Big brother is sampling - rare seabird and mammal bycatch in Baltic Sea passive fisheries – automated data acquisition to inform MSFD indicators

To read the file of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.


The Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) within the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) calls for a more holistic view of the exploited marine ecosystem. To inform this approach, data collection from the marine environment beyond fisheries’ target species and specifically data on the impact of human activities has to be extended. Sampling of extremely rare events which have however a potential high risk for the ecosystem is very difficult. To detect unintentional bycatch of harbor porpoise and seabirds in a passive fishery in the western Baltic, a Remote Electronic Monitoring-System (REM-System) was installed on three small (12-15 m) gillnet vessels, and activity and bycatches were monitored over two years. The results reveal a strong right-skewed distribution of bycatch events and shows that sampling by means of observers is inefficient for such a distribution. The handling of the obtained large data sets is discussed, as is the utility of such a data set for the implementation of the MSFD and the effect this will have on current sampling approaches.

No file available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the file of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Such monitoring is needed worldwide due to growing concerns regarding the population status of marine mammal species. In Europe, 4 trials (studies #2, #5, #22 and #23, Table 3) have been conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using EM to observe incidental by-catch of marine mammals or seabirds in gill net fisheries (Kindt-Larsen et al., 2012;Oesterwind & Zimmermann, 2013;Scheidat, Couperus, & Siemensma, 2018;Tilander & Lunneryd, 2009). Commercial gill-netters (10-15 m in length) were equipped with EM systems. ...
Full-text available
Since the beginning of the 21st century, electronic monitoring (EM) has emerged as a cost‐efficient supplement to existing catch monitoring programmes in fisheries. An EM system consists of various activity sensors and cameras positioned on vessels to remotely record fishing activity and catches. The first objective of this review was to describe the state of play of EM in fisheries worldwide and to present the insights gained on this technology based on 100 EM trials and 12 fully implemented programmes. Despite its advantages, and its global use for monitoring, progresses in implementation in some important fishing regions are slow. Within this context, the second objective was to discuss more specifically the European experiences gained through 16 trials. Findings show that the three major benefits of EM were as follows: (a) cost‐efficiency, (b) the potential to provide more representative coverage of the fleet than any observer programme and (c) the enhanced registration of fishing activity and location. Electronic monitoring can incentivize better compliance and discard reduction, but the fishing managers and industry are often reluctant to its uptake. Improved understanding of the fisher's concerns, for example intrusion of privacy, liability and costs, and better exploration of EM benefits, for example increased traceability, sustainability claims and market access, may enhance implementation on a larger scale. In conclusion, EM as a monitoring tool embodies various solid strengths that are not diminished by its weaknesses. Electronic monitoring has the opportunity to be a powerful tool in the future monitoring of fisheries, particularly when integrated within existing monitoring programmes.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.