Marine resources in all outermost regions of Europe (ORs) make an important contribution to employment, livelihoods and food supply but fishing grounds are usually limited and scattered on the island slopes and seamounts (with the exception of French Guyana). Most fisheries are dominated by small-scale artisanal fishing fleets and therefore concentrated on the coastal fishing grounds which may have contributed to local overexploitation and biodiversity loss. During the last decades, experimental fishing projects have been implemented in ORs to promote the diversification and the geographical expansion of local fisheries. However, most of the results are dispersed and difficult to gather and one of the objectives of this project was to collate existing technical information on experimental fishing carried out over the last thirty years. The objective of this report was to raise awareness of the opportunities to develop innovative fishing techniques allowing the redirection of fishing effort away from coastal resources. Depending on regions and periods, the development of new techniques or the adaptation of existing techniques has covered very different situations. As a consequence, the approach selected was to adopt a broad definition of experimental fishing so as to cover different situations. Even this are key issues, analysis of experimental fishing can not be apprehended only in terms of fishing technique or knowledge on the biology of species. Fisheries experiments may cover a broader scope of assessment including potential landings and revenues and cost assessment of these new gears for fishers, conditioning and storage of fish products on board, marketability of fish or fish products, labor conditions and safety on board, etc. Recommendations for fisheries management and monitoring of experimental fisheries seem to be critical issues to consider. Starting from this broader perspective, this report presents from a review of experimental fishing, the main findings of the experimental fishing highlighting the lessons learned and pointing ways forward to be shared. It identifies opportunities and main obstacles in experimental fishing and tries to establish some future needs in research and development.
The specific objectives of this task were:
• Collect data on existing technical information on experimental fishing in each OR over a period covering the last 30 years;
• Build a collection of reports and database compiling the existing information;
• Analyse the main findings of the experimental fishing highlighting the lessons learned and pointing ways forward;
• Exchange and share the information among partners and stakeholders from different ORs.