What is the catch of gillnet fishermen?


Stellnetzfischer auf der Ostsee (c) Thünen-Institut/Daniel Stepputtis
Stellnetzfischer auf der Ostsee (© Thünen-Institut/Daniel Stepputtis)

DCF: (Data Collection Framework): Quantification of the catches and bycatches of the German gill net fishery

The gillnet fishery is a central pillar of the German fisheries in the Baltic Sea. We regularly sample the catches and by-catches on board of gillnetters.

Background and Objective

The gill net fisheries are of great importance along the German Baltic Sea coast, both from a fishing and socio-economic point of view. In the past, little was known about the dynamics of these fisheries, except for the landings. Since several years we regularly have scientific observers onboard of vessels of this important fleet segment, for example to estimate discards.

The gill net fisheries generally are a very selective and environmentally sound catch method. However, the nets consist of very thin material that is virtually invisible for both fish and other animals. Harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) or diving sea birds can entangle in the nets and drown. These bycatches are not intended by the fisher but could pose a threat to the affected populations of sea birds and marine mammals like harbor porpoises if too many specimens die as unwanted bycatch. Our scientific observers also document such bycatch events.


The sampling of the gill net fisheries is carried out by scientific observers which measure the catch on board of commercial fishing vessels. The data are mainly used to calculate discard ratios of the passive gear fisheries. In addition, documentation of the amount of unwanted bycatches may help to estimate the level of threat possibly affecting populations of sea birds and marine mammals. Both observer trips with and without bycatches are documented.

Preliminary Results

The intensive sampling of the gill net fishery improve the database used for stock management. Moreover, the documention of the unwanted bycatches supports in estimatiing the impact assessment of the gill net fishery on birds and marine mammels (harbour porpoises and seals).


Involved Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • EU - European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
    (international, öffentlich)


Permanent task 1.2001 - 12.2027

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing


hits: 3

  1. Meyer S, Krumme U (2021) Disentangling complexity of fishing fleets: using sequence analysis to classify distinguishable groups of vessels based on commercial landings. Fish Manag Ecol 28(3):268-282, DOI:10.1111/fme.12472
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 2034 kb
  2. Funk S, Krumme U, Temming A, Möllmann C (2020) Gillnet fishers’ knowledge reveals seasonality in depth and habitat use of cod (Gadus morhua) in the Western Baltic Sea. ICES J Mar Sci 77(5):1816-1829, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsaa071
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 986 kb
  3. Oesterwind D, Krumme U, Zimmermann C (2012) Zwischenbericht 2011: Pilotstudie zur Dokumentation von Seevogel und Meeressäugerbeifängen in der Stellnetzfischerei der Fischereigenossenschaft Freest im Gebiet um Rügen. Rostock: Thünen-Institut für Ostseefischerei