Hydrography on fishing vessels - a feasability study leads to an open source development
The knowledge of hydrographic conditions is of central importance for the assessment of the state of marine ecosystems ? with all its implications on climate or usage of the sea. Currently, data collection is mainly carried out by environmental monitoring programs and very costly. Spatial and temporal resolution is insufficient and data validation is mostly hand-operated before it can be stored in scientific databases. Therefore, we urgently need new monitoring strategies. More efficient data collection not only contributes to a better understanding of the marine ecosystem, but is relevant to issues such as:
÷ Fish stock forecasts
÷ Monitoring of the marine environment e.g. North and Baltic Sea (HELCOM)
÷ State on ocean acidification, oxygen deficiency and eutrophication
÷ Implementation of sustainable development goals (e.g. MSRL in Europe)
Ships of opportunity could play an important role here. Today, ferries and cargo ships can be equipped with FerryBox systems 1 to collect hydrographic data, but they are limited to surface water measurements and ferry routes or sea lanes. In contrast, fishing vessels deploy their gear deep below the surface. Here we present a method for using fishery as ships of opportunity in data collection and our results from a feasibility study on a fleet of commercial fishing vessels over the period of nine weeks. We show our experience with existing systems, the collected data, feedbacks from fishermen and a fine granulated list of necessary system features, which are not yet offered by existing systems. Therefore we started to develop HyFiVe (Hydrography on Fishing Vessels) - an autonomous measurement system to be installed on board of fishing vessels. We show that this can carry out a significant increase in the temporal and spatial data collection density at a relatively low cost. Further we present the development status, the results of which will be published under open source licenses.