1 October 2023Opening of Pre-registration
1 February 2024Opening of abstract submission
31 March 2024Abstract submission deadline
2 April 2024Hotel booking deadline (after that, the group rate expires, and participants will pay normal market rates)
15 April 2024Preliminary Agenda
25 April 2024Final agenda
1 May 2024Meeting Registration deadline
1 May 2024Submission deadline for National Reports
31 May 2024Deadline for eTA (Visa) – To be confirmed
3-7 June 2024Meeting in St. John’s (Canada)


WGFTFB24 – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada)

3-7 June 2024

St. John’s is the capital and largest city of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. The city spans 446.04 km2 (172.22 sq mi) and is the easternmost city in North America (excluding Greenland).

The meeting venue will be Memorial University.


Preferred hotel

ALT Hotel (125 Water Street, St. John’s, NL, Canada), Website

Transportation will be provided to and from this hotel and the university venue (daily)

Be sure to insert the group attendee code FISHMI24

A separate reservation will be required if you wish to book additional dates before or after the dates shown above

Other Hotels

There are several other hotels and Airbnb available throughout the city. If you’d like to stay elsewhere, we recommend you reserve something close to the university venue (155 Ridge Rd.), or close to the Alt Hotel (125 Water Street) so you can avail of the daily bus transportation.

Alternative Hotels include (walking distance to the Alt Hotel)

Courtyard Marriott Hotel
0.4 km
DoubleTree by Hilton
0.5 km
Murrey Premises
0.7 km
Sheraton Hotel
0.7 km
JAG Hotel
1.1 km
Delta Hotel
1.2 km
Hilton Garden Inn
1.3 km

Alternative Accommodations

For those travelling on a smaller budget, another option is the university dorm rooms on the main university campus: https://ca.hotels.com/ho535993/memorial-university-st-john-s-canada/ 

The university is quieter during the summer months, and individual rooms in the student residences can be rented by the night. The student residences are located on Livyers Loop, St. John’s, approximately 2.8 km from the Marine Institute (our daily venue). Just search “Memorial University” in websites such as Hotels.com or Booking.com to find prices and availability. Participants choosing this option will need to find their own transportation to and from the venue. Walking and biking are both very reasonable. As for biking, we already provide some information on this page.

WGFTFB24 Final Agenda

(Click on the Thumbnail to open the Agenda)


Indicators: 3rd floor Room E3315

ALDFG: 1st floor across the cafeteria

Multi-use: stay in the lecture theatre

Topic Groups

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

At one of the meeting days (Wednesday 05.06.2024) the work will be conducted in so-called Topic Groups, which are sub-meetings focusing on specific topics.

During the WGFTFB-meeting 2024, three topic groups will meet

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

Conveners: 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.

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

Conveners: Amparo Perez Roda (Italy); Kelsey Richardson (Italy); Haraldur Einarsson (Iceland); Roger Larsen (Norway);

Terms of reference

    • 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 the overall circularity of gears and the potential for repurposing and recycling.
    • Investigate and summarize gear marking technologies.
    • Develop a guide that outlines essential safety requirements to prevent a loss of fishing gear.
    • Seek synergies with the Indicators TG around identifying and developing ALDFG-related indicators that can be used to guide the analysis of the data collected from the FAO Global ALDFG surveys. The indicators should be designed to meaningfully inform fisheries management policies and interventions designed to prevent and reduce ALDFG.


Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is a 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, production of macro and microplastics, release of toxins, 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. Education and technical guidelines, as well as 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 ghostfishing from ALDFG, 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 fishing gear (EOLFG). 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, minimisation of ghostfishing, the potential for gear marking and tracking, and circularity of gear designs.

c) TOPIC Group: Operational and technical constraints of fishing gears to support coexistence with offshore wind and open-ocean aquaculture (Multi-use)

Conveners: Esther Savina (Denmark), Mattias van Opstal (Belgium), Thomas Noack (Germany)


We believe that a science-based approach to better understand the operational and technical constraints from the offshore wind, open-ocean aquaculture and fishing industries can facilitate coexistence. Focus will be given to discuss how one can design wind and aquaculture projects that guarantee safe conditions of work for the fishers given the specificities of their traditional gears and operational tactics with respect to e.g., alignment, space between machines/cages or cable burial, as well as the potential for innovative fishing capture techniques to accommodate for other users.

