The Fisheries Sciences and Technologies (Sciences et Technologies Halieutiques) research unit in the RBE Department develops diverse activities in the field of fisheries, from data collection to research studies along a basic-applied research continuum.
The unit is organised into two research laboratories:
- The Fisheries Biology Laboratory (Biologie halieutique — LBH) in Brest,
- The Fisheries Biology and Technology Laboratory (Technologie et de Biologie Halieutique — LTBH) in Lorient.
For fisheries, the unit collects data on the resources and their uses aboard professional fishing vessels, in ports, in collaboration with fishing vessel owners and on-board R/Vs Thalia and Thalassa. It develops observation and in situ measurement systems for fishing gear (video and acoustics) to observe the gear in operation, fish behaviour and to characterise experimental and commercial fishing. An innovative scheme for data acquisition based on an ecosystem approach has been developed: it is a network of measuring fishing activities and environmental parameters aboard volunteer fishing boats.
Database and administration tools for fisheries data have been developed in collaboration with the IMD Department. Data are processed using statistical tools that automatically cross-check the information sources to qualify the data and to produce indicators.
Research is structured around three themes:
- Spatio-temporal dynamics of exploited species under environmental and anthropic forcings Beyond basic knowledge, these developments aim to provide knowledge for the three other themes, particularly for the definition of the essential fish habitats and the structure of fish stocks and ultimately aim to provide data for and update new models or indicators for the ecosystem approach to fisheries.
- Interactions between resource use and species in marine ecosystems
This theme tackles the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the development of marine renewable energies, the creation of protected marine areas and the Common Fisheries Policy. The first aspect involves catch operations and assessing the impact of fishing gear on ecosystems, in view to minimise their impact. The second aspect addresses use conflicts on the coast, by integrating geopositioning data on fishing activities in analyses and models.
- Development of fisheries assessment methods in an ecosystem approach to fisheries Thus, fisheries-specific and multi-specific approaches, regional management plans and evaluation of the bio-economic impacts, the development of assessment methods alternative to analytical models, in cases in which available data are a limiting factor are all topics on which the STH unit can contribute its scientific expertise on the European level.
These three research areas are interdependent and complement each other. The knowledge of species biology and ecology enhance the diagnosis of fish stocks and bio-economic models. The spatial dimension is a cross-cutting topic given that spatial structuring of the essential habitats of study species and the impact of fishing gear on the seafloor affect fishing activities.
In other words, the unit contributes its scientific expertise and advice at various scales in various fields. It is involved in international, European and national assessments. It contributes to assessment of fisheries from the Bay of Biscay to Scotland. Other surveys and assessments are related to the implementation of the MSFD, to requests from regional directorates of the sea on the use of coastal resources, to the analysis of uses other than fishing and the impact of marine uses on resources and marine ecosystems, characterisation of fishing gear with regard to their selectivity, their impact on the seafloor and their energy consumption.