Fish-X Virtual Events
A joint effort to develop a synergetic framework, emphasizing transparency & traceability, for a better future at sea.
Our events include:
- Working Group Meetings
- Virtual Exhibitions
How can Portuguese small-scale fisheries benefit from digital technologies?
Fish-X brings another webinar from its series of events on May 26, 2023 at 10 am CEST, titled “How can Portuguese small-scale fisheries benefit from digital technologies?“
The focus of the discussion will be on the small-scale fisheries (SSF) along the Portuguese shoreline as the sector is facing several challenges including over-exploitation of fish stocks, degraded habitats, rising costs, restricted access to information, and the increasing conflict of interests in coastal and marine areas. SSF in Portugal, being the most representative fisheries, play a crucial role in providing a livelihood for many coastal communities.
Potugese SSF now have a chance to enhance their sustainable management practices by utilising digital tools and resources that are increasingly becoming available, which can help improve their fishing and catching techniques.
This webinar will feature experts from the national authorities and academia who are well-versed with the current challenges and their potential solutions.
Don’t miss this interesting discussion on the challenges of SSF in Portugal and learn how the effective implementation of technologies can be used to overcome these issues.
Looking into the future: Small-Scale Fisheries Digitalisation in the Mediterranean Sea
The 3rd working group meeting of Fish-X Project was organised on 28 April, 2023 on the topic of ‘Looking into the future: Small-Scale Fisheries Digitalisation in the Mediterranean Sea’.
Nasrullah Ali and Marcus Wiemann, Fish-X Project Coordinators from EU Tech Chamber, welcomed the participants and moderated the meeting.
Dr. Fabian Reith, Fish-X Project Coordinator from TransMarTech, shared the updates about the project and Preliminary EU Fisheries Roadmap for Digitalisation. To get involved into these and other activities of the project, please visit https://fish-x.eu/
The 1st keynote speaker, Dr. Imane Haddi, Fisheries Biologist, AuqaBioTech Group, Malta, presented on the topic of ‘Netting the Future: Digitalising Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) in the Mediterranean Sea Challenges and Opportunities’ with the perspective of Malta.
The 2nd keynote on ‘First attempts to monitor and map SSF in the Adriatic Sea’ was presented by Luca Bolognini and Anna Nora Tassetti, Researchers from Institute for Marine Biological Resources and Biotechnologies of the National Research Council, Italy.
To further elaborate on the Mediterranean SSF situation and expand the discussions, Dr. Konstantinos Tsagarakis, Fisheries Biologist, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters of the Hellenic Centre of Marine Research, Greece, and Dr. Dražen Cepić, Assistant Professor at Department of Sociology, University of Zadar, Croatia, were also invited. These two panelists further expanded the debate by addressing the following points in the Q/A session.
A) Digital Integration and Data Management
- Based on your personal experiences, how can we integrate and synchronize existing and new digital tools to empower both the authorities and the SSF?
- What are some of the challenges that could arise to track vessels when implementing maritime spatial planning?
- What strategies can be employed to effectively collect and manage data related to small-scale fisheries, given that it is still a challenging task?
B) Engaging Fishers: Incentives and Trust-Building
- What do you think are the most important things to watch out for or to consider when reaching out to fishers regarding the use of digital tools?
- In your experience, what are effective incentives for encouraging fishers to participate in projects and use digital tools?
- How and what sort of confidence-building measures can be taken to establish motivation and trust between all involved actors?
Overall, the meeting was informative and allowed Fish-X consortium partners, with this specific topic, to deepen relationships with the maritime authorities in the Mediterranean region. The moderators concluded the meeting with vote of thanks to the participants and for engaging in valuable discussions that will help to advance well on the deliverables of the project.
HOW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES CAN SUPPORT SMALL-SCALE FISHERIES IN THE ADRIATIC REGION
The third webinar of the Fish-X project was held on February 24, 2023, on the topic of ‘How Digital Technologies can support Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) in the Adriatic Region’. The number of participants was over 100.
While the Adriatic region was known for its rich and diverse marine life, with overfishing today it is facing a major challenge with negative impact for the whole fishing industry. To return to a sustainable business, the use of digital technologies with access to better data will be essential as this will empower fishers to take better decisions on their catching behavior as well as to reduce time for fishing operations. To help improve the situation, the Fish-X Project creates a use case to let the fishers easily adopt these innovative digital technologies often perceived as unpractical or too difficult. Before implementation, it’s imperative to learn with this webinar about the prevailing challenges and overall situation from experts of the region and take these challenges into consideration while implementation.
