Thematic Newsletter 'ILVO at Sea' - April 2014

In this thematic Newswave, you can dip your toe into the ILVO-Fisheries research. Read here about by-catch, fish stocks, electric fisheries, sandy shores, spatial planning out at sea, and an American jellyfish making itself at home in the North Sea.


DISCARDMapping by-catch.
Developing and publicising a by-catch atlas for the Belgian fisheries industry.

Under the current policy climate, by-catch in sea fisheries is steered mostly by economic and/or legal reasons. In practice, throwing marine organisms back into the sea (be they commercial or non-commercial), has a notable impact on the productive biomass of the marine ecosystem.

IRISDo the Irish have sole?
Action Plan for the North Sea.

It appears that the sole stock in the Irish Sea is in bad shape. But the scientific advice on the matter does not match the perception of the Belgian fishers. The IRIS project, which sets up self-sampling in the Irish Sea, can help get to the heart of the matter.

CELSEAModel management
Scientific support for developing a management plan for the Celtic Sea.

ILVO is helping to develop a policy-supportive instrument that managers can use as a guide when choosing a strategy for fisheries in the Celtic Sea.

ZORASLess “aqua” in aquaculture.
ZORAS: a zero-output recirculation system for aquaculture.

The ZORAS project strives to create a recirculation system with a minimum of water refreshment and drainage of waste.

TECHVISSupport of the fishing industry
The TECHVIS project.

Our fishing industry is in turbulent waters. Rising costs and low fish prices are a constant challenge. The industry is also confronted with a new fisheries policy, including the dreaded landing obligation and possibly an alternative quota system. Protected areas at sea, wind farms and other uses of the sea lead to loss of fishing grounds. In addition, traceability and sustainability increase the demands on our fishermen.

SPEKVIS Search for alternative materials for strings which protect towed fishing nets against abrasion.
The project SPEKVIS seeks alternative materials for strings that protect towed fishing nets against abrasion. In Dutch (Flemish) these strings are called ‘spekking’. During towing these strings are frayed and fragmented and eventually a large number of these strings, which consists of the synthetic material polyethylene, are lost to the sea. During this project we work together with the textile sector, which already has considerable expertise in the field of alternative materials.

pulsvisserijElectrotrawls are the most promising alternative for the conventional beam trawls that use tickler chains.
But what is the effect of electrical pulses on marine organisms?

Electrotrawls have multiple advantages compared to the conventional beam trawls: lower seafloor impact, strongly reduced by-catch and 50% lower fuel consumption. However, little is known about the possible side effects of such pulses. ILVO and Ghent University evaluate the effects.

VALDUVISHow “green” is the fish on your plate?
VALDUVIS scores the sustainability of Belgian-landed fish.

The Belgian fisheries sector is committed to sustainability: experiments with alternative gear, respect of fishing quota, etc. But how sustainable is our fleet actually? And to what extent is the sustainability improved in the recent years through these various efforts? ILVO researchers are currently developing a scoring system to answer these questions. The system will address both ecological and socio-economic dimensions of sustainability.

GenesysAll aboard:
A valuable use for discards

The discard ban is a big challenge for the fishing industry because they will have to land undersized species as part of their quota. The processing possibilities of this low value fraction are legally limited. ILVO is researching ways to valorise these undersized fish so they don’t go to waste and can even be an income stream for the fishermen.

4shoreSand in the surf:
An ecological study on foreshore suppletion at the coast of Flanders

What ecological effects can a foreshore suppletion (creating an underwater sand buffer) have on the marine ecosystem in the Flemish shallow surf zone (1-2 m depth)?

Mnemiopsis leidyiThe odd one out:
What is the American comb jelly doing in the North Sea?

What is the American comb jelly doing in the North Sea? Three years of intensive research was devoted to answering this question during the MEMO project, “Mnemiopsis ecology and modelling: Observation of an invasive comb jelly in the North Sea”. MEMO, funded by the INTERREG IVa 2 Seas Programme, was a collaboration between ILVO, IFREMER (Institut Français de Recherche pour l' exploitation de la mer), ULCO-LOG (Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale), the British Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Dutch ‘Stichting Deltares’.

MESMA Ghent workshopSpatial planning at sea:
A balance between ecological and (socio)economic incentives and benefits

What are the differences in marine spatial planning among European countries? Are the management plans adapted or fit for all users of the sea? As part of the European MESMA project, we performed a thorough analysis of the current spatial (sectoral) plans in 14 case studies representing the different European marine regions.

ECsafe Seafood Is it still safe to eat seafood?
Seafood is one of the most important food commodities consumed worldwide. It has been recognized as a high-quality, healthy and safe food. However, seafood, like other types of food, can also be a source of harmful environmental contaminants like PCBs, dioxins, residues of pesticides, new emerging contaminants, etc.

4Demon aan boord van de BelgicaFour Decades of Belgian Marine Monitoring: 4Demon
Within the 4Demon project, ILVO collects and integrates historical data on PCBs and trace metals in the marine environment (sediment as well as biota). These data will be submitted to thorough quality control. Then they are intercalibrated and a time series that spans more than 40 years, will be developed for the Belgian Continental Shelf.

plastic in zeeBacteria and their new home:
marine plastic

Worldwide, the annual production of plastic is around 280 million tonnes. Ten percent of this plastic will end up in the sea. This plastic litter is a threat for our marine ecosystem. There is already evidence that pieces of plastic are being eaten by marine mammals, seabirds, fish, bivalves, crabs, worms and lobsters.

ecosysteemeffectenAfter CFP reform: ILVO sets out to assess changes in the ecosystem effects of fishing?
The ‘Benthis’ project studies the impact of fishing on benthic ecosystems and will provide the scientific basis to assess the impact of current fishing practices. A partial ban on discards hampers the readily available food for seabirds and the benthic ecosystem. Several national projects have initiated investigation of the ecosystem consequences. These questions are being investigated within an European context in the Benthis project.