February 26th 2019

New maps for good fishing

Project responsible, Oddvar Longva (right) and skipper Karl Otto Rismark on the bridge of the "Atlantic Viking", one of the fishing vessels that uses the new seabed maps. Photo credits: NGU.
Fishermen have taken well to using the detailed new seafloor maps. Yield has increased, fuel consumption has reduced, and there has been less equipment damage

Last year, seven trawling companies with sea-going vessels, as well as many coastal fishermen participated in a trial project for new bottom-type maps and bathymetric data. The digital submarine maps were loaded on Olex chartplotter system, and now eleven of the fishing boats provided feedback.

Great Value

"We have received very good feedback. The fishermen report that the maps are valuable", explains NGU geologist, Oddvar Longva. Longva has been eager to see these maps used, and has cooperated closely with the Norwegian Mapping Authority to adapt these maps for use on fishing vessels

Screenshot from Chart plotter. Blue indicates mud, yellow indicates sandy sediments, orange indicates gravel, and pink indicates gravel, stone and blocks. The possibility of coral reefs/coral gravel is indicated in purple.

"We have long been aware that bathymetric and bottom types maps can be useful for fishermen, if they are properly adapted to the digital platforms that fishermen use in their daily work. Experience from countries like Canada confirm the economic and environmental benefits of using such maps", informs Longva.

New fishing zone

Norwegian fishermen now agree with the marine mappers.

"Using maps can help protect out boats. Knowing the bottom type increases the chance of greater yield for all fishing vessel types. The maps are also useful for locating new fishing areas. Fishermen also report that the maps help determine how lines should be placed", says Oddvar Longva.

Asides from protecting the sea bottom, another environmental benefit is reduced fuel consumption

Sustainable Fishing

Longva also points to other environmental aspects of using the new maps.

"International agencies are sending clear signals that environmentally-friendly fishing will be important in the future. For example, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has a fisheries certification process to ensure sustainable fishing and protection of vulnerable habitats. Our maps may help companies comply with MSC standards, and increase the profitability Norwegian fisheries", Longva suggests.

Jan Henrik Sandberg, Senior Advisor at Norwegian Fishermen's Association reports that for some time the organization has contended that better access to detailed sea bottom data could contribute to even more accurate, efficient and eco-friendly fishing practices

Increased Marine Mapping

"The results of this trial confirm our long-held contention. This industry helped finance the process of adapting the maps for use on working fishing vessels - a strong gesture that the fishing industry views the maps as useful information", says Sandberg.

Sandberg also stresses that fishing crews are very keen to reduce marine litter and so-called ghost-fishing, which occurs when fishing gear is lost at sea and accidently traps fish.

"Reliable sea bottom information can help to reduce such problems. Overall, it would be of great benefit to Society if in the years to come NGU received more support for marine mapping, method development and research", says Jan Henrik Sandberg

Important Fishing Zones

The new submarine maps are products of the Mareano. A mapping programme for the Norwegian coastal and marine areas run by NGU, the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and the Norwegian Mapping Authority. In addition, marine base maps have been produced for selected areas of Troms, Møre og Romsdal, and Sogn og Fjordane.

"Together, this means we now have detailed bottom type and bathymetric maps for several important fishing areas on the Norwegian Contental Shelf and along the coast", says Oddvar Longva.

Hanne Hodnesdal, who represents Norwegian Mapping Authority in Mareano, informs that NGU and the Institute of Marine Research are now working to establish the Marine base map for the coastal area.

"This will help extend coverage in Norway", says Hodnesdal.

Technical Solutions

Gunnstein Bakke, Senior adviser at the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, add that the MAREANO programme direct market value for the Directorate and the industry.

"Useful seabed maps contribute to cost-efficient and effective fishing, while also reducing the footprint and impact on the seabed. With good technical solutions now in place to upload the maps to the chart plotters, the road is paved for uploading more maps", emphasizes Gunnstein Bakke.

More Chartplotters

Sea floor topography and sediment maps have also been made available on chartplotters from Furuno and SailorsMate. Everyone has equal access to these maps from the Norwegian Mapping Authority and NGU, and the maps are available on many websites, including http://www.geonorge.no.

"The access level of the maps corresponds to the security level set by Norwegian Armed Forces. This means that topographical maps within the territorial boundary have 50 m. resolution, while topographical maps outside the territorial boundary have a 5 m. resolution", explains Hanne Hodnesdal, of the Norwegian Mapping Authority

Overview of the most common types of bottoms on fishing banks. Photo compilation by Valérie Bellec.

Relaterte prosjekter

MAREANO maps the bathymetry, seafloor conditions, biodiversity, geodiversity and sedimentary contamination along the Norwegian coast and sea areas.