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Fisheries in the full ecosystem context


Building on related work done in previous research and innovation framework programmes and in other EU-funded programmes, research activities shall fill in knowledge gaps which hinder an efficient, ecosystem-based approach to the management of fisheries (e.g. biological characteristics and assessment of marine habitats; links of environmental factors and abundance, health, growth, reproduction etc. of fish stocks and human health and consumption etc., taking into account sex and gender differences if and where relevant; relations of different trophic levels in the food chain; efficiency of management measures protecting the ecosystem, interactions with and impacts from/on other uses of the sea). The proposals shall integrate existing and new knowledge in modelling or other applied tools/methods which can be used by scientific advisory bodies in sustainable fisheries management.

Following the principles of responsible research and innovation, proposals will ensure that societal players work together during the whole research and innovation process. Proposals should also test the efficiency of the proposed solutions across Europe.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 8 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Fisheries, an important part of the blue economy, provides food, generates gross profit of around EUR 1,342 billion and accounts for more than 150,000[[Facts and figures on the CFP Basic statistical data 2016 Edition ISSN 1977-3609 EU publication office]] jobs, and contributes to coastal social cohesion and resilience. The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) regulates access to and use of the marine living resources. The CFP seeks to apply the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, with fishing in line with the Maximum Sustainable Yield concept and minimizing the effect of fishing on the ecosystem[[Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 And (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC]]. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires that fish and shellfish stocks are in good environmental status[[Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy]]. The Maritime Spatial Planning Directive[[Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning]] aims to regulate uses of the marine environment. The design of such policies can be better served with a holistic, integrated approach. For successful policy implementation an improvement of our predictive capacity of environmental impacts on marine biogeochemistry and productivity, food webs and ecosystem structure and functioning, is required. Considerable effort to scientifically and technically support these policy objectives goes hand in hand with filling considerable gaps in basic knowledge and providing predictive tools available for integrated management.

In the framework of UN SDGs (1, 2, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14), the Common Fisheries Policy, the Food 2030 policy blueprint for food and nutrition security, the BLUEMED strategic research and innovation agenda and the Atlantic research and innovation cooperation, proposals will:

  • Improve integrated understanding of environmental impacts on marine ecosystem and food web structure and reduce uncertainties in future projections;
  • Improve fisheries management assisting EU Member States to comply in a meaningful way with the requirements of European and international marine related legislation;
  • Contribute to conserve and restore fish stocks, and to regulate harvesting of fishing and end overfishing including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices, and to contribute to the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems;
  • Provide improved tools for ecosystem-based fisheries management which are tested, effective, discussed with scientific bodies in charge of advising on stock, fisheries and ecosystem dynamics and that are fit for the 21st century;
  • Ensure that the ecosystem-based approach to the sustainable use of seas can be applied by different public bodies and in the framework of different public policies;
  • Provide improved alignment of research and innovation processes and their outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society;
  • Contribute to a thriving fishing sector and to a thriving European blue economy, including improved professional skills and competences;

In the medium term:

  • Improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy.
  • Contribute to policymaking in research, innovation and technology.