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PRONE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 22589
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Finland

Taking the guesswork out of fishery management

Threats to the European fishing industry vary considerably from region to region. A project focused on developing a flexible approach to risk management in order to meet the challenges of the industry.
Taking the guesswork out of fishery management
While overfishing remains the industry's major problem, it is not the only one. Other challenges include pollution, disputes between nations over fishing rights and reduced demand in the wake of the global financial crisis. Fishery managers that deal most effectively with these issues will secure their future in this competitive market.

The aim of the 'Precautionary risk methodology in fisheries' (Prone) project was to apply advanced statistical methods common to other fields to that of fishery management. Four case studies were selected in various regions to make extensive testing possible.

To avoid overfishing, it is imperative that an accurate estimate of fish stocks is available, but it is impossible to count all the fish. The Prone team discovered that a Bayesian statistical approach outperformed conventional stock estimation techniques, especially when uncertainty was high.

On a completely different tangent, game theory proved a good match for assessing the inherent risks in international negotiations where one's options depend on the choices made by others. During Prone, the issues of stock recruitment, risk of food poisoning and risk classification were also addressed.

Finally, Prone research showed that while the theoretical component was important, the human element could not be ignored and is often key to the success of any risk management approach. It is not surprising then that considerable effort was focused on communicating the results to the various stakeholders of the fishing industry. Several scientific articles were published and new teaching materials were also developed.

EU-funded research projects such as Prone are helping make the fishing industry in Europe a more profitable venture.

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