to 12 April 2019. More than 120 fishing technology experts from 23 countries attended the meeting, making this meeting one of the larg-est that WGFTFB has ever held.
This annual meeting included a special ICES-FAO WGFTFB symposium and Topic Group meetings. The Symposium on Responsible Fishing Technology for Healthy Ecosystems and Clean Environment included sixty oral and poster presentations on the interaction of fishing gears with the environment and new technological developments in fisheries. A special session was dedicated to Chinese fisheries, its status, challenges and opportunities. Many issues presented were connected to the management of bycatch and ways to reduce discard through improvement of the selectivity of fishing gear; this continues to be the main research activity of the group. Of particular interest were presentations on measures to reduce abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), which has become a major issue worldwide in recent years. For many at the meeting, an insight into the Chinese fisheries was noteworthy, considering how large the Chinese fisheries are on a global scale.
The three Topic Groups examined issues relating to passive gear, especially as it pertains to bycatch of protected species, the use of artificial lights for bycatch mitigation, and groundgear for bottom trawls, with a particular focus on seabed impact and fuel use. It is clear from those topics that bycatch and impact of fishing gear on the environment has a high level of interest.
There are still many issues facing fishing technologists in areas of fishing impact on the environment and on biodiversity. Modifying fishing gear and/or operational methods that have the least impact on non-target species, especially protected species and their essential habitat requires innovative thinking and research methods in fishing technology. The group members are developing new instruments and analytical methods to enhance our ability to acquire and analyze data to provide better guidance to the industry and management.
The key message of the meeting was an urgent need for solutions to mitigate the impact on the environment and reduce the interaction of the fishery with protected species with better fishing technologies using an increasing understanding of the physics of fishing gears and other potential solutions. Challenges also remain on how the management and fishing industry can take advantage of the findings from this group.
|Publisher||International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)|
|Number of pages||365|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Series||ICES Scientific Report|