Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Fish trap monitoring at Zoutkamperlaag

In December 2017, under the Programme Towards a Rich Wadden Sea (PRW), the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality commissioned the Integrated Coastal Fisheries Cooperative (VvdK) and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), to carry out a pilot project on the monitoring of fish traps in the eastern Wadden Sea.

Pilot fish trap monitoring Zoutkamperlaag. Photo: Michiel Firet

Management research

There has been a long-standing aspiration held by the various organisations involved in the management and research of the ‘wet wadden’ to follow trends in the abundance of fish species in the eastern Wadden Sea. The data that this could deliver would provide a valuable addition to the information gleaned from the NIOZ ‘fish trap monitoring’ project on Texel, which has analysed daily spring and autumn trap catches for species, numbers, lengths and year classes since the 1960s.

In the Wadden Sea, fish abundance patterns are so spatially and temporally dynamic that data from one location, however valuable, cannot give a picture of trends in Wadden Sea stocks on the whole. Hence the search for additional fish monitoring locations, where, in terms of trapping characteristics the catch would be comparable to the NIOZ trap.

Insight and experience

In addition to the aim of making more fish data available for (the evaluation of) management, the PRW also has the objective of providing insight and ‘experience’ in this aspect of underwater nature for managers, conservationists, users, coastal residents and tourists. This could be made available by the method used for presentation of results, but also by experiencing the actual monitoring on the tidal flats. As the client, the PRW also wanted this angle included when reviewing the results of the pilot project.

In order to assess the feasibility of these aims, the mandate for VvdK and NIOZ consisted of the following activities:

  • To explore and test possible fish trap locations and advise the optimal location for the intended goals
  • Provide the necessary material and perform the pilot following the appropriate protocol as used by NIOZ for similar monitoring projects, and arrange access and permits where necessary

  • Set up an organisational structure to ensure collaboration and exchange of knowledge and experience between fishermen and researchers

  • Promote the results of the project in collaboration with PRW and other project partners

  • Identify potential possibilities / reasons for collaboration with others

  • Suggest building blocks for the basic monitoring of the Wadden Sea

The pilot project is reported in the Fish Trap Monitoring at Zoutkamperlaag (Vismonitoringsfuiken Zoutkamperlaag) Report.  Pdf report.

Project information
Linked department:
Linked page:
Ministry of Agriculture, Natur…
4 Dec 2017 - 31 Dec 2020
  • Vissers van de Kust ‘Geïntegreerde Visserij Coöperatie u.a.’

Meet the team

Veer van der, Henk
Guest researcher