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Institute of

OF Baltic Sea Fisheries


Does the efficiency of PAL to reduce harbor porpoise bycatch persist?

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© Thünen-Institut/Jerome Chladek
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PAL use in German waters - Current efficiency and mode of operation

This project investigates whether the effect of PAL devices, which fishers in Schleswig-Holstein have been voluntarily attaching to their set nets since 2017 to avoid harbor porpoise bycatch, persists over long periods of time.

Background and Objective

Special warning devices (Porpoise ALert, PAL) that reduce the bycatch of harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in set nets have been used by fishers in Schleswig-Holstein on a voluntary basis since 2017. However, it is unclear whether the effect of the PAL, as demonstrated by the Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, persists over long periods of time, or whether it might diminish as harbor porpoises become accustomed to the warning signals. The third-party funded project "PAL use in German waters - Current efficiency and mode of operation" (PAL-CE), led by the Deutsches Meeresmuseum Stralsund and funded by the Federan Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz), will contribute to clarifying these questions over the next three years. Additional partners to this project are the Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries (project leader Dr. C. von Dorrien), the Aarhus University (Denmark), the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet Stockholm (Sweden) and the Ostsee Info Center Eckernförde (Germany).


While the Deutsches Meeresmuseum will study the reaction of harbor porpoises to the PAL, one of the activities of the Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries will be to record the fishing effort of the set net fishery carried out in the study area. This will be done primarily using a smartphone program developed at the institute, the MoFi app, which will be adapted and expanded for these specific studies.

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)
    (national, öffentlich)


10.2021 - 10.2024

More Information

Project status: ongoing

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