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Climate change constitutes a key challenge to sustainable fishery management

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Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Sustainable fishing is a growing problem worldwide. But how easily can fishing become sustainable? A study conducted as part of the EU-funded EcoScope project aimed to identify what EU fisheries stakeholders would consider to be the biggest challenges in the sustainable management of European fisheries in the coming years.

Identify the key issues

The comprehensive survey was designed to get a clear picture of the key needs of fisheries stakeholders and the challenges and potential obstacles they face. According to 72.2% of survey respondents, the impacts of climate change are an important issue for the future sustainable management of EU fisheries.

The next main challenges were bycatch (fish and other marine life trapped in fishing nets when fishing for another species), 50%, and protected areas and fishing restricted areas, also 50%. In addition, an estimated 44.4% of respondents believed that biodiversity indicators are essential. This was followed by trade-offs between different uses of marine and coastal areas and the distribution of species, each at 38.9%.

Of interest were the interaction between species (33.3%), catch quotas (33.3%), conservation status of protected species (27.8%) and marine spatial planning (27.8%). Fisheries sustainability indicators came in last at 22.2%. “The data from this research will be evaluated and implemented by EcoScope, to fine-tune the accuracy of their marine policy scenarios and spatial planning simulations, among many other complex models and techniques,” said Associate Professor Athanassios Tsikliras of EcoScope project coordinator Aristotle. University of Thessaloniki, Greece, in a news item on the project website.

“EcoScope Project is well positioned to address many of the key concerns and needs reported in this study,” Assoc continued. Prof. dr. Tsikliras. “The insights gained are very valuable for the development of the EcoScope e-tools and the project will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that the final tools meet the needs of stakeholders.”

The EcoScope Toolbox

The project is developing a set of easy-to-use e-tools that can act as a decision support system for stakeholders, aiming to implement an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. As described on the project website, the toolbox will use an interdisciplinary scoring system combining oceanographic, climatic, environmental, habitat, biological, community, fisheries and economic indicators.

“The scoring system will be based on a set of metrics measuring the success of a specific variable towards a sustainable goal. For example, a (fisheries) measure could be the percentage of stocks that are being sustainably exploited or the conservation status of vulnerable species within a case study (ecosystem, area or country), and the sustainability target will be 100%. A statistic scores 100 if the maximum sustainable profit is achieved and the ability of the ecosystem to deliver that profit in the future is not compromised… Lower scores will indicate that more profits can be made or that current methods are unsustainable and future profits are compromised.”

The EcoScope study (Ecocentric management for sustainable fisheries and healthy marine ecosystems) was designed by project partner European Marine Board, Belgium. The 4-year project will end in August 2025.


Sustainable future for inshore fishing in the Baltic Sea


More information:
EcoScope project website: ecoscope.eu/

Quote: Climate change poses a major challenge to sustainable fisheries management (2022, July 29) retrieved July 29, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-climate-constitutes-key-sustainable-fishery.html

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