Extensive Discarding Observed With Use of Drones

The Directorate of Fisheries (Fiskistofa) uses drones to monitor fishing …

The Directorate of Fisheries (Fiskistofa) uses drones to monitor fishing boats. mbl.is/Árni Sæberg

Vala Hafstað

Major discarding of fish was observed when drones from the Directorate of Fisheries (Fiskistofa) flew over fishing boats engaged in fishing female lumpfish March 23-29, Morgunblaðið reports. All the boats monitored were caught discarding, according to Elín B. Ragnarsdóttir, division manager at Fiskistofa. She states that data obtained are still being analyzed, but clearly, “this involves extensive discards, where large spawning cod has been discarded.”

She adds that many of those who were caught discarding will be reported to the police, and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries has been briefed on the situation.

Drone monitoring of boats fishing female lump fish was resumed yesterday.

Female lump fish.

Female lump fish. mbl.is/Ófeigur Lýðsson

March 23-29, 26 boats had begun fishing female lump fish, and drones flew over seven of them, sometimes more than once a day. Discards were observed in all flights. Between 30 and 90 percent of all cod that had been caught in the net of each boat was discarded, much of which was spawning cod.

The total catch of female lumpfish this fishing season, according to advice from the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, amounted to 6,972 tons. When issuing the advice, the Institute stressed that the registration of bycatch would have to be improved, as well as monitoring of discards.

Elín points out than the rate of bycatch during fishing tours with an inspector from Fiskistofa present is 300 percent higher than during other tours in the same fishing grounds. That, she states, is a clear indication that much is amiss in the reporting of bycatch.




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