Fisheries in transition

Fisheries in transition

These are turbulent times for fisheries. A combination of rapid developments is putting the sector under great pressure. For example, fewer fishing grounds are available due to the arrival of wind farms at sea and Natura 2000 areas that are not fishable. Brexit, the landing obligation and the ban on pulse fishing also have a major impact on fishers. In addition, public attention for fish welfare is growing and climate change has serious consequences for fish and fisheries. A transition is needed to maintain a long-term perspective. The Dutch government wants fisheries to become more sustainable, with less seabed disturbance, less fuel consumption and less unwanted bycatch. Together with fishers, researchers from Wageningen are investigating how this can be achieved.

We support you in finding answers


Wageningen Marine Research contributes through independent scientific research to a healthy future for fisheries, biodiversity and ecosystems. For example, we are researching the challenges for fishers and how innovation can contribute to profitable fishing methods that have less impact on the climate and the environment. We also research the impact of wind farms on fish and fisheries, and work with the sector on new forms of fishing in wind farms.

We have a statutory duty to contribute to sound fisheries management in Dutch and international waters by estimating fish stocks. Various scientific innovations help improve knowledge of fish stocks, such as electronic monitoring, DNA techniques, sensors and acoustic research.

The speed at which developments are hitting the fishing industry is unprecedented
Nathalie Steins, project manager Wageningen Marine Research

Cooperation between government, fishing industry and science

The speed with which developments are affecting fishers means that existing management frameworks and scientific models need to be reassessed. In our view, close cooperation between the government, the fishing industry and science is necessary for a sustainable and profitable future for North Sea fisheries.