In 2006, the UN General Assembly Resolution (61/105) called upon fisheries management organisations worldwide to: i) assess the impact of bottom fishing on vulnerable marine ecosystems, ii) identify/map vulnerable ecosystems through improved scientific research/data collection, and iii) close such areas to bottom fishing unless conservation and management measures were established to prevent their degradation. In European deep waters, in addition, there is now a need to establish monitoring tools to evaluate the effectiveness of closed areas for the conservation of biodiversity and fish and their impact on fisheries. Currently the tools necessary to achieve these management goals are wholly lacking. CoralFISH aims to support the implementation of an ecosystem-based management approach in the deep-sea by studying the interaction between cold-water coral habitat, fish and fisheries. CoralFISH brings together a unique consortium of deep-sea fisheries biologists, ecosystem researchers/modellers, economists and a fishing industry SME, who will collaborate to collect data from key European marine eco-regions. CoralFISH will: i) develop essential methodologies and indicators for baseline and subsequent monitoring of closed areas, ii) integrate fish into coral ecosystem models to better understand coral fish-carrying capacity, iii) evaluate the distribution of deepwater bottom fishing effort to identify areas of potential interaction and impact upon coral habitat, iv) use genetic fingerprinting to assess the potential erosion of genetic fitness of corals due to long-term exposure to fishing impacts, v) construct bio-economic models to assess management effects on corals and fisheries to provide policy options, and vi) produce as a key output, habitat suitability maps both regionally and for OSPAR Region V to identify areas likely to contain vulnerable habitat. The latter will provide the EU with the tools to address the issues raised by the UNGA resolution.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-IP - Large-scale integrating project
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