The Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Data (WGSFD) collates and analyses spatial fisheries data in order to evaluate fishing effort, intensity, and frequency in European waters.
The group was updated on several Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS), Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Logbook related projects which are ongoing at national labs, including presen-tations on the use of spatial data from electronic monitoring systems to investigate behavioural changes of fishers in response to management measures, estimation of “effort” in small scale fisheries, and from the other groups which have linkages to WGSFD. Prior to the meeting, ICES had issued a data call for aggregated VMS and logbook data for the years 2009–2020.
At the request of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), members of WGSFD produced and analysed maps of fishing activity in NEAFC regulatory areas, with a particular emphasis on fisheries around the Josephine Seamount, using the VMS and catch information provided by NEAFC. A product was once again delivered to ICES Working Group on Deep-water Ecology (WGDEC), which was used to provide advice on the impact of fisheries on Vul-nerable Marine Ecosystems, and feedback given to NEAFC on potential ways to improve data and subsequent advice.
WGSFD revisited the work done at previous meetings on its terms of reference on the potential use of AIS to deliver information on D6C2, the possibilities and implications of moving to a finer spatial resolution in the data call, and the guidance provided strategic guidance to the Workshop to evaluate and test operational application of human activities causing physical disturbance and loss to seabed habitats [D6C1-C4] (WKBEDPRES2) on the use of AIS data. None of these areas had developed significantly in the subsequent years therefore the work is reiterated.
WGSFD retains its ambition to publish peer-reviewed research. One term of reference dealing with quantification and spatiotemporal variability of fishing fleets is making good progress to-wards this aim. A second paper on best practices for analysis of VMS data was paused whilst details surrounding protection of fishers’ anonymity were resolved. This issue has been ad-dressed by WGSFD and work is continuing to define best practice.