Science - April 7, 2016

Innovation pays off for Kotter fisheries

Albert Sikkema

Who? Mike Turenhout, researcher at the LEI
What? Presented positive figures on Kotter fisheries
Where? Most daily newspapers, Omroep Flevoland (a regional broadcasting company) and Twitter

Why all that attention?

‘The main reason is that it was positive news, I think. In 2008 the Kotter fisheries were still running at a loss due to high fuel prices and low fish prices. Last year the fishers made a profit thanks to energy-saving fishing techniques, a low fuel price and higher prices for the main fish species – sole and plaice. That good result was news.’

Environmental performance has improved too.

‘Yes, CO2 emissions in Kotter fisheries – a hot item – have dropped by about 65 percent in the last 20 years. So the results are going down well with environmental organizations as well.’

What was the main reason for the improvement?

‘Innovation. Nearly all the Kotter fishers used to use the bottom trawler, which was dragged along the sea floor, mainly to catch flatfish. The bottom trawler uses three or four times as much fuel as the efficient alternative, electric pulse fishing. About 80 of the 280 Kotters have now switched to the pulse technique. That switch leads to lower costs and

CO2 emissions per kilo of fish.’