Research project Ecosystem based management for sustainable fisheries and healthy marine ecosystems
Main research question
The ECOSCOPE project aims at improved fisheries management that balances a healthy marine ecosystem with sustainable fisheries. This requires a lot of diverse, accurate and up-to-date data that can be interpreted in a clear way by fishermen. The goal, then, is to develop a public portal that stakeholders can use to make more informed decisions regarding their fisheries strategy and policy.
The main project aim, an EcoScopium, will consist of a Platform, Toolbox, Academy and App. Datasets with environmental and biological variables will be homogenised in the Platform. Using this data, ecosystem models and assessments will be developed and gathered in the Toolbox together with socio-economic indicators. This will provide stakeholders with a scoring system which will be used to examine their policy scenarios. Dissemination of the results will occur through courses, webinars, etc. in the Academy and through the App.
Current assessment methods often only take the species of interest into account which, in many cases, are only commercial species. However, these species are part of a larger ecosystem and connected with various other ecosystem components. EcoScope will develop novel assessment methods that take data-limited fisheries, biodiversity and various ecosystem components into account. The project will provide us with the opportunity to evaluate the impact of environmental, anthropogenic and climatic effects on the balance between our fisheries and the ecosystem. Through these tools, citizens will be able to report non-evident topics such as illegal fishing, marine hazards, etc.