The Reference Fleet was first established with offshore vessels in 2001, followed by coastal vessels in 2005. The objective was to obtain data directly from the fishing fleet. IMR needed to collect sufficient biological samples by area, season and gear in order to support stock assessment. The vessels in the Reference Fleet are representative of the Norwegian fishing fleet and deliver detailed information to IMR at regular intervals. The programme is funded through research quotas.
“We have developed an innovative and cost effective method of data sampling from coastal and offshore fishing vessels,” says Kjell Nedreaas who has been a central figure in the programme from the beginning. “From the very start we have been using the data in our stock assessments, which was the main objective for establishing the fleet. In addition, we have improved the dialogue with the industry, which in itself has been highly useful for us scientists”.
The evaluation of the Reference Fleet was carried out by a committee of seven persons representing international research and main stakeholders. Read the report here.
The committee advises that the Reference Fleet is maintained with some necessary improvements. Based on this, IMR has decided to keep the offshore Reference Fleet for another 4-6 years and to include 20 vessels representing nine different fleet categories. The tender will be published on the Norwegian database for public procurement, Doffin, with a deadline for 11 November. The renewal of the coastal fleet will take place in the spring of 2012.