How many red mullets, squids and gurnards are there in the North Sea? No one really knows! Flyshoot fish is actually rarely consumed within the Netherlands, therefore we only calculate the population sizes of the popular species like cod, sole and plaice.
Nevertheles, information about red mullet, squid and gurnards is essential. After all, they are exported to many countries, like Italy, for instance. Due to a lack of data, there are no fishing quotas for these species and we cannot determine the fishing pressure on them. To ensure we keep these species in abundance in the oceanic waters, we started this project.
Together with research institute Wageningen Marine Research (WMR) and fishing company Cornelis Vrolijk/Jaczon, we are collecting data on the stock sizes of red mullet, gurnards and squid. These species are ‘data-limited’. This means they have received very little attention by marine biologists and thus little is known about their exact stock status. This project is unique, because it is the first time these three parties cooperate to collect data. This project will allows Good Fish to provide better advice on our seafood guide for mixed fisheries (fisheries that target multiple species) and enable fishermen to continue to fish commercially for these species. This project was made possible by grants from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
There are three objectives within this project, namely:
1) Develop a protocol that is suitable for flyshoot vessels via self-sampling.
2) Improve available scientific knowledge for flyshoot fisheries on important target species.
3) Increase general awareness of flyshoot fishing among chefs and fish retailers.
Wageningen Marine Research is developing a self sampling protocol suitable for flyshooters that involves the presence of observers on board of the ships, with the assistance from Cornelis Vrolijk/Jaczon. This protocol takes into account the limited time between harvesting the fish and sampling the catches. The self-sampling protocol will be tested on three Jaczon’s flyshoot vessels.
Fish species such as red mullet, gurnard or squid are currently not eligible for a green score on the Fish Guide because there is too little scientific information available for these species. Without this data, it is impossible to estimate whether the species are being managed sustainably.
We are currently past the first phase of this project. We have determined what data we will collect and how this will be done. A series of self-sampling trips where the fishermen themselves record catch data will be organized. There will also be independent observers on board to monitor catches. Right now, the first observer has already been aboard the vessels. The next step will be collecting the data and processing it into an independent advice for this type of mixed fishery in the Fish Guide. Our advice will still be based on the 3 criteria of the Fish Guide: stock status, ecosystem effects and management effectiveness. We will report on follow-up steps on this page.