New tool for detailed EU maps of high intensity fisheries areas

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MFA- A new JRC tool on mapping high intensity fisheries in EU areas

MFA-Mapping Fishing Activities is a new tool developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) that provides for the first time detailed EU maps of high intensity fisheries areas. The detailed data on fishing activity can be used by Policy makers, scientists and experts for fisheries management and fisheries research both from an environmental and a socio-economic perspective.

KEYWORDS: new tool, fishing, fishery management, fishing activity, fishing mapping,

AREA OF STUDY: European Marine waters

About MFA

The MFA (Mapping Fishing Activities)-tool developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) enables for the first time the visualization of high intensity fisheries areas in 2014-2015 in Europe through detailed maps.

The MFA includes several layers of geographical information and a high-resolution map of fishing intensity covering all EU waters.

Tracking data of fishing vessels were used to extract information about the fishing habits of coastal communities and to know and to define e.g. which are the areas where they fish more frequently.

Aim of MFA

This information is crucial to tailor policy and management strategies to boost blue growth, the EU strategy for a more profitable and sustainable exploitation of marine and maritime resources.

By knowing where fishing activities are more intensive, it is possible for example to assess the impacts from trawling on the seabed floor and derive the indicators on fishing pressure envisaged by the Maritime Strategy Framework Directive. Moreover, this information allows understanding which coastal communities would be most affected in economic and employment terms if restrictive measures on fishing activities are set in a specific area.

Method of MFA

Until recently analyses on fishing activities have been based on highly aggregated figures from administrative sources such as the logbooks and the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), which have been introduced to control fishing.

The new tool mapping fishing activities (MFA) uses for the first time tracking data from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) – used worldwide to identify and locate vessels thorough data exchange with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites – to analyse the relations between fishing communities and fishing areas at high level of geographical detail at EU-wide scale.

The MFA relies on open source data from the AIS which, while not suitable for a systematic control of potentially illegal fishing, is more accessible and offers new possibilities for research.

Access the tool

The tool is available here

STORY SOURCE: The above post is written based on materials provided by: Join Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


CITE THIS PAGE: “New tool – detailed maps of high intensity fisheries areas in the EU ” The Blue Reporters, 18 April 2016 <>

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