Blue whiting in Greenland waters


The PhD thesis “Blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou): behaviour and distribution in Greenland waters” has been written by PhD student Søren Post, DTU Aqua and he will defend his thesis on 28 June at 13:00 at DTU Aqua.

To read a popular science summary of the PhD thesis click here

Blue whiting is a widely distributed and highly abundant fish species in the North-Atlantic. Despite that the commercial fishery is one of the largest in the world, this deep living (200-600 m) species is little known to the public. The stock size has fluctuated greatly throughout the latest decades, affecting both fishery, management, and the advising procedure. The seas around Greenland are generally considered as fringe areas of blue whiting distribution and it is only caught sporadically here. With increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change, blue whiting may become more abundant and widespread in Greenland waters and could potentially be an additional target species for the growing pelagic fleet in Greenland. However, the necessary knowledge about the biology and the dynamics of the stock size in this region is lacking.

For more information – click here – or contact the EFFOP secretariat.

The PhD defense starts at 13:00 on 28 June and it can be followed in Zoom via the link below (no need to register just click the link from 12:50 on 28 June):

MEESO industry workshop on mesopelagic fishing


EFFOP is partner of the MEESO project: “Ecologically and economically sustainable mesopelagic fisheries (MEESO)” funded by the EU Horizon 2020 (Blue Growth), 2019-2023. Read about the MEESO project at the website here

The overall objective of the project work package 6 (wp6) is to analyse the economic, social, and biological trade-offs and risks involved in mesopelagic exploitation, and to develop strategies to manage those risks.  To contribute to  wp6, the EFFOP secretariat and EFFOP members participated in a MEESO industry workshop on Monday 29 March, 2021 organized by the wp6 leader Rolf Groeneveld, Wageningen University. Read the workshop programme here

As an introduction to the workshop, “The experiences so far with mesopelagic fisheries” were presented by a representative of the Norwegien  Lie Gruppen, see the presentation here

From EFFOP, Anne Mette Bæk and Jette Kristensen gave a presentation on “State of affairs in processing and using mesopelagic catch”, see the presentation here

The outcome from the workshop:

The MEESO project wp6 team gained many valuable insights about some of the characteristics of mesopelagic fishing, and collected a wide variety of questions on this emerging fishery. Many of these questions are expected to be answered in the project. The workshop organizers are now in the process of writing the workshop report which they expect to distribute before May the 15th.

The MEESO project will continue for the coming 2-3 years to produce further insights into the social, economic, and ecological opportunities, impacts, and risks associated with fishing the mesopelagic. The  aim is for continued interactions and knowledge exchange with stakeholders in future workshops. Outcomes from the workshops will be availeable here

Small pelagic fisheries and responsible sourcing


MSC recently publicized a briefing on small pelagic fisheries and the importance of certification – read the briefing here.

Small pelagic fisheries – or forage fisheries – often target species known as low trophic level species close to the bottom of the marine food chain. In Europe, they include ‘forage fish’ such as sandeel, sprat, Norway pout, herring, and capelin but also invertebrate species such as krill.

Due to their population biology and life history traits (fast growing, highly productive and short lived) these species are resilient to fishing pressures if catches are well-managed.

In Europe, small pelagic fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil production are well-managed, based on scientific advice from ICES,  and they are MSC or MarinTrust certified or in process to become certified.

More information on sustainability and responsible sourcing here.




FISHMEAL AND FISHOIL – Strategic and sustainable marine ingredients


Eat like it matters – eat more fish


A new Nature Economy Report from World Economic Forum outlines the challenges we are facing when it comes to securing food for the growing population – read the whole article click here:

  • To feed 10 billion people in a healthy and sustainable way, we must rethink how we produce and consume food.
  • Regenerative farming is key to healing the planet and feeding the world with healthy food.
  • Consumers have the power to be part of this transition, by eating plant-rich and diverse diets, and slashing and repurposing waste.

If we are to feed 10 billion people in a healthy way within planetary boundaries, the way in which we produce and consume food needs to change.

Marine proteins and seafood, seaweed, mussels and fish, are probably the best way to feed the world according to a recent book by marine biologist and fisheries scientist Professor Dr. Ray Hilborn and Ulrike Hilborn – click here. From the OUPblog by Ray Hilborn:

Ocean fisheries don’t cause soil erosion, don’t blow away the topsoil, don’t use any significant freshwater, don’t use antibiotics and don’t have anything to do with nutrient releases, that devastating form of pollution that causes algal blooms in freshwater and dead zones in the ocean. After extensive studies, it turns out that some fish have the lowest green house gas footprint per unit of protein. Better even than plants. Sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies and farmed shellfish all have a lower GHG footprint than plants, and many other fisheries come close.

If you want to know more – watch Hilborn’s webinar about the environmental cost of dinner – click here.

The future of food from the sea


“The future of food from the sea” is the title of an important article recently published in the scientific Journal Nature by Costello et al. 2020 (read the article click here). The article describes the need for improved fishery management and a mariculture reform as ways to produce as much animal protein from the sea as possible.

, Sustainable Fisheries UW, has written an explainer on the article that covers the science behind the article, the context of global food production, and what policy could look like by 2050. Read the explainer click here.

Because fishmeal and fish oil are limited resources, the development of technology to supplement fish meal and oil is a big variable in how much food can be produced from the ocean. Researchers ran scenarios reducing fishmeal and fish oil requirements by 50% or 95% from current levels—those technological breakthroughs would increase food supply by 17.2 billion kg and 174.5 billion kg respectively. Fed mariculture currently produces 6.8 billion kg of food per year.