Terms of reference

  • Better understanding of the constraints from the different stakeholders by inviting keynote speakers from the various industries (e.g., wind, aquaculture, fisheries, insurance, collision risk)
  • Share experiences from the different countries on multi-use of marine areas including presentations of findings from ongoing research projects
  • Identify knowledge gaps in our current understanding of fishing gear operations, e.g., penetration depth or space required to manoeuvre, to support scientific documentation of the fisheries constraints with respect to multi-use
  • Discuss the potential for innovative fishing capture techniques to accommodate for other users (e.g. within offshore wind farms) incl. passive gears

Justification: With increased competition for space at sea, maritime multi-use is key to enhance the sustainable joint use of resources such as wind, capture of wild fish and fish farming. However, coexistence is not always straightforward, as each industry holds technical specificities required to provide economic viability and safe operation. The objective of the topic group is to develop scientific documentation that provides practical solutions, guidelines, and recommendations to support the harmonious coexistence of all stakeholders, ensuring sustainable resource utilization and minimizing potential conflicts.

Focus Session: Sampling instruments and AI for fishing technology and fish behaviour research (Sampling)

Conveners: Pieke Molenaar (Netherlands), Daniel Stepputis (Germany)


In WGFTFB a wide range of sampling instruments and technologies are used to collect data on gear performance and fish behaviour. Research groups are developing innovative technologies that can be useful for other groups that aim for similar research. This focus session will be in plenary to focus discussions on this topic that affects all of the work WGFTFB does. This focus session provides a platform to share recent developments in sampling instruments and AI used for fishing technology and fish behaviour data.

Terms of reference

  • Summarize current and past work in relation to technological developments in sampling instruments used for obtaining fishing technology and fish behaviour (FTFB) observation and data
  • Discuss instruments and methods and their limitations that are used to collect FTFB data on (commercial fishing) vessels.
  • Identify synergies, developments and make recommendations on how to improve technologies used in FTFB research

Justification: In fishing technology and fish behaviour research a wide range of technologies is used to collect data on gear performance, catch composition and species behaviour related to innovative fishing gear solutions. For example, for assessing trawl- and fish behaviour often under water camera systems are used, with in some circumstances specialized solutions to project camera systems, extend battery life or deployment on great depths. Within WGFTFB presentations on those specialized solutions and what is on the marked, can inform members and help them acquiring better data. Besides most WGFTFB research is involving catch comparisons between conventional en innovative gears. Those comparisons involve usually length and weight measurements. Especially weight measurements can be challenging on a moving vessel. Information about sea state compensated (or other) solutions that have been developed to assess the catch weight and comparisons between solutions will help working group members in their search to optimize research procedures. Other interesting innovations on fish detection, artificial intelligence, sensor systems or fish morphology measurement systems that could be of relevance for the WGFTFB members might be included in this focus session.

Examples of topics that can be presented during this focus session


  • Underwater camera systems (including batteries and lights)
  • Protective housing for underwater camera systems and advances in attachment to the gear
  • Drone, kite or sheet applications for clear images of underwater camera systems


  • Application of AI to analyse (fish behaviour) under water recordings

Catch weighing/estimations

  • Sea state compensated weighing equipment for accurate measurements at sea (on commercial vessels)
  • Applications for total catch measurements (weight/volume)
  • Electronic monitoring catch composition and length distribution

(fish) detection without visibility

  • Electroscopy
  • Side scan sonar

Trawl behaviour

  • Instruments for trawl flow measurements
  • Instruments for in trawl tilt/shape measurements

Morphology and fish condition

  • Instruments to analyse fish morphology (advances on fish select)
  • Swim tunnels/donuts

Sensor systems

  • Collect environmental data
  • Fishing gear position

And any other relevant technological innovation related to WGFTFB research