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European Marine Protected Areas as tools for FISHeries management and conservation


The present research proposal has three general objectives: I) To investigate the potential of different regimes of MPAs in Europe as measures to protect sensitive and endangered species, habitats and ecosystems from the effects of fishing. II) To develop quantitative methods to assess the effects of marine protected areas. III) To provide EU with a set of integrated measures and policiy proposals for the implementation of MPAs as fisheries and ecosystem management tools. Objective I is to be completed through the compilation, comparative analysis, and interpretation of data issued from selected case studies amongst EU MPAs, considering ecological (WP1), fishery (WP2), and socio-economic (WP3) aspects (the latter making the distinction between consumptive, non-consumptive, and institutional benefits and costs). In all cases, data already exist, or, in some cases, will be sampled in situ to complete the inputs to subsequent tasks. Case studies will be selected among the most studied European MPAs after a first typification, considering the following major management regimes: i) no-take zones, ii) partial reserves, and iii) species-oriented reserves. A second source of information will emerge from meta-analysis of published results (both in the European context, and worldwide). Objective II is being approached by providing and evaluating impact indicators of MPA effects (WP4) (considering ecological, fisheries, and socio-economic effect), and through the use of bio-economic modelling (WP5) (the latter serving also to complete the depiction of scenarios defined by different protection regimes, as empirically observed from previous WPs). Objective III will consist on, based on the results of prior WPs, providing management guidelines for the implementation, management, monitoring, and assessment of EU MPAs. A Decision Support System is to be designed as a tool to help stakeholders applying this essential instrument for the management of marine ecosystem and resources.

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