Europe invests millions in ecosystem-based fisheries management project
Almost 8 million euros (9.3 million USD) have been allocated by the European Union to the EcoScope consortium to promote an effective and efficient ecosystem approach to fisheries management in the waters of the region.
The new four-year project addresses ecosystem degradation and anthropogenic impacts that lead to unsustainable exploitation of fisheries in European seas. EcoScope will develop several tools – which will include an interoperable platform, a decision support toolkit and online course “to promote efficient, holistic, sustainable and ecocentric fisheries management. “
According to the EcoScope project coordinator, Athanassios C. Tsikliras, EcoScope is applying new assessment methods for fisheries and data-poor marine ecosystems, as well as sophisticated ecosystem models, which will be used to examine and develop management scenarios. fisheries and maritime policy and maritime spatial planning simulations.
The project will include an assessment of the state of all ecosystem components in European seas and test new technologies to assess the environmental, anthropogenic and climatic impact on ecosystems and fisheries. Its approach will support policymakers, advisory bodies and researchers, according to Tsiklira, which is also an aassociate professor at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
“Existing fisheries management practices – mainly based on single or multi-species approaches – have failed to sustainably exploit fish stocks, due to weaknesses in management approaches, poor implementation and illegal fishing, ”Tsikliras told SeafoodSource. “Commercial and recreational fishing has a tremendous impact on all levels of biological organization and community structure, including organisms, habitats and ecosystems, raising an urgent need for a holistic approach to fisheries management. in the context of an ecosystem, i.e. ecocentric (ecosystem-based or ecosystem-based) fisheries management.
Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) recognizes the physical, biological, economic and social tradeoffs that affect the fisheries sector and the need to take these tradeoffs into account when optimizing the fish yields of an ecosystem, Tsikliras said. .
Regarding European fisheries which are currently of particular concern, he said stocks of fish of no commercial interest have generally been overlooked and the conservation status of marine megafauna is unknown in many areas of Europe, especially in Mediterranean and Black Sea.
“Thus, the European fisheries which are of particular concern and could benefit the most from the EcoScope project are mainly the Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries as a whole, but also some fisheries in the North-East Atlantic and the Baltic, ”Tsikliras said. “All fisheries will benefit from the development of tools and the EcoScope platform, but above all [those] fisheries managers and decision-makers who [then] have the tools to help them make decisions.
The EcoScope consortium, which received funding under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, is made up of 24 partners from Greece, Bulgaria, Germany, Canada, Israel, Philippines, Spain, France, Belgium , United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Malta, Norway, Switzerland and Cyprus.
Photo courtesy of Rudmer Zwerver / Shutterstock