The mesopelagic zone, at depths between 200 and 1 000 metres below the ocean’s surface, represents one of the largest unexploited resource left in the world’s oceans and could contain total fish biomass that is 100 times the annual catch of all existing fisheries. The EU-funded project MEESO – Ecologically and economically sustainable mesopelagic fisheries – aims to fill in major knowledge gaps on the mesopelagic organisms and their role in and interactions with the marine ecosystem and to evaluate whether they can be exploited in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.
MEESO will develop new tools and technologies for abundance estimation, such as submersible acoustics and fine meshed trawls, as well as assessment and management roadmaps. Further, MEESO will explore new technologies for commercial fishing and processing and map contaminant and nutrient contents to explore the basis for a viable and sustainable fishery. Its aim will be to find a balance between exploitation, sustainability and viability of the mesopelagic resources.