Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Development of an ecosystem based fisheries management protocol

The original MAFCONS concept of managing fisheries in the North Sea so as to conserve demersal fish and benthic invertebrate species diversity (requirements under OSPAR, 1992, "Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic"; CBD "The Rio Convention on Biological Diversity"; and "The European Union Marine Strategy Directive") was based on the premise that, through the manipulation of TACs, the spatial distribution of fishing effort could be influenced such that the detrimental effects of fishing on species diversity could be minimised.

This initial objective required the ability to predict fishing effort patterns associated with each set of TACs. This relationship remains problematic. However, the data collected during the course of MAFCONS provides an invaluable source of information for identifying areas of particular ecological importance. The impacts of fishing activity can then be minimised in these areas by the use of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and thereby assist the EC in its requirements for meeting its ecological goals within the various legal frameworks. Not only can such data suggest appropriate areas for closure but the models developed within MAFCONS can help quantify the fishing effort displaced by an MPA into the surrounding areas in order to maintain landings (financial return) and can also assess the amount by which landings (if TACs still operable) or effort (if effort controls are employed) would need to be reduced in order to prevent further ecological damage to the surrounding areas and can be used for any future Impact Assessment requirements by EC.

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Swansea University
Singleton park
SA2 8PP SWANSEA
United Kingdom
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