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FP6

EMPAFISH — Result In Brief

Project ID: 6539
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Spain

Marine protected areas as conservation tools

The use of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to enhance the management of fisheries and promote conservation represents a new paradigm for the sector.
Marine protected areas as conservation tools
Marine resources and biodiverse ecosystems are increasingly being threatened by man-made and natural pressures. The EU-funded project 'European marine protected areas as tools for fisheries management and conservation' (Empafish) sought to exploit MPAs in a way that maintains biodiversity and conserves marine resources. The project investigated how MPAs could protect endangered ecosystems from the effects of fishing and worked on methods to evaluate their effects.

Armed with this information, the project developed specific approaches and guidelines to exploit MPAs as viable tools to manage ecosystems and fisheries. As a first step to achieving these aims, Empafish established a network of project partners and stakeholders, examining case studies to identify the environmental impact of MPAs. Moreover, it analysed fishery systems to highlight the effects of marine conservation on the industry.

Another important project activity was to look at the socioeconomic impact of human activities that affected MPAs in southern Europe. The effectiveness of MPAs was also studied, and areas where research was lacking were identified. Once this was accomplished, the project team articulated a simulation model called 'bio-economic analysis of marine protected areas' (BEAMPA).

In addition to the new guidelines and models for MPAs to manage fisheries and promote conservation, the project produced valuable results that were disseminated through journals, conferences and online. The tools, guidelines and models developed are bound to further the fishing industry while encouraging eco-friendly practices.
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