Electronic catch registration onboard commercial fishing vessels for commercial and scientific use
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In assessment and management of marine fish resources, representative data of statistically good quality describing the actual catch are lacking for many fisheries. Even for the most studied fisheries in the north Atlantic, the uncertainty regarding what is actually caught has implications for management. Fish stock assessments and sound advice in most cases rely on representative samples of catches. Distant and high sea fisheries often suffer from poor sampling due to sampling personal logistics. Consequently, stock assessment and management of marine fish resources exploited by those fisheries are based on poor or scarce catch data. Presently, sampling at sea are often random in time and place, and not necessarily representative with respect to the fleet metier. Biological sampling in distant waters is a challenge due to logistics and high costs. The use of electronic scales onboard commercial fishing vessels opens for a new approach in data collection. In recent years electronic scales measuring individual fish weights on deck have been connected to GPS in combination with data on depth, fishing gear, logbook information etc. This approach will link detailed data to auxiliary information on the fishery, thereby meet the challenges of obtaining representative fishery data, continuous and full sampling providing a sufficient data basis for fish stock assessments and subsequent fisheries management for species found in distant waters.