Estimating fishing effort in small-scale fisheries using high-resolution spatio-temporal tracking data (an implementation framework illustrated with case studies from Portugal)

Marta M. Rufino*, Tania Mendo, João Samarão, Miguel B. Gaspar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Small-scale fisheries (SSF, boats < 12 m) represent 90% of this sector at a worldwide scale and 84% of the EU fleet. Mapping the areas and intensity where the fishing operations occur is essential for spatial planning, safety, fisheries sustainability and biodiversity conservation. The EU is currently regulating position tracking of SSF fishing vessels requiring precision resolved geo-positional data (sec to min resolution).

Here we developed a series of procedures aimed at categorizing fishing boats behaviour using high resolution data. Our integrated approach involve novel routines aimed at (i) produce an expert validated data set, (ii) pre-processing of positional data, (iii) establishing minimal required temporal resolution, and (iv) final assessment of an optimized classification model. Objective (iv) was implemented by using statistical and machine learning (ML) routines, using novel combinations of fixed thresholds estimates using regression trees and classification methods based on anti-mode, Gaussian Mixture Models (GMM), Expectation Maximisation (EM) algorithms, Hidden Markov Models (HMM) and Random Forest (RF). Of relevance, the final evaluation framework incorporates both error quantification and fishing effort indicators. We tested the method by running through four SSF fisheries from Portugal recorded every 30 sec, with 183 boat trips validated, and concluded that the more robust time interval for data acquisition in these metiers should be <2 min and that mode and random forest methods with pre-data treatment gave the best results. A special effort was concentrated in a visual support provided by the results produced by this new method, making its interpretation easier, thus facilitating transference and translation into other fishery levels. After the current validation in the Portuguese SSF fleet, we posit that our novel procedure has the potential to serve as an integrated quantitative approach to the EU SSF management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110628
Number of pages13
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume154
Early online date11 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Fishing effort estimation
  • Highly resolved boat tracks
  • Small scale fisheries
  • Modelling track data

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