Sector | Marine sector Fishing industry
Shipowners, fishers, fishmongers, and the parties involved in the fishing industry policy will find an answer to the question “what can ILVO do for me?” here. You’ll get a brief overview of relevant expertise, analyses, infrastructure, and the professional approach that characterizes ILVO. You can contact the Marine Living Lab for specific services and questions regarding possible collaborations.
What does ILVO do?
ILVO designs fishing gear, makes and tests scale models, builds them to scale, and evaluates their performance and impact at sea. This is done by means of catch analysis, underwater recordings, tensile force measurements, and acoustic measurements. ILVO does this for both trawler fishing and passive techniques. The aim is to support the fishing industry in its pursuit of sustainable fishing.
See our list of co-creation opportunities in fisheries.
ILVO focuses on precision fishing in close cooperation with some ship owners in order to accelerate the introduction of digitalization in our marine fisheries. To this end, all instruments that produce data on board fishing vessels together with a number of new sensors will be connected in real-time to the cloud. This mix of data allows for the design of business intelligence tools, which give the ship owner and skipper the ability to fish much more efficiently and sustainably. The data forms a unique new data stream from the fishing fleet with high resolution in space and time.
ILVO also evaluates the potential of residual flows from the fishing industry (bycatch, cuttings, shells, etc.) and the fish processing sector as biomass for the bioeconomy. In addition to recycling and waste reduction, the profitability of the blue sectors is a priority.
ILVO develops and implements methods to score the sustainability of fishing activities and related products. With the sustainability trajectory ‘Visserij Verduurzaamt’ (Towards a more sustainable fishery), ILVO has created a scientific basis with indicators that reliably score the sustainability of the fishing fleet, sub fleets, and individual vessels. Fishermen and scientists work together to make measurable adjustments to their way of working in order to improve their sustainability score. ILVO also monitors the sustainability of the fishing industry products, both from wild-catch and fish farms. Based on this data, sustainability information sheets can be drawn up for specific products.
ILVO conducts research into the impact of the fishing industry on seabed life, on fish stocks, and on the use of space at sea. ILVO also evaluates the effects of quota management, limitations on fishing efforts, technical adaptations, etc. ILVO has built up expertise in collecting both biological data of fish species and ecosystem data. The focus is on the Belgian fishing industry and the species and areas fished by the Belgian fleet.
ILVO also collects and analyzes data on catch and by-catch at sea and in the fish auction. Age determination of the sampled fish is performed based on otoliths, or ear stones. Under the ICES umbrella, ILVO participates in state assessments and policy advice for the fishing industry.
> See the current state of the fish stocks here.
The marine space is increasingly shared by a growing number of users. ILVO detects possible conflicts and investigates possibilities for shared use of space. This knowledge is translated into tools and advice that can be consulted at the local and European level.
ILVO designs and tests equipment and software for collecting data on fish stocks, socioeconomic parameters, fish processing, recreational fishing, etc. ILVO then manages and links the collected data for use in socioeconomic models and participation processes. The data is checked, processed, and visualized through software development and online tools.
Economic sustainability is also an important pillar in the fishing industry research at ILVO. After all, profitability and sustainability go hand in hand. ILVO strives for livelihood security and a more stable income for all links in the fishing industry chain, through economic business and sector analysis, research into profitability, added value, market competition, organization of sales, and consumer preferences.
How does ILVO work?
ILVO wants to support all those involved in fishing industry management, the fishing industry, and the fishing industry trade in its pursuit of sustainable fishing with the above broad palette of expertise and a modern research infrastructure. A multidisciplinary scientific team with an extensive network is assisted by an experienced team of the fishing industry technicians and sea-going observers who are responsible for the fieldwork on land and at sea.
Your point of contact: Marine Living Lab
ILVO’s Marine Living Lab strives for accelerated and sustainable innovation in the blue sectors, including the fishing industry, through co-creation. ILVO listens to you, analyzes your question or challenge, and – together with you – searches for a (high-tech) solution and a concrete project, as well as suitable partners and funding. ILVO scientifically follows up on the implementation of the joint project.
Your ILVO guarantee
- Scientifically-based solutions
- Individual and/or co-creative guidance for innovation trajectories
- Confidential treatment of your question
- Clear and easy-to-interpret results that are applicable to day-to-day operations
- Technological support for various farm processes
Specialized research infrastructure
- Lab for fish processing
- Lab to determine the age of fish
- Experimental infrastructure with seawater tanks
- Net room for making fishing nets suitable for experimental research
- Access to research vessels: ILVO cooperates closely with VLIZ and OD Natuur for sampling at sea, with the research vessels Simon Stevin and Belgica, respectively
- Access to commercial vessels in cooperation with shipowners
ILVO is an active member of The Blue Cluster and of the Covenant for a Sustainable Fishing Industry (NL). On an international level, ILVO works closely with ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
All ILVO expertises at your service
ILVO works in an interdisciplinary fashion and has a network of living labs that work closely together. A problem or question is therefore examined from many different angles by ILVO experts from different disciplines. This is guaranteed by ILVO's broad and systematic approach, together with the typical openness of the ILVO culture.