The consortium consists of 24 partners representing academia, research, NGO and SMEs with an extended geographical coverage across Europe that encompasses all European marine ecosystems included in the proposal. The expertise of the participants is wide and directly related to the topic of the programme safeguarding the successful accomplishment of projects objectives that will set the foundations and promote ecocentric management for sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems. Members of the Consortium have developed a Mediterranean Sea platform with meteorological, oceanographic and environmental data (CLS, Hidromod, BLIT), oceanographic and biogeochemical models (DUTH), new methods and tools for assessing the stock status of non-commercial and datapoor commercial fish and invertebrate species (CMSY+, LBB, AMSY: GEOMAR, AUTH, CNR, UBC), socio-economic indicators (UM, NIVA), ecological niche models for predicting rare species distributions under climate scenarios (CNR, CEBC, IBER), community, biodiversity (IEO, IBER) and ecological indicators (IBER, CEBC, EVILVO, AUTH, EII); they have developed (EII) and set up ecosystem models in all case study areas and elsewhere (AUTH, IBER, IOLR, IEO, GEOMAR, EVILVO, BLIT), developed Information Technology (IT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) infrastructure to run simulations under deep uncertainty (PEAS, BUAS), as well as online courses (LWCY, AUTH) and are highly experienced in marine policy, stakeholder involvement and networking (EMB, SPNI, Thalassa) but also in business planning and innovation (Agora, CLS, BLIT). Two international partners (UBC and QQ) have created unique global databases of fisheries catch and effort data (Sea Around Us: UBC) and species distribution maps (AquaMaps: QQ) that contain essential information for any ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. The expertise of the Consortium on stock assessments, fisheries management, marine ecosystems, ecosystem modelling, oceanographic models, marine policy and spatial planning is exceptional and the overall publication record is really outstanding at a global scale.
Platform development and climatic, oceanographic and biogeochemical data collection and modelling: DUTH will provide its oceanographic and biogeochemical expertise and experience in sea numerical modelling, marine technologies, operational systems, forecasting risks and emergencies, remote data collection. CLS is a global provider of operations of satellite systems for positioning, data collection, ocean observation and surveillance and it has been developing added-value applications and satellite-based services for more than 30 years. Hidromod has proven experience in developing and implementing operational systems and it will contribute to the design of the platform, services and ocean modelling activities.
Global datasets of fisheries and biological data: Some of the most important global datasets on fisheries and ecosystems, that are of fundamental importance for fisheries management in the full ecosystem context and maritime spatial planning, have been developed by EcoScope partners. The distribution of all species based on their thermal and other requirements (AquaMaps) has been developed by GEOMAR and QQ and spatial resolution improved using novel methods and tools by DUTH and CNR. The global catch reconstruction (including landings, discards, recreational catch and illegal, unreported and unregulated catch but also effort and economics data) in time and space is a unique and extremely valuable dataset (Sea Around Us Database) that has been developed by UBC, while CNR has acquired georeferenced vessel trajectories per fleet since 2010 (AIS data). Global Fishing Watch data, which also contains highresolution geo-referenced vessel trajectories at a global scale, has already been provided to the EcoScope Project.
ToolBox development, fisheries and ecosystem assessments: Several partners of EcoScope have led (GEOMAR, UBC) or been involved (AUTH, CNR) in the development of a series of fisheries stock assessment methods that have been used globally, especially in data-poor areas. Other partners have developed biodiversity indicators (IBER, IEO) that have been used in ecosystem assessments or novel methods that incorporate artificial intelligence for determining climate effects on species distributions, biodiversity and fisheries as well as alien species potential invasiveness (CEBC, EVILVO) and for determining the anthropogenic effects on biodiversity, resources and marine ecosystems and habitats (CNR).
Algorithms and application software for ecological modelling and marine spatial planning: EII is focused on the contribution to the sustainability of living resources and ecosystems through the development, implementation, education and promotion of analytical tools and ecological modelling, with special emphasis on the use of the modelling approach Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE). PEAS investigates, develops or customizes methods and algorithms for information fusion, decision making processing, uncertainty and deep uncertainty in robust decision making and BUAS have become well-versed in the area of Maritime Spatial Planning with a global network of partners and supporters of the MSP Challenge simulation platform community and the development of MSP simulator. DUTH and CNR will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop algorithms that will be used as input in ecosystem modelling, whereas IOLR and AUTH have been involved in many EwE models examining various management and environmental/climatic scenarios.
