The aim of WP2 is to review and assess the present state of fisheries management and supporting oceanographic, ecosystem and socio-economic information to facilitate the development and implementation of efficient ecosystem- based fisheries management (EBFM) in European Seas. The following specific objectives have been identified:
WP2 will review, evaluate, and draft recommendations for the best practices of data collection, fisheries assessments, and formulation of scientific advice for managers in order to facilitate the implementation of sound and efficient EBFM. With this aim, we will perform a thorough appraisal of existing work of the major organisations, groups and projects engaged in fisheries assessments and ecosystem management such as NOAA, CSIRO, ICES, GFCM, ICCAT, STECF, DG MARE, DG ENVIRONMENT. In WP2, we will identify essential gaps in current data and knowledge and carry out short-term data collection to cover project’s data needs. Finally, drawing from the project results, we will highlight strategic priorities and prepare a proof of concept document, informing scientists and stakeholders about requirements in data collection, and in knowledge base and research methodology needed for successful implementation of EBFM policies in EU and elsewhere.
We will review available biological, fisheries, and ecosystem data from international and national sources in order to support the analyses planned in this project, perform a gap analysis, and plan short-term (this project) and strategic data collection needed (Task 2.4) for fisheries management in an ecosystem context. Within this task we will review time-series data, spatial data (maps, atlases), biological and ecosystem parameters (WP3) and identify and catalogue knowledge gaps and short-term data needs. An inventory of data sources will be created that will be available online. We will review the scientific literature on the Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar, as well as online databases such as EMODnet, SeaDataNet, etc., to identify and mine all available studies (e.g. original tracking or stranding data on marine megafauna). We will use information gathered to update existing species-specific distribution maps and identify knowledge gaps in our understanding of marine species spatial ecology. Using criteria of species-specific abundance, ecological relevance, and conservation status, we will generate and prioritise a list of species and areas for which key information is missing and that should therefore be gathered.
This task will review and evaluate existing fisheries science and management bodies and practices in Europe, and provide background information for building short-term (Task 2.3), and strategic data collection and research methods (Task 2.4) to support fisheries management in the ecosystem context. It will provide scientific advice with respect to EBFM. In this task, we will review the documents of scientific and management bodies (expert groups, committees, science-to-professional and public organizations, ICES, GFCM, STECF, RACs), review and evaluate the current practices in assessment and provision of scientific advice with respect to EBFM, as well as review and evaluate the implementation of management schemes and measures related to EBFM in Europe and Global best practice (e.g., NOAA, CSIRO).
This task will carry out short term data collection on some a priori known data gaps as well data needs arising from data gap analyses that will be filled during the EcoScope project. This task was specifically designed for the data-poorest case studies involved in the EcoScope project, such as those located in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, which face varying data deficiencies. Globally, the Mediterranean and Black Seas are among the areas with the highest proportion of threatened species with 40% of the species classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable (Dulvy et al. 2016). These small side-projects rely on already existing equipment and knowledge within the partner institutions and will provide the methodology for setting up similar studies in other data poor areas of the world.
In the Balearic Sea, additional data on elasmobranch (sharks and rays) species will be collected through tagging experiments, carried out during ongoing scientific surveys in the area. In the Balearic Sea the abundance and diversity of these highly vulnerable species is among the highest in the western Mediterranean and the information collected from tagging could complete the studies already done in the area on their biology and population trends (e.g., population size, species spatial ranges and migrations). The viability of tagging experiments of rays (batoids) using scientific surveys is supported by a recent assessment of the survival of these species when caught by bottom trawls, with preliminary results indicating rapid physiological recovery and survival for a high percentage of individuals.
Sub-task Duration: M7-M30 – Sub-task Leader: IEO
In the Aegean Sea, a fisheries independent survey using underwater baited cameras will collect visual data of large pelagic predators (sharks, dolphinfishes, amberjacks, tunas), and will provide very useful information on their distribution, abundance and habits without harming them. Some of these species are protected by national and international legislation and conventions (all large sharks) while others are highly migratory or scarcely collected by conventional fishing gears. The equipment and software have already been purchased by the partner (1 – AUTH) and will be used in EcoScope. This method will be tested for the first time in the Mediterranean and can be easily transferred to other case study areas of the project, if required.
Sub-task Duration: M12-M30 – Sub-task Leader: AUTH
Along the Levantine coast of Israel, the biodiversity of invasive fish species has been continuously monitored for the past seven years. Results from this ongoing monitoring campaign will be integrated here as a subtask that will provide crucial knowledge regarding the commercially important invasive fish species like threadfin bream, goatfishes and Spanish mackerel. In addition, gut contents of these species will be inspected to determine and update the food web models in WP6.
Sub-task Duration: M7-M30 – Sub-task Leader: IOLR
Drawing from the previous tasks and project results, we will generate strategic priorities and produce a proof of concept document to inform stakeholders about requirements in data collection, and in the knowledge base and research methodology needed for successful implementation of EBFM. After receiving feedback from the assessments (WP5) and modelling (WP6) we will propose a concept and strategy to develop a research methodology and knowledge base, and to collect the data that are fundamental for assessments and modelling, but usually not available. Finally, we will recommend best practices for monitoring programs and for the institutional framework needed to provide advice for the implementation of EBFM in Europe.
D2.1 - Review of gaps and short-term data needs
Due Month: 8
D2.2 - Review of ecosystem based fisheries assessment and management advice practices in Europe
Due Month: 11
D2.3 - Report on short term data collection
Due Month: 32
D2.4 - Concept and strategy for data collection and research methodology for ecosystem based fisheries management
Due Month: 42