Kai Wätjen is the fisheries scientist leading on the German GAP2 case study, aiming to help local fishermen and scientists work together to jointly managed a sustainable brown shrimp fishery in the Wadden Sea. Kai updates us on progress 24 months in.
“We have 3.5 vessels involved in our case study. Good communication and close working relationships have contributed to sampling continuing this year.
We’re currently sampling marine litter, i.e. microplastics found within the shrimps. The fishermen agreed to do this even though they knew that any findings may reflect negatively on them. Their attitude was that “the work must be done, so why not us?”
I have been looking at acquiring an electronic logbook system to be used on two of the vessels. This is a good way to engage fishermen in the sampling and they can gain value from it as they prepare for the monitoring of the forthcoming discard ban.
Regular feedback is given to the fishermen, as findings from the data are discussed on the phone and on trips. We are also looking at whether the conductivity, temperature and depth of the water (CTD data) relates to shrimp catches.”
“The fishers avoid by-catch by fishing with sieve nets to conform with needs for MSC certification. But for scientific purposes, we would like to know what by-catch would be without the use of sieve nets. Therefore, we need to conduct a comparison test with a normal shrimp net, which would require 5 days of the fishers time, and compensation for them accordingly. We are investigating this further.”