Electronic Monitoring in Fisheries

Over the last two decades, Electronic Monitoring (EM) has emerged as an additional approach for documenting catches in fisheries. EM, or also commonly referred to as REM (Remote Electronic Monitoring), makes use of video technology to record catches on board fishing vessels.

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How does electronic monitoring work?

EM systems typically consist of GPS, cameras (CCTV), and sensors for measuring force on the tow cables and net drum rotation, all connected to a control box (onboard computer). The data recorded can be reviewed at a later stage to obtain catch information; for example species composition, numbers, volume and lengths.

Benefits of this monitoring method

EM operates autonomously, allows for a 100% coverage of a vessel’s fishing activity and makes it possible to document the complete catch. This creates advantages over the more traditional human observer programmes. EM offers much broader (and more representative) coverage of a fishing fleet than a traditional observer program will ever achieve. In addition, the registration of fishing activity and position is much more detailed, while reducing the amount of work and administrative burden for fishermen.

Purpose of our research

The main goal of this research project is to investigate reliability and accuracy of EM in monitoring catches in the Dutch fisheries, targeting multiple species and using various types of bottom trawl gear.

  • Is it possible, on the basis of EM, to set up an accurate and reliable registration system for various types of fishery?
  • Is it possible to automate catch registration using computer vision technology?
  • Could EM enhance data collection programmes and improve scientific stock assessments of data-limited stocks?

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