Seafish session at Brussels Expo aims to challenge preconceptions of the seafloor impact of bottom trawling

23 April 2018

Co-hosted by Prof Ray Hilborn (University of Washington), Dr Jennifer Shepperson (Bangor University) and Dr Alex Caveen (Seafish), the session will provide a global overview of the science on mobile bottom gear impacts and examples of best practice.

Presentations will demonstrate that with high resolution data and stakeholder collaboration, the footprint of trawling and dredging in many sea areas can be adaptively managed to ensure fish can be continued to be caught and seafloor habitats conserved. Advances in seafloor mapping and fishing technology also mean that sensitive seafloor habitats can be identified and closed to bottom contact gears if necessary. 

The session will also provide an update on work undertaken by Bangor University for Seafish and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) that will help fisheries, conservation managers and industry stakeholders decide whether a fishery's seafloor impact in an area is compatible with meeting conservation objectives.

Dr Alex Caveen, Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood Manager (RASS) at Seafish, said:

"The use of mobile bottom contact gears, such as trawls and dredges, is rather contentious and has received negative coverage in the media.

"This workshop is designed to provide an overview of the extensive scientific work on this subject and discuss how these effects can be managed to ensure that seafloor habitats are conserved and fisheries' productivity maintained. Seafish continues to work in a number of areas leading to improvements in gear technology, and the development of information tools, such as the Gear Database and Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood that are supporting the UK industry improve their understanding of the impact of fishing gears on seafloor habitats."

The session will be held on Wednesday 25th April from 11:00-13:00 in the Cinedoc Room and will be followed by a Q&A session with the speakers on the Seafish stand 8-4543 in Hall 8 from 14:00-15:00.

To reserve your place please contact Alex Caveen.

Seafish will host a number of other informative sessions at Brussels too. These will include updates on Seafish's tools and initiatives aimed at assisting the industry in identifying and addressing risks in seafood supply chains, and enabling the seafood sector to secure and increase sustainable and responsible supply.

Updates will be provided on the Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme and our confirmed next steps toward internationalisation with a new entity, the development of the new Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme, and an update on our work to support the sector to respond to issues relating to supply chain integrity.

Seafish's new Aquaculture Profiles, which profile the most important farmed species to the UK market in an easy to use online tool, will also be showcased. Incorporating input from leading industry representatives, the profiles will provide multiple audiences with a wealth of information to support the sector in dispelling common farmed seafood myths and facilitate informed dialogue.

A live demonstration of the Aquaculture Profiles will be shown at each briefing and throughout the Expo on the Seafish stand.

You can attend these briefings at the Seafish stand 8-4543 in Hall 8 Tuesday 24 April 14.00-15.00 and Wednesday 25 April 15.00-16.00. Please contact Helen Duggan or Libby Woodhatch to book a place.

Alternatively, if you are unable to make the briefings but would welcome an update on any of these initiatives during the Expo, please contact Helen who will be happy to arrange a bespoke meeting.

And in conjunction with the ILO, Seafish will also be hosting a briefing on the ILO's Ship to Shore Rights project  which is helping the government, employers, buyers, and workers to end labour abuses in the Thai fishing and seafood industry. This session will also be held at the Seafish stand on Wednesday 25 April at 11:00-11.45, and will reveal the findings of the ILO's new data, identify what is working and how other S.E. Asian sourcing countries are reacting, before concluding with a feature on what buyers can expect next.

To reserve your place please contact Libby Woodhatch at Seafish or Jason Judd at the ILO.