DOI: 10.14466/CefasDataHub.23

North Sea Historical Effort by Rectangle by Year: 1913 -1980


This dataset includes long-term, spatially detailed information on UK trawl and seine fishing effort in the North Sea, by year and ICES rectangle. The period covered is 1923–1980 excluding the years during and immediately after both World Wars. Effort data (number of hours fishing) are shown separately for each of the major historical demersal trawling and seining fleets of the UK: sailing trawlers (pre-WWII only), steam trawlers (until the 1970s), motor trawlers, steam seiners (pre-WWII only), and motor seiners.

These data were digitised from historical ‘Statistical Charts’ formerly produced by Cefas (then the Directorate of Fisheries Research [DFR]). For a catalogue providing a full description and metadata of the charts, including historical context, see Engelhard (2005).

The gear used on all sailing trawlers was the wooden beam trawl. All steam and motor trawlers during the time period covered used otter trawls. The gears used on seiners were either ‘Danish seines’ or ‘Scottish seines.’ See the table below for an explanation of the variable names included in the dataset, which has been compiled as comma-delimited flatfile (*.csv) to facilitate long-term data storage and compatibility.

Blank values in data = N/A

In order to QA the raw data, variety of queries in R were used, that allowed tabulation and plotting of the data.


Engelhard, Georg / Brown, Mary / Pattison, David / Angelus, Suzy / Dale, Susan / Dann, Michelle / Davison, Phil


Fish, Fish abundance in water bodies, Advice, Analysis, Management, Monitoring, Stock (biological), FishDAC, Species

Start Date


End Date


Year Published





Engelhard et al. (2016). North Sea Historical Effort by Rectangle by Year: 1913 -1980. Cefas, UK. V1. doi: