The ambition of the PFA is to maintain a sustainable fishery for pelagic fish stocks, both now and in the future. Collaboration with science and research is an important requirement for that ambition. Martin Pastoors is PFA's Chief Science Officer and responsible for the implementation of the PFA research strategy.

Research news


Real-time fish classification from acoustic broadband data

5 September 2019

In collaboration with Wageningen Marine Research (WMR) and the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research (TNO), a research project has been completed that looked into the possibilities of developing and implementing real-time species identification and fish sizing algorithms using broadband echosounders (SIMRAD EK80). Through a period of four years, data were collected by different pelagic fishing vessels across the North Sea and Western waters Acoustic data was collected together with species compositions and length measurements on a haul-by-haul basis. Improved data processing was developed with accurate calculation and correction of the acoustic signal and efficient handling of the data. Two separate classifiers were developed that both use a machine learning approach that draw on the collected data. The results exemplify high accuracy levels of species classification (~95%). Expectedly, Mackerel is identified very accurately (>99%) although accuracies for Herring and Horse Mackerel were also very high (>91%). The classification is currently mostly based on data from one of the vessels. Because of the discrepancies between calibrations trials, it was not possible to fully combine the data from the different vessels at this stage. The full report is available at:

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If you want to know more about
the PFA research activities,
please contact Martin Pastoors,
PFA’s Chief Science Officer.
Phone +31 631901027
Skype martin.pastoors