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Mapping and investigating injuries in flatfish and whiting in the North Sea. (VERWONDING)

Main research question/goal
How big of a problem, and more importantly, what is the cause of an inexplicable increase in the number of injuries present in dab, sole and whiting in the North Sea? Is there a connection with electrical fishing, which is currently being used experimentally by Dutch fishing vessels? The fisheries sector asked ILVO to research these questions. Injuries to (wild) fish can have different causes. In the sector, the finger is pointed at the electric pulse fisheries. Scientists have insufficient data to make an immediate statement about the possible cause of these injuries.

Research approach
We inventory the injuries in sole, dab and whiting. We take samples of the immediate area of ??injuries. We test those for the presence of bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites and / or toxins. We determine the overall health status of the animal by analyzing samples of the gills and internal organs. We are investigating whether there may be trauma, weakening, or environmental pollution, changes in salt content or acidity and other environmental factors.

We expect to provide a scientifically based confirmation or denial of the hypothesis that the injuries to sole, dab and whiting are the result of electric pulse fishing. The results of this research are important for the reputation of pulse fishing and the extent to which the fisheries sector and the government will be inclined to embrace that new technology in the future. The final report is distributed within the sector. In the scientific world, we aim for an peer-reviewed (A1) scientific publication.
Date:1 Sep 2014 →  31 Dec 2015