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Sustainable Fisheries

Capacity reduction and effort limitation are major tools in fisheries management. Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform aims to match European fleet capacity to resource availability. Links are assumed between these and fishing mortality, but the scientific basis for these has not been fully established, particularly for pelagic fisheries.

The project will examine the relationship between these factors for six case studies; North Sea, Biscay & East Mediterranean pelagic fisheries; and North Sea, western (Biscay & Celtic Sea) and north east Mediterranean demersal fisheries. It will review existing approaches to measuring capacity and effort and control measures derived from these. It will collate data on fleets (catch, vessel & gear metrics, costs & profits, and investment & capital values) and on fish stocks (abundance, distribution, fishing mortality).

It will include analyses of fisher’s behaviour from targeted fine scale studies. Statistical and mathematical modelling tools will be used to explore and quantify relationships between metrics for the three factors. Metrics will be selected that are suitable for capacity and effort and have good explanatory power in the model systems. Appropriate models and metrics will be developed to quantify the links between capacity, effort and species mortality, partitioned by fleet and area. A key element will be a study of capacity utilisation, i.e. the match between capacity and real effort, including a quantitative study of the factors controlling capacity change, i.e. investment strategy, control legislation and economic factors. ...

Finally, the project will propose a series of new effort and capacity control measures and scenarios. These will be tested and compared to current measures using operational models. At all stages explicit measures will be taken to quantify structural and parametric uncertainty. The final outcome will be a comprehensive review of possible management measures and their likely effect in conserving fish stock resources.