Catch sampling of the pelagic freezer trawler fishery operating in European waters in 2017-2018: joint report of the Dutch and German national sampling programmes

H.M.J. Overzee, J. Ulleweit, A.T.M. van Helmond, T. Bangma

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


The pelagic freezer trawler fishery targets small pelagic species. The economically most important species are: herring (Clupea harengus), blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou), horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus), mackerel (Scomber scombrus), greater argentine (Argentina silus) and pilchard (Sardina pilchardus). The annual landings of this fishery follow seasonal patterns; different species are targeted during different parts of the year. The total landings of these target species by the Dutch fleet operating in European waters of were about 245,000 tonnes in 2017 and about 303,000 tonnes in 2018. The total landings of these target species by the German fleet operating in European waters were about 124,000 tonnes in 2017 and about 129,000 tonnes in 2018. Herring, blue whiting, mackerel and horse mackerel were the most abundant landed species. In the European Union the collection and management of fisheries data is regulated through the Data Collection Framework (DCF) of the European Commission (EC). Within this context, from 2002 onwards catches of the European freezer trawler fleet are sampled by the Netherlands and Germany through two separate observer programmes. A process to harmonize the pelagic on board sampling programmes has started a few years ago and is still continuing. This report presents a summary of the data collected in the two monitoring programmes in European waters during the period 2017 and 2018. The two programmes together correspond with a sampling coverage of around 15% and 11% of the total Dutch and German flagged pelagic freezer trawler fleet effort (expressed in number of trips) in European waters in 2017-2018, respectively. An important element in the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the obligation to land all catches, i.e. the landing obligation. Consequently, from 2015 onwards the European pelagic freezer trawler fishery is in principle obliged to keep catches of quota regulated species on board. This has affected the sampling protocols and procedures; sampling has shifted from discards monitoring towards catch monitoring. Furthermore, the CFP also introduced the concept of regionalisation, meaning that Member States which share a fishing area should work together in collecting, managing and making the data available for scientific advice. Regionalisation of data collection was established during the recast of the Council Regulation describing the DCF (EU 2017/1004). Ultimately, under regional sampling, the Dutch and German pelagic sampling programmes are expected to merge together or at least be completely harmonised and thus interchangeable. Currently, the EU regional coordination group for the North Sea/Eastern Arctic & North Atlantic is working on a regional sampling plan for the freezer trawler fleet exploiting pelagic fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIJmuiden
PublisherStichting Wageningen Research, Centre for Fisheries Research (CVO)
Number of pages53
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameCVO report


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