Using expert knowledge to identify possible Essential Fish Habitats


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mbergmann [ at ] awi-bremerhaven.de

Abstract

Despite over a century of exploitation of fish in European waters, scientists know surprisingly little about the precise distribution of the major commercially exploited fish species, and their habitat requirements. This is the first European study that aims to identify essential fish habitats of commercially important fish species (cod, haddock, whiting, plaice, sole, plaice, lemon sole) in the Irish Sea and the English Channel (UK). Areas of the seabed that harbour the highest densities of these species were identified and mapped using an existing database spanning 12 years data from national stock assessments. Demersal fishers observe samples from the sea floor every time they haul their nets, which far exceed the sampling schemes that scientists can afford or mobilise. Experienced fishers may have decades of observations to bring to bear and keep detailed records of exactly where and when they fish and how much they catch. Although the ultimate goal of fishing is to provide income from the catch, rather than to test scientific hypotheses, many fishers seek to understand the very questions about the seabed that motivate our study. Therefore, we decided to liase with the fishing industry to refine our broad scale fish maps for future survey. Information was gathered in a pilot study through questionnaires filled in at a fishing exhibition. Through a process of informal presentations and meetings, fishermen have helped us to refine our studies by pinpointing fishing grounds of importance for the fish species in question. The co-operation with fishers has not only added to the credibility of the study and any management decisions that may depend on its findings, but has also highlighted once more the vast amount of knowledge that can be gained from this declining species.



Item Type
Conference (Poster)
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Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Event Details
Putting fishers' knowledge to work, 27-30th of August, 2001, Vancouver (Canada)..
Eprint ID
10515
Cite as
Bergmann, M. , Hinz, H. , Blyth, R. E. , Kaiser, M. , Rogers, S. and Armstrong, M. J. (2001): Using expert knowledge to identify possible Essential Fish Habitats , Putting fishers' knowledge to work, 27-30th of August, 2001, Vancouver (Canada). .


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