Dr. Igor Gladkov, Fish-X Communication Manager from EUTECH, along with Fabijan Hrvatin Peronja, Programme Lead for Sustainable Blue Economy from WWF Adria, moderated the webinar and welcomed the participants. EUTECH organises a series of webinars like this one along with the Fish-X consortium partners to mobilise and invite key stakeholders and interested participants to contribute to the agenda of the project.
Marius Hölter, Fish-X Coordinator from TransMarTech, delivered the opening presentation about the Fish-X project. He briefed about the background of the project stating that it is a 3-year project of 6 million euros, co-funded by the EU Horizon Europe Programme. To read more about the project, consortium partners, and their activities, please visit https://fish-x.eu/
As the title suggests, this webinar was focused on the Adriatic region and Danijel Kanski, a fisheries consultant from Croatia, was the invited keynote speaker. Mr. Kanski is a fishery and aquaculture professional for over 15 years with focus on sustainability and minimisation of negative human impact on environment through support and promotion of best practices. He gave a detailed overview of the general situation of SSF in the Adriatic region, with a focus on Croatia. The Adriatic Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea region, and both share the same management structure and situation. The Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Fisheries is the legal entity that is responsible for fisheries in Croatia. The country has put in place measures to adjust its fishing capacity with the available resources. As per 2021 statistics, the average length of SSF vessels is only 5.7 m and the average age is 40 years, which limits SSF activities to fishing grounds near the port and to one-day fishing trips only. There were 5,336 SSF boats which contributed to 3% of catch and 17% in value as compared to 869 LSF boats contributing 97% of catch and 83%in value.
In 2020, the average age of vessels license holders in the Croatian small-scale fleet was 59 years old. A small group of young vessel owners/license holders suggests that there may be a lack of initiative in opening a business in fisheries for newcomers which could have long-term consequences for the fleet in terms of the absence of successors in the fisheries business.
In the framework of the SOCFISH Project, SSF fishers answered a survey that they were satisfied with their overall work (significantly higher than the rest of the population) and that they see themselves in this industry for next five years. Most of the SSF catch is sold at the local market, and the income is often used as household expenses providing food security, primarily. For some fishermen, however, commercial benefit is not a priority since they have other sources of income.
In 2021, the total value of landings of small-scale fisheries in Croatia was €10.5 million, covering 17% of the total landing value. The SSF catches were highly diverse in 2021, which is a characteristic of the Mediterranean mixed fishery, with 36 species covering 90% of landing weight and 29 species covering 90% of value. In LSF the reality is quite different, being that four species cover 90% of landing weight and 17 species cover 90% of the value. Most of the landing weight and landing value consists of demersal fish (common sole, hake, seabream).
While explaining about the challenges of SSF, Mr. Kanski said that the Mediterranean fish populations are in a deep crisis. About 75% of fish stocks are still overfished in the Mediterranean, rising to 93% within EU waters, and total fish populations have fallen by more than one-third over the past 50 years. The cause of this ecological crisis includes fleet overcapacity, illegal fishing, and catches of unwanted species. If fishing practices don’t improve, stocks could collapse and the consequences for ecosystems, communities, and the economy will be enormous.
Narrowing down to the Adriatic Sea situation, fish stocks are in an even more alarming situation due to higher overfishing rates of demersal species in the Northern Adriatic Sea (geographical sub-area [GSA] 17), along with the high fishing pressure in marine habitats. The evidence urges the need to evaluate appropriate management approaches, mitigate several fishing activities simultaneously in the area, and minimize conflicts among them. On the bright side, there is good indicators that overexploitation of stocks has decreased over the past decade, with an accelerated reduction of fishing pressure in the last two years, particularly for key species under management plans. However, most commercial species are still overexploited, and fishing pressure is still higher in the Adriatic Sea.
The political will to improve the situation in the region is there, however, it requires a framework. The FAO Regional Plan of Action for SSF in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea has suggested following nine action points: Scientific research, SSF data, SSF management measures, SSF value chain, Participation of SSF in decision-making processes, Capacity-building, Decent work, Role of women, and Climate and Environment.
