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CORDIS

SEals And FIsheries Coexisting Sustainably

Project description

How to resolve seal-fisher conflicts

Fish predation and damage to nets and gear resulting in loss of time and money are causes of strife between seals and fishing communities around the world. In recent years, conflicts have escalated significantly; hence, an effective and pragmatic solution to the problem is urgently needed. The EU-funded SEAFICS project will address this challenge, using an area across South-West Ireland as a case study for seal-fishery conflict. SEAFICS will combine stakeholder engagement, emerging technologies and advanced statistical analyses to assess interactions between seals and fisheries and minimise conflicts through the development of effective mitigation. The project's findings will be used to respond to pressing socio-economic and conservation issues both across Europe and globally.

Objective

Interactions between seals and the fishing industry occur globally, with depredation – the full or part removal of fish from nets by seals, leading to significant conflict. Fishers suffer economic losses due to loss of catch, gear damage and time spent disentangling damaged fish/by-caught seals, while ecological impacts can include seal mortality (by-catch and/or authorised/illegal killing), alongside changes in animal behaviour (e.g. seals may become reliant on artificial food sources). In recent years, conflicts have escalated substantially, and an effective and pragmatic solution to the issue is urgently required. Using an area of high seal-fishery conflict across south-west Ireland as a case study, SEAFICS combines stakeholder engagement, method development, the application of emerging technologies, and advanced statistical analyses, to assess interactions between seals and fisheries, and minimise conflicts through the development of effective mitigation. This will be achieved by addressing 4 research objectives: (1) the assessment of the perceived extent and impact of seal depredation via interviews and survey questionnaires with fishers, (2) the quantification of depredation at fishing nets through the development and application of a novel method that uses accelerometers to detect sub-surface hidden depredation events (which in past assessments have been unaccounted for), (3) the mitigation of seal depredation by applying newly developed targeted acoustic deterrent technology and assessing its effectiveness, and (4) the assessment of fisher views on the mitigation system and its practical use. During the implementation of SEAFICS, a tailored training program will develop & strengthen the applying researcher’s expertise & skills, such that future independence and career prospects in applied research are enhanced. The innovative and timely research of SEAFICS will address pressing socio-economic & conservation issues both across Europe and globally.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK - NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, CORK
Net EU contribution
€ 196 590,72
Address
WESTERN ROAD
T12 YN60 Cork
Ireland

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Region
Ireland Southern South-East
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 196 590,72