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FP6

UNCOVER — Result In Brief

Project ID: 22717
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Germany

Overturning overfishing all over Europe

EU-funded research examined how fish stocks can recover from the brink of extinction. Project outcomes led to important recommendations designed to instil sustainability in fishery management.
Overturning overfishing all over Europe
Throughout history, a number of species have been fished to the point of no return. Responses to these collapses in fish stocks have varied, as have their results, with fishing bans being the most common.

The question is – once a species has reached this stage – what can be done to help it recover? Members of the 'Understanding the mechanisms of stock recovery' (Uncover) project aimed to find out with the aid of EU funding.

Earlier as well as more recent research in this field was synthesised and analysed with respect to biological, environmental, economic and social aspects. Different types of computer-based models were also employed to provide insight into the effectiveness of the various approaches to stock recovery.

This assessment helped quantify the impact of environmental conditions, species-specific life-cycle characteristics, interaction among different species in the same ecosystem and, of course, human intervention.

The outcome of Uncover was the development of long-term management plans (LTMPs) and recovery plans for 11 fisheries spread over 4 regions. Importantly, economic and, in particular, social implications were given as much weight as technical aspects. It should also be noted that the LTMPs were not simply a list of measures; for example, potential pitfalls with implementation were highlighted. The recovery plans were also extended to address the fishermen, not just the fish.

Finally, the Uncover team made several recommendations concerning the key elements that should be accounted for when designing and implementing recovery initiatives. These deliverables will be of great value to fishery managers as well as policymakers.

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