Sustainable fisheries are important, both from an environmental standpoint and for the long-term economy of the fishing fleet. The number of fishing vessels has reduced over time because of larger and more effective vessels, technological aids and improved catch tools. The consequence of catching the wrong schools therefore becomes increasingly severe.
NORCE has a longstanding collaboration with Institute of Marine Research on advanced analysis of marine acoustic data. The collaboration has led to software that can categorize multi-frequency acoustic data into different species. In the SEAT software, this information is conveyed to the skippers by color-coded echograms, and can be used to reduce the by-catch by concentrating the fishing on clean schools. The DABGRAF software uses wideband acoustics to estimate the fish size distribution.
Attaching an echosounder to the autonomous surface vehicles open up other possibilities, for example by remotely monitoring the fishing grounds to find the most opportune moment to go fishing. Such a concept can save time, fuel and money for the fishing fleet. A prototype of this concept was successfully tested.