For better management of fisheries in Croatia, it was suggested that a large budget should be spent annually on collecting electronically encoded field data and make it widely accessible. Previously, data was recorded on paper, and archived at a few institutions, which eventually discard them. Data collection and distribution is a valuable contribution to science, and it has long term positive impact on the society. The technology used may involve electronic logbooks, GPS buoys, seafood traceability and transparency solutions, sensitive species tagging and monitoring, Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) eDNA, and ghost gear removal with remotely operated vehicles.
Marina Masanović, Fisheries Biologist at NEPHROP in Croatia, participated in the Q/A session along with the keynote speaker. She was of the view that SSF fishers fear new technologies which is a challenge in digitalisation, as they find it complicated. They also have contracts with some buyers and directly sell their catch to them. However, if workshops are arranged to train these fishers they may be more open to digital technology in the future. Paying an extra premium against the catch may be a real incentive for fishers to use technology and make fisheries sustainable. Consumers behavior also needs to be more responsible towards what they consume and force the whole supply chain to adopt sustainable practices.
One of the participants shared an organisation LIFE and another shared https://foodnected.org/ which are also striving for sustainable food practices. WWF Adria also showed an engaging documentary on Croatia fisheries and can be watched via this link.
Some of the participants were highly engaged in the conversation by writing comments and questions, which created a dynamic and interactive Q/A session. Marcus Wiemann, Fish-X Project Officer from EU Tech Chamber, thanked all the speakers and participants for joining the webinar and informed that EU Tech Chamber will continue to organise such webinars and events to promote the awareness about the project and its progress in the future. The participants were also encouraged to subscribe to Fish-X newsletter and follow Fish-X social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, to stay updated about the future developments of this project.
- While diversity of fish species is broad, overfishing is a problem that needs better management with digital tools for sustainability of the local fishery sector in the Adriatic region. Facing this situation, the Croatian government needs to spend budget annually for collecting electronically encoded field data and make this data widely accessible.
- Since there are several players in the fishing sector across the region, it makes it difficult for data collection and data synchronisation creating a major challenge towards digitalisation of fisheries. Moreover, technology adoption by fishers also makes digitalisation difficult due to various reasons.
- SSF fishers in Croatia fear new technologies which is a challenge in digitalisation, as they find it complicated and complicated. However, training workshops and paying an extra premium against the catch may be a real incentive for fishers to use technology and make fisheries sustainable in the region.
FISH-X PROJECT: IMPROVING DIGITAL TOOLS FOR EU FISHERIES’ MONITORING AUTHORITIES
Dr. Igor Gladkov and Marcus Wiemann, Fish-X Project Coordinators from EU Tech Chamber, welcomed the participants and moderated the meeting. EU Tech Chamber plans to organise three working group meetings every year like this one with the consortium partners and key stakeholders from EU and MS maritime authorities throughout the journey of Fish-X Project.
Dr. Fabian Reith, Fish-X Project Coordinator from TransMarTech, shared that the consortium partners believe in fostering sustainable fisheries and marine biodiversity by driving digital innovation and developing accessible technologies to empower small-scale fisheries. Fish-X is a 3-year project of 6 million euros, funded by the EU Horizon Europe Programme, being implemented by the seven European organisations, called consortium partners including TransMarTech Schleswig-Holstein (TMT, Germany), EU Tech Chamber (EUTECH, Germany), Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS, France), North.io (Germany), Sciaena (Portugal), OURZ (Germany), and WWF EPO (Belgium), and the focus areas of the project are small and recreational fisheries at Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Baltic coasts.
During the Q/A session, the discussion revolved around the following five questions: (1) What are the datasets that are required by the maritime authorities to properly monitor EU fisheries? (2) What are the typical challenges during the collection of digital data from the small-scale fisheries? (3) Do the authorities face any kind of resistance while collecting data from fishers? If so, what could be possible reasons? (4) What initiatives do you suggest for more trust-building between fishers and authorities to deepen collaborations, in particular to grow the use of digital tools? (5) As Fish-X plans to conduct workshops at a later stage, what focus the future trainings should have?
