EU Awards €7.92 Million to EcoScope to Promote Ecocentric Fisheries Management

The project addresses ecosystem degradation and anthropogenic negative impact on fisheries in European seas. It aims to help restore the sustainability of fisheries and ensure food security and healthy seas balance.

The European Union (EU) has awarded the EcoScope consortium nearly €8 million to promote an effective and efficient ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management.

The four-year project addresses ecosystem degradation and anthropogenic impact that cause fisheries to be unsustainably exploited in several European seas. EcoScope promotes efficient, holistic, sustainable, ecocentric fisheries management that will help toward restoring fisheries’ sustainability and ensure a balance between food security and healthy seas.

EcoScope will develop several tools, available through a single public portal, to promote an efficient, ecosystem-based approach to the management of fisheries and achieve maximum and continuous participation of stakeholders. These tools include:

  • Interoperable platform
  • Robust decision-making toolbox
  • Online courses
  • Mobile application

“EcoScope applies novel assessment methods for data-poor fisheries and marine ecosystems and sophisticated ecosystem models that will be used to examine and develop fisheries management and marine policy scenarios, as well as maritime spatial planning simulations,” said the coordinator of the EcoScope Project, Associate Professor Athanassios C. Tsikliras of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. “This will include an assessment of the status of all ecosystem components across European seas and will test new technologies for evaluating the environmental, anthropogenic and climatic impact on ecosystems and fisheries.”

Tsikliras added that existing fisheries management practices have not always been successful in sustainably exploiting fish stocks, because of weaknesses in management approaches, improper implementation and illegal fishing. EcoScope offers a holistic approach to managing fisheries within the ecosystem context that will support policy makers, advisory bodies and researchers.

The consortium, which received funding through the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, is comprised of 24 partners from Greece, Bulgaria, Germany, Canada, Israel, the Philippines, Spain, France, Belgium, the UK, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Malta, Norway, Switzerland and Cyprus.

The partners include universities and research institutions, NGOs, technology companies and businesses.

The EcoScope Project held its opening conference in Thessaloniki, Greece on September 28-30, 2021.