Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - INCOFISH (Integrating Multiple Demands on Coastal Zones with Emphasis on Aquatic Ecosystems and Fisheries)

The INCOFISH project objective was to conduct extensive research on reconciling multiple demands on coastal zones, focusing on developing countries. The project aimed to apply an integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) approach in order to contribute to achieving the targets set by the World Summit for sustainable development in Johannesburg.

The developed tools and concepts were evaluated through real-time applications in large marine ecosystems around the world. A project-related internet portal was established and regularly updated, providing access to all data, tools, models, documents and involved partners. The project outcomes were accessible through this portal and included:
1. A database with historic catch and effort data, in order to resolve the 'shifting baseline' syndrome in fisheries, i.e. the progressive distortion of the common perception regarding the health and abundance of fish species, which was noted between different human generations.
2. An online atlas with standardised electronic maps for the population and expansion of numerous organisms, including fish, aquatic mammals and invertebrates. The preferred environmental conditions for key marine coastal-zone species were indentified and extensive datasets were integrated for the maps' elaboration.
3. Various standardised versions of available ecosystem models, whose preparation required extensive analysis of ecosystem dynamics' simulation, particularly with regard to the fitting process, including both validation and sources of variation. Further improvement to account for climate change was also suggested. Finally, an effort towards characterising and incorporating alternative indicators for trophic networks was initiated.
4. A tool for selecting suitable marine protection areas (MPAs), which provided best-practice options in cases of conflicting demands.
5. A tool for visualisation and analysis of flows of fish, cash and labour in the coastal zone. Coastal managers were therefore provided with a decision-making and communication framework for ICZM. The software contained information on the manageability of specific areas, based on the extent of habitats, fishing and other activities.
6. An international seafood guide for mobile phones, whose launching was accompanied by intensive media coverage. The guide contained a set of indicators in order to discourage the trade of juvenile fish.
7. Valuation of sustainable versus unsustainable regimes in coastal ecosystems' management, focusing on fisheries and including all necessary information for the increase of sustainable ICZM application.
8. A code of conduct and an evaluation tool for the impacts of ecotourism, aiming to increase sustainability in the sector.
9. Identification of available legal instruments in order to solve the many apparent contradictions of the existing European fisheries' legal framework. The effort resulted in twelve generic rules for good fisheries' governance.

The project results were widely disseminated and reached a varying audience. The interest of governments to adopt the project proposals, the distribution of the seafood guide by national consumer agencies and the interest of enterprises to include INCOFISH maps in commercial applications were indicative of the programme success. The potential for future commercialisation was apparent in most developed tools, nevertheless the project partners were interested only in the expansion and commercialisation of the maps, in order to include additional information and develop relevant mobile phones' applications. The remaining INCOFISH outcomes remained open-source software, freely distributable and accessible by the general public.

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HELMHOLTZ-CENTER FOR OZEAN RESEARCH
Duesternbrooker Weg 20
24105 KIEL
Germany
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