International fisheries scientists meeting in Nelson

Scientists from around the globe are meeting in Nelson next week to discuss the latest advances in fisheries technology.

Scientists from around the globe are meeting in Nelson next week to discuss the latest advances in fisheries technology.

This is the first time the global organisation ICES, or International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, has held a conference in New Zealand and more than 130 people are attending.

ICES is an intergovernmental organisation with a network of about 5000 scientists from more than 690 marine institutes. Its main objective is to increase scientific knowledge of the marine environment with the goal of providing the best available science for decision-makers on the sustainable use of the marine environment and ecosystems.

The Nelson conference has attracted participants from 20 countries and comprises two ICES’ working groups who meet once every three years for a joint meeting. One working group focuses on the development and application of technology for observing the marine environment, such as acoustic sensors; while the other studies measurements and observations relating to commercial fishing gear and fish behaviour.

NIWA fisheries scientist Dr Richard O’Driscoll chairs the first working group and says hosting these meetings provides a valuable opportunity to bring leading international experts to New Zealand.

“This gives us an opportunity to showcase our own fishing industry, science and successful fisheries management as well as create links between New Zealand international organisations.”

The focus of the conference will be on new research and emerging issues in fisheries science and technology, and on the benefits that flow from research through to management, regulation, conservation, and towards the target of sustainability of marine environments. 

Several sessions will focus on the latest scientific methods and technology to reduce bycatch with successful case studies being presented, including one from NIWA marine ecologist Dr Emma Jones who will report on industry-led efforts to reduce catches of small fish in Hawke’s Bay.

Dr O’Driscoll says New Zealand leads the way in collaboration between science and the fishing industry. “We tend to work in deeper and rougher waters than anyone else so we lead some of the development of technology to find and catch fish at extreme depths.”

The event is being held at Nelson’s Rutherford Hotel from April 3 to 7 and will be officially opened by Nelson mayor Rachel Reese.

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