28/10/2022Opening of abstract submission and pre-registration
12/12/2022 (extended until 19/12/2022)Abstract submission deadline
05/01/2023Final agenda
10/02/2023 Registration deadline
27/01/2023Submission deadline for National Reports
13-17 February 2023Meeting in Cochin (India)


WGFTFB23 – Kochi (India)  13-17 February 2023

Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, It is a cluster of islands networked by lagoons and backwaters. Kochi, one of the finest natural harbours in the world, was once a major center of commerce and trade with the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British. All these foreign traders have left their mark on this beautiful island. The commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala, Kochi, is also known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’.

The meeting venue will be The Taj Gateway Marine Drive hotel at Kochi, located on the scenic stretch of Marine Drive, which offers a spectacular view of the backwaters and the Kochi Harbour.

Download Information on hotel rooms, facilities, and conference rooms.

Hotel website: https://www.tajhotels.com/en-in/gateway/marine-drive-ernakulam

Final Agenda

Topic Groups

The normal meeting/symposium will be held in plenum (presentations, discussions, other businesses).

At one of the meeting days (Wednesday 15.02.2023) the work will be conducted in so-called Topic Groups, which are sub-meetings focusing on specific topics.

During the WGFTFB-meeting 2023, three topic groups will meet:

a) TOPIC Group: Passive fishing gears (TG Passive)

Convener: Lotte Kindt-Larsen (Denmark), Thomas Noack (Germany)Gildas Glemarec (Denmark)

Terms of reference

  • Summarize current and past work in relation to fish pot and trap development, plus gillnet and longline modifications in order to avoid bycatch of protected species (hereunder marine mammals, sea birds and sea turtles).
  • Discuss and describe methods and their limitations, hereunder catch efficiency and depredations risks. Furthermore, compare newly developed bycatch mitigation efforts and their efficiency to standard gear and compare different types of passive gears (e.g. gillnets vs. fish pots/traps) and the processes of depredation.
  • Identify and make recommendations on how to improve passive gears including unwanted bycatch, high variability in catches and mitigation of depredation from different predators.
  • Identify potential synergies in developing new approaches to promote sustainability (economically and ecologically) of passive gears.

Justification: Passive fishing gears such as gillnets, longlines, traps and pots, belong to the most common fishing methods worldwide. These methods have naturally advantages like efficiency, simple use and size selectiveness. Nevertheless, they have been criticized due to bycatches of higher taxa like sea turtles, sea birds and marine mammals, ghost fishing and their vulnerability to depredation by marine mammals. In recent years, a lot of effort has been put into the optimization of fish traps and pots, mainly due to gillnet-raiding seals and studies on how to mitigate bycatch in gillnet and longline fisheries have been carried out with differing success, but a scientifically proven management tool or technical solution working across taxa has yet to be developed. The “Passive” topic group will thus aim to investigate selectivity, efficiency and sturdiness of passive gears, such as gillnets and longlines (mainly species selectivity), fish pots and large-scale fish traps (mainly efficiency and sturdiness). It will document and evaluate current and past work regarding gillnet and longline modifications as well as fish pot and fish trap development. This will include a wide range of fields such as species behaviour, gear design and hydroacoustics. Ongoing and future projects regarding enhanced economical, ecological and social sustainability of passive gears will be discussed and potential synergies identified that will hopefully stimulate new ideas and innovation.

b) TOPIC Group: The use of indicators to describe and compare the performance of fishing gears (Indicators)

Convener: Valentina Melli (Denmark), Jure Brčić (Kroatia), Chryssi Mytilineou (Greece), Jordan Feekings (Denmark), Bent Herrmann (Denmark/Norway)

Terms of reference

  • Review and describe available indicators that enable comparison within and across gear types, including defining their purpose and terminology;
  • Identify the need for additional indicators, for example to evaluate sustainability according to its three pillars (ecological, economic and social);
  • Find data sources (e.g. population structure for target, bycatch and discards) and potential synergies with other fields (e.g. fisheries management, social sciences, fisheries economics);
  • Discuss and describe the use of single and combined indicators as decision-making tools for the stakeholders (fishermen, scientists and managers);
  • Identify reference points (thresholds) to support the fishery management decision-making process;
  • Explore visualization and communication methods to convey both single- and multi-species gear performance to different stakeholders.

