Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Understanding marine foodweb processes: an ecosystem approach to sustainable sandeel fisheries in the North Sea

Numerous scientific publications have already been published, others are shortly foreseen or currently in preparation. These publications focus on two fields: ecological outcomes and fisheries management outcomes. Changes in numbers of many North Sea seabirds over the last 15-20 years have varied from long-term increases in some to declines in others. Combining information on at-sea distribution and activity (both from visual observations and from data collected with instrumented individuals) with oceanographic data has highlighted the complex interplay between seabird foraging success, feeding location and inter-specific competition and facilitation. Thanks to multi-disciplinary projects such as IMPRESS, do we begin to understand the functional links between marine predators, their prey and the marine climate and may we thus come closer to ecosystem-based fisheries management which is considered a major scientific breakthrough. However, we are still some way from having all the background knowledge required for such an approach. Given the increasing pressures on the North Sea ecosystem from both fisheries and climate change, using top predators to monitor ecosystem health is an attractive concept. However, simple and seemingly straightforward signals such as the breeding success or population trend of one or few species to monitor the well-being (or prey availability) of a complex and large community do not provide sufficient insight necessary for an adequate management of ecologically important areas.

Reported by

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
1794 BJ Den Burg
See on map
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top