Using AIS to Attempt a Quantitative Evaluation of Unobserved Trawling Activity in the Mediterranean Sea

Ferra, Carmen; Tassetti, Anna Nora; Armelloni, Enrico Nicola; Galdelli, Alessandro; Scarcella, Giuseppe; Fabi, Gianna;

In the past decades, the Automatic Identification System (AIS) has been employed in numerous research fields as a valuable tool for, among other things, Maritime Domain Awareness and Maritime Spatial Planning. In contrast, its use in fisheries management is hampered by coverage and transmission gaps. Transmission gaps may be due to technical limitations (e.g., weak signal or interference with other signals) or to deliberate switching off of the system, to conceal fishing activities. In either case such gaps may result in underestimating fishing effort and pressure. This study was undertaken to map and analyze bottom trawler transmission gaps in terms of duration and distance from the harbor with a view to quantifying unobserved fishing and its effects on overall trawling pressure. Here we present the first map of bottom trawler AIS transmission gaps in the Mediterranean Sea and a revised estimate of fishing effort if some gaps are considered as actual fishing.

2020 - Journal article

Frontiers in Marine Science 7 (2020). doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.580612

Keywords: Automatic Identification System (AIS), data gaps, Maritime Domain Awareness, Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS), fishing activity

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The research activities of the Institute are carried out in the context of research, development and innovation projects, both national and international, based on regional funding programs (POR FEAMPA - Regional Operational Program of the European Maritime Affairs Fisheries Fund and Aquaculture and POR FESR - Regional Operational Program of the European Regional Development Fund) or ministerial (PRIN - Projects of relevant national interest, PNRA - National Research Program in Antarctica, PO FEAMPA - National Operational Program European Maritime Affairs Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund) , programs for European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg), direct funding programs of the European Commission (Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe, Life, JPI - Joint Programming Initiatives, ERA-NET Cofund) and thematic collaboration initiatives managed by international organizations such as, for example , the FAO - GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean). The Institute also develops funded projects in the context of collaborations with private companies in the sectors of the blue economy as well as technology transfer and research results. Research projects, mainly of a collaborative nature, are developed through a wide network of partners that include major Italian and foreign research institutions and universities.

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