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Growing pressures by various human activities on the marine environment and in-ternational commitments to the conservation of biodiversity or seafloor integrity have led to increased interest in marine spatial planning and in the tools required for an assessment of the impact of these pressures. Fishing is considered, given its wide-spread occurrence, to be the main human activity impacting the seafloor. Vessel Mon-itoring by Satellite (VMS) system data have been collected from 2000 onwards and cover the majority of EU fishing fleet capacity. These data have proven to be a valua-ble source of information on the spatial distribution of fishing effort: especially when combined with logbook data. The combined analyses, therefore, of VMS and logbook data allows researchers to investigate the fine details of fishing behaviour, and esti-mate the distribution of landings (and their cash values) at far higher precision than has been possible in the past. Furthermore the overall impact of fishing on the ma-rine environment can be assessed. The aim of this course is to introduce participants to best practice in the combined analysis of VMS and logbook data. Students will be guided through the entire process starting with the initial handling and processing of the raw data to the final estimation of appropriate indicators.
The objective of the course is to provide instruction in the use of the VMStools soft-ware package for the simultaneous analysis of VMS and logbook data. Emphasis will be placed on exploring the spatial distribution of fisheries, and the behaviour of fish-ers at sea. Students will be guided through the entire process of obtaining and clean-ing VMS and logbook data, making simple plots and combining the datasets to enable more advanced analyses such as dispatching the landings at higher spatio-temporal resolutions (than is available in the logbook data) and calculating indicators (e.g. area of seabed fished). Instruction will also be given in how to use VMStools to convert logbook and VMS data to standard formats such as ICES FishFrame enabling pan-European datasets to be constructed in the future.