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Maintain the Reference Fleet

Following an evaluation of the fleet by a committee of stakeholders and international scientists the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) has been advised to maintain its Reference Fleet. The committee also suggested a range of measures to strengthen and promote this project, which is based on the mutual trust between fishers and scientists.

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.

Facts about the Reference Fleet, 2018;

  • 14 large offshore vessels; 9 with conventional gear, 3 factory trawlers and 2 industry trawlers.
  • 24 smaller coastal vessels (9-15 meters), mainly gill-netters.
  • The vessels are selected based on gear type, fishing activity and geography.
  • The objective is to have a reference fleet that is representative of the Norwegian fishing fleet.
  • The vessel's good reputation and concern for the fishing resources are important in the selection process.
  • Provides more detailed information on species composition in commercial catches than any previous datasets.
  • The reference fleet, along with IMR's own vessels and additional sampling from fisheries, are the main source of the age and length data for stock assesment of the main commercial species.
  • The reference fleet is an important source of information about the distribution between coastal cod and Northeast Arctic cod.
  • CPUE data (catch per unit effoft) has been used as support in fisheries management.
The Norwegian Reference Fleet