Report of an Industry workshop in the MEESO project
EFFOP is partner of the MEESO project: “Ecologically and economically sustainable mesopelagic fisheries (MEESO)” funded by the EU Horizon 2020 (Blue Growth), 2019-2023
A recent MEESO industry workshop on the technical and economic aspects of fishing the mesopelagic zone resulted in the following list of questions about mesopelagic fishing and handling of mesopelagic species. Some preliminary answers and suggestions are made where possible. The report is available here.
- How efficient is the fishery in terms of the expected catch size (or catch per unit effort)?
- Will it be possible to increase catch rates in future?
- What is the market niche for the fish oil and fish meal at EU level?
- What oil content or yield would make mesopelagic species interesting as input for fishmeal and oil processors?
- Are there seasonal differences in the size composition of mesopelagic catches?
- How can mesopelagic fish be stored and chilled aboard fishing vessels, and how long is this effective?
a. The fish can be stored for a maximum of 4 days in RSW tanks without chilling but with the addition of acetic acid as a preservative
b. Experience in trial fisheries suggests that adding fresh water to storage can extend the time before spoilage
c. There is an indication that it can be stored for roughly a week. It depends on the type of fish, autolytic activity, and how low a temperature you can achieve. There is some data available (NOFIMA)
d. A sub-chilling system is also available
- Due to challenges of storing and preserving the fish at sea, is there any study to determine if the ensilage process can be a solution whereby formic acid is added to preserve the fish prior to processing?
- What are the main onboard challenges relative to conventional catching, processing and fishing gear?
- What is the seasonal variability of the potential mesopelagic biomass?
- Has anyone come up with a gear that works well?
a. For lantern fish, it appears that no one succeeded in fishing it at commercial scales.
- Can we get the drawings of the trawls that were shown in the slides from LIE Gruppen?
a. See Appendix in the report.
- What could be the cost of development of new processing systems?
a. It depends on scale, but this is something that can be discussed with equipment manufacturers
b. It is first necessary to assess if can process whole fish on land; if so, how many fish per minute? It could be that the costs become too high
- How much do vessels need to modify at an early stage to engage in this fish?
a. Some nets could be slightly modified at the lead end to cod end. They would need tailor-made cod ends and need a pacific leader to the cod end. Learning what would be needed beyond that would only really start with testing at that stage.
b. For a pelagic vessel (e.g., one that fishes for mackerel) there does not need to be too much modification if they will land the fish to be processed. However, if a chilling system is needed, more changes to the vessel will be needed. This is because the fish are very small, which may necessitate alterations to the chilling system and pumps
- What is the maximum number of days that the mesopelagic resource can be conserved onboard just in boxes with ice?
a. Not sure precisely, but ice slurry might be useful for this because it has a higher cooling capacity
- How much energy is required for processing a kilo of mesopelagic fish?
- If it is of sufficient quality, will fish meal from mesopelagic fish get a better price than other “less sustainable” fish meal?
- How much more fuel would be used fishing for mesopelagic fish, considering the smaller mesh size?
a. The fuel use is expected to be similar to pelagic fishing. Whether or not this is profitable depends on the catches.
b. Iceland 16.4mm – Ireland 16mm (cod end lower sections). If you go smaller you get flow problems, and if you go bigger you get problems with pumping on the side of the vessel. Trawl length is 70m-90m – necessary due to small mesh.
- What is the public perception? How are these developments being socialised?
Read about the MEESO project at the website here