Justification: Scientists across many fields are faced with the challenge of synthesizing and communicating in a simple and accessible way complex scientific information to stakeholders. The field of gear technologies is no exception, with an increasing number of studies now including indicators of gear performance in addition to the traditional approach of presenting the species-specific, length-based selective properties of the fishing gear. Such indicators, which can convey the consequences of adopting a gear design in a specific fishery, have shown great potential to support stakeholders’ decision-making processes. They are versatile tools that can be used for multiple purposes. To evaluate the effectiveness of individual gear designs, either active or passive, in relation to sustainability objectives (environmental, economic and social). To compare multiple gear options within a fishery and identify optimal solutions in relation to both single- and multi-species catch objectives. To compare different gear types in terms of outputs (e.g. economic, ecological etc.).

The “Indicators” topic group will aim at reviewing existing tools and identifying further needs for simple, robust, and overarching gear performance indicators under the frame of sustainability. It will explore potential synergies with other fields, including fisheries management, ecosystem modelling, and fisheries economics to maximize the use of existing data. Moreover, it will frame the discussion on what are useful reference points for fishery management and carefully provide guidelines on how to use and visualize the indicators to support decision-making processes.

c) TOPIC Group: Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (TG ALDFG)

Convener: Amparo Perez Roda (Italy); Kelsey Richardson (Italy); Haraldur Einarsson (Iceland)

Terms of reference

  • Review and summarize current and past work to redesign and modify gears to prevent and reduce gear abandonment, loss and discard during fishing operations, including from weather events, gear conflicts, normal wear and repairs and wildlife interactions.
  • Review and summarize current and past work to redesign and modify gears to reduce ghostfishing.
  • Review and summarize current and past work to redesign and modify gears to increase overall circularity of gears, as well as the potential for repurposing and recycling.
  • Map the requirements for and challenges around end-of-life fishing gear collection, sorting and transport to repurposing, recycling or disposal facilities.
  • Investigate and summarize gear marking technologies.
  • Seek synergies with the Indicators TG around identifying and developing ALDFG-related indicators that can inform different aspects of fishing gear design, manufacture and use, and prevent and reduce ALDFG and related impacts.
  • Investigate and summarize best methods to promote and facilitate behavioral changes that support ALDFG prevention and reduction.

Justification: Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is a substantial source of sea-based marine plastic pollution with a wide range of environmental and socioeconomic impacts. Some of these impacts include: wildlife entanglement in and ingestion of ALDFG, ghostfishing (the continued catch of target and non-target species after gear loss), fouling of benthic habitats, transport of invasive species, hazards to navigation and safety at sea, and economic costs and losses to fishers from losses of gear and associated catch. Gear modifications and changes in gear designs can decrease the potential for gear abandonment, loss and discard, as well as ghostfishing, and can support gear marking and tracking technologies. Gear modifications and changes in gear design can also enable better circularity of gears and can enable gear repurposing and recycling efforts.

This topic group will review, discuss and investigate gear modifications and designs that aim to prevent and reduce the occurrence of ALDFG, reduce ghostfishing when ALDFG does occur, enable gear stewardship through the inclusion of gear marking and tracking technologies, and support the responsible discard of recovered ALDFG and other end of life gears. Synergies will also be sought with the Indicators TG to identify gear indicators for ALDFG that can inform fishers/administrators on different aspects of fishing gear that contribute to ALDFG prevention and reduction, minimization of ghostfishing, the potential for gear marking and tracking, and circularity of gear designs. The topic group will also discuss best available mechanisms and methods to drive behavioral change towards ALDFG prevention and reduction.