Socio-economic effects and perception: NIVA and UBC will provide their experience in environmental and fisheries economics with stated preference methods to value non-market goods and services and develop bioeconomic models to inform sustainable natural resource management and risk assessment of human activities on ecosystem services, while UM, expert on societal perceptions will work on expectations and preferences in diverse communities, and to assess the economic and governance implications of ecosystem-based fisheries management in Europe.
International policy makers and policy experts: The European Marine Board (EMB) is a leader in marine science-policy foresight activities in Europe with publications that impact the future marine and maritime research landscape in Europe. The two NGOs, Thalassa and SPNI, are experienced in stakeholder involvement and networking in maritime, marine ecosystems and fisheries issues, including direct and indirect anthropogenic effects.
Capacity building (academy) and communication: LWCY, an edtech start-up, offers a cloud-based, white-label, e-learning management system that provides personally branded, online, interactive, self-paced premium courses. The long experience of UBC, GEOMAR, QQ, EII and AUTH in teaching on marine ecosystems and fisheries across a wide range and multi-level (undergraduate, postgraduate, seminars, summer schools) of international audiences will be the backbone of courses and webinars, while the video material that has been collected from all partners after many years of field research will provide the baseline for online video and infographic material. BLIT will develop user data visualisation for the production of data outputs for end-users in addition to leading the dissemination, communication and visibility efforts.
Marketing and business planning: Agora, CLS and BLIT will provide their business expertise to ensure the sustainability of the outcomes of the project, focusing on continued operation and maintenance of the website (BLIT) and products (CLS), legal and regulatory arrangements for access to additional databases as well as providing legal and regulatory arrangements for the use of data and IPR issues according to the Open Data principle (Agora). The consortium promotes interdisciplinarity as it includes partners focusing on various fields of marine science, fisheries ecology and management ranging from oceanography and biogeochemistry modelling, fisheries biology, stock assessment and management, climate change, ecosystem modelling, biology and ecology of marine organisms, habitat mapping, maritime spatial planning, conservation, biodiversity, socio-economics, human health, statistics, information technology, software design and engineering development of academic courses, networking, marketing and business management and marine policy. The consortium is not only multi- and inter-disciplinary but within each discipline it includes excellent partners with international contribution, broad networking activities, and strong scientific impact.
All partners, at both institutional and individual level, have been previously involved in large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects, including several H2020 projects, requiring big datasets with demanding data analysis and modelling content and have addressed large scale hypotheses in a holistic and integrated ecosystem framework. FishBase (QQ), Sea Around Us (UBC), AquaMaps (GEOMAR, QQ), ODYSSEA (DUTH, CLS and other members), Ecopath with Ecosim (EII) and MSP Challenge simulation platform community (BUAS) are a few examples. Individuals from academic and research partners have been involved in many ICES, STECF, GFCM, FAO and EU working groups and committees, all related to fisheries, effects of climate change on marine organisms and ecosystems and ecosystem modelling. In total, the scientists involved in EcoScope have published an outstanding number of journal articles in the field of the programme, some of them being key papers in fisheries management (Pauly & Zeller 2016; Froese et al. 2018, 2020), status of ecosystems (Pauly et al. 1998, 2000) and ecosystem modelling (Christensen & Walters 2004; Steenbeek et al. 2013; Heymans et al. 2016) and have contributed in setting the foundations for ecosystem based fisheries management at a global scale. Previous cooperation in H2020 projects (e.g., ODYSSEA project) and close scientific collaboration in committees (e.g., GFCM and STECF) and consortia (e.g., FishBase Consortium) denotes that significant experience and interaction already exists among Consortium partners, safeguarding the unobstructed running of EcoScope project, the successful accomplishment of its general and specific objectives, the production of significant scientific output that will be used in the ecocentric management for sustainable fisheries and healthy marine ecosystems and the smooth development of its four main products and associated services (EcoScope Platform, EcoScope Toolbox, EcoScope Academy and EcoScope Application) that will be hosted in a single public portal, the EcoScopium and could be used globally. Besides the established collaborative networks of high scientific value that will ensure balance and efficiency within the consortium, new synergies are explored with the inclusion of innovative partners from the private sector that will bring new ideas and tools to the project and will link the scientific and policy products with a market value.