FISH-X PROJECT: DIGITAL DATA TO MAKE EU FISHERIES SUSTAINABLE
Dr. Igor Gladkov, Fish-X Communication Manager, along with Marcus Wiemann, Fish-X Project Officer, from EU Tech Chamber, moderated the webinar and welcomed the participants. EU Tech Chamber plans to organise a series of webinars like this one along with the Fish-X consortium partners for key stakeholders and interested participants throughout the journey of the project.
The keynote speaker, Yassine Atter, Solutions Manager at CLS, briefed about the concept of electronic reporting in the fishing industry which has already been deployed on some fishing vessels. During his presentation, he also demonstrated a software solution, which has been developed by CLS, to show participants a real example that how such system works and can be implemented. There was another keynote speaker, Max Rüther, who is the Project Manager at followfood, which is a food company from Germany. followfood is a leader in transparent and sustainable food production and its goals are saving fish stocks and the ocean by changing role of suppliers and brands and providing the most ecological products possible. They are the first brand with 100% sustainable fish products. Transparency is the main pillar at followfood and they invented the first tracking code in the food sector for their fish and agri products. Every customer can trace where the product comes from and how it is produced.
Jean-Pierre Cauzac, Bid Manager at CLS, moderated the Q/A session. While answering the questions, speakers emphasised that intermediaries could highlight the role of fishermen and supply chain process to improve the relationship between consumers and fishermen. For digitalisation of fishing gears, missing fishing gears should be reported or declared. There is a standard Flux, used by DG Mare, in the fishing industry to process the data.
FISH-X: CHALLENGES OF DIGITAL MONITORING FOR SUSTAINABLE EU FISHERIES
The first working group meeting of FISH-X Project was held on September 23, 2022, on the topic of ‘Challenges of Digital Monitoring for Sustainable EU Fisheries’. Marcus Wiemann and Dr. Igor Gladkov, Fish-X Project Coordinators from EU Tech Chamber, moderated the meeting.
To introduce the debate, Lutz Wessendorf, Head of the Fisheries Management and Fisheries Industry Department, Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE, Germany) held a keynote speech on ‘Digital Monitoring in Germany’. Afterwards, the participants engaged in a fruitful discussion regarding the best practices for digital monitoring systems to collaborate with the EU fisheries and other authorities.
During the Q/A session, the discussion revolved around the following three questions: (1) The EU fisheries is confronted by several challenges. Can you explain the top 3 challenges and needs of EU fisheries in your respective waters and your ways to approach them, so to transition towards sustainability? (2) For management and traceability collection, analysis and handling of data is becoming more and more important. What approaches are you pursuing in your respective countries and are there already digitization systems in practice allowing possibility for interoperability amongst EU Member States? (3) Based on your experiences, how familiar and skilled is the fish industry, public and private sector, to professionally engage in digitisation programmes? In case available, would you have some best practices to approach and involve them?
FISH – X PROJECT: MODERN FISHERIES AS A DRIVER FOR BLUE ECONOMY
Dr. Igor Gladkov, Fish-X Project Coordinator from EU Tech Chamber, moderated the webinar and briefed about the Fish-X Project as a technology and open-source project, initiated and supported by EU Horizon Europe Programme, which aims at making the EU fishery industry sustainable. EU Tech Chamber plans to organise a series of webinars and events like this one along with the consortium partners and key stakeholders.
TransMarTech, being the project coordinator, primarily aims at developing a central data platform namely Fish-X Dataspace to monitor fishing activities across the European region. CLS has been tasked to develop an online insight platform, using Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Technologies, with simple user interface and based on marine charts to evaluate the fishing patterns in different seasons and years and host the fisheries data. While North.io is going to develop an IT infrastructure to store the data while maintaining the security and privacy of the datasets that will help entities to make informed decisions. It will facilitate the monitoring, control systems, and fish product traceability. Creating a traceability platform for small-scale fisheries is the responsibility of OURZ that will help identify the data, collect and verify it, and make it usable for the stakeholders to draw analysis. On the other hand, four WWF offices (WWF Adria and Portugal at field level, WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative at regional level, and WWF European Policy Office at EU level) are going to develop use cases from the field work in cooperation with small-scale fisheries and authorities that will be used for stakeholder engagement, policy analysis, and advocacy. While Sciaena will be doing the community engagement with small-scale fishing communities and help them with possible technical barriers to adoption.
While answering the questions, it was said that the Fish-X Project will help upgrade and improve the EU regulations and the same datasets will be used for the project which are used for current fisheries monitoring.