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IfAÖ has taken over sampling of coastal fish fauna in Schleswig-Holstein

IfAÖ has taken over sampling of coastal fish fauna in Schleswig-Holstein

Within the project "FishNet - Development of a coastal fish monitoring based on the requirements of MSFD and HELCOM" for the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, the GICON® Group company IfAÖ - Institute for Applied Ecosystem Research GmbH together with WSP Deutschland AG has taken over the extensive sampling of the fish fauna. In 2021, monthly surveys will be carried out at seven study sites using different fishing techniques. Here, IfAÖ can play to its strengths in the professional expertise of field sampling and technical equipment. In addition to identifying suitable stations and fishing gear with the best or most efficient catchability, a new fishing method will also be developed in this context.

Sampling and analysis should provide information about fish condition

Questions that the Fishnet project in the Baltic Sea want to answer are: 

  • What is the temporal and spatial distribution of demersal fish in the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea of Schleswig-Holstein?
  • What general temporal trends and spatial patterns can be identified?

In preparing the sampling concept, the team led by IfAÖ project manager Marcel Hartmann identified the best locations for a sampling network as part of the project. "We surveyed in advance with underwater cameras different areas along the coast of Schleswig-Holstein and verified whether the sites were suitable for the study." For the first sampling interval, the habitats of seagrass meadows, rocky reefs, sandbanks, mussel beds and bladderwrack beds in particular will be looked at, "because," says Hartmann, an experienced biologist, "from the results we determine in 2021, a selection of suitable fixed sampling stations will be made for 2022." 

IfAÖ impresses with great technical diversity 

Since its founding in 1993, IfAÖ has specialized in the study of marine organisms, building up an unparalleled range of technology for field use, from which the current "Fishnet" project also benefits. "We can offer comprehensive methods for catching in different habitats. We carry active and passive fishing methods, such as trawls, as well as a wide variety of set gillnet and trap types in our catalog," Hartmann explains. Furthermore, the institute uses its own multipurpose workboat to be able to reach all locations. "Due to the high mobility resulting from the workboat’s speed and ability to be launched from a slipway, we are able to the cover distances as required for this project in such a short time and can thus contribute to a cost-efficient investigation" Hartmann continues.  In addition, IfAÖ has highly qualified biologists at its disposal, who can carry out the professional analysis of the collected samples for the most part directly on site.

Obtaining up-to-date information on habitat composition 

Another objective for IfAÖ in the project is to further develop possible catch methods to be used. "If at all possible, fishing methods should always be based on the well-being of the organisms being studied, in this case the fish," says Hartmann. "That's why it's important to us that we develop new fishing methods in addition to the known ones in the course of the current project, so that we can possibly carry out even more efficient and gentle monitoring in the future."  

Things to know about the Fishnet project: 

Under the leadership of the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry for Energy Transition, Agriculture, Environment, Nature and Digitalization and the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forests and Fisheries, the project is part of the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. It aims to provide scientifically sound and timely answers to questions about the state of the ecology of marine fish in coastal waters. These gaps are to be filled by including time series and monitoring data on demersal fish in the coastal sea as well as data on fishing effort from the Thünen Institute. * (According to source: Thünen Institute)

IfAÖ project manager Dipl.-Biol. Marcel Hartmann documenting the study areas.

The study areas along the coast of Schleswig-Holstein.

The IfAÖ is able to implement extensive fish monitoring due to its in-house technical facilities.