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Identifying fishing grounds from vessel tracks: model-based inference for small scale fisheries

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Abstract

Recent technological developments facilitate the collection of location data from fishing vessels at an increasing rate. The development of low-cost electronic systems allows tracking of small-scale fishing vessels, a sector of fishing fleets typically characterized by many, relatively small vessels. The imminent production of large spatial datasets for this previously data-poor sector creates a challenge in terms of data analysis. Several methods have been used to infer the spatial distribution of fishing activities from positional data. Here, we compare five approaches using either vessel speed, or speed and turning angle, to infer fishing activity in the Scottish inshore fleet. We assess the performance of each approach using observational records of true vessel activity. Although results are similar across methods, a trip-based Gaussian mixture model provides the best overall performance and highest computational efficiency for our use-case, allowing accurate estimation of the spatial distribution of active fishing (97% of true area captured). When vessel movement data can be validated, we recommend assessing the performance of different methods. These results illustrate the feasibility of designing a monitoring system to efficiently generate information on fishing grounds, fishing intensity, or monitoring of compliance to regulations at a nationwide scale in near-real-time.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number191161
Number of pages12
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume6
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019

    Research areas

  • Fishing activities, Spatial distribution, Small-scale fishery, Gaussian mixture model, Hidden Markov model

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