The RFMS (Responsive Fisheries Management System) will be developed in an iterative process with gradual increase in complexity. The effects of the RFMS will be simulated and evaluated in four important and representative case studies:
- The Icelandic demersal mixed fishery
- The Portuguese crustacean bottom trawl fishery
- The North Sea mixed demersal bottom trawl fishery
- The Mediterranean mixed demersal trawl fishery
The first version of the RFMS will be simulated in the fairly simple case 1, where as the later versions of the RFMS will be simulated and/or tested in the more complex cases 2, 3 and 4. Case 1 has been chosen because it is a single country fishery with limited number of species where a lot of data for many possible indicators have been collected already, so modelling and simulation should not be too difficult. Case 2 and 3 are more complex important fisheries under EU/CFP jurisdiction where data collection and harmonisation can be more challenging. Case 4 has been included because of the different management system (no TACs) and EU/nonEU jurisdiction, but it will however only run as an approval test case towards the end of the project to verify that the final RFMS can be adapted for other types of fisheries.
The four case studies chosen for the project are selected on the basis of their complexity, data availability and relevance towards the call text. Case study 1 is a relatively simple fishery within a closed area i.e. local stocks exploited and managed by a single authority; with extensive availability of environmental, economical and social data. Case study 2 is more complex as it affects stocks exploited by a number of nations (particularly migratory bycatch species), but where target species are still relatively localised and predominantly exploited by one country. The availability of environmental, economical and social data regarding the effect of the fishery is fairly adequate and it is governed under EU/CFP jurisdiction. Case study 3 is a very complex fishery with stocks that are utilized by many nations, has severe discard problems and variable data availability (environmental, economical and social data). Case study 4 differs from the other three in it´s management system (no TACs). It is the most complex fishery because of high number of species and it is exploited by many nations, including nations outside the EU where access to data can be complex. There is a well defined series of target species in this fishery. Case study 4 will only be run as an approval test at the closing stages of the project, in order to verify that the final version of the RFMS can be used for other types of fisheries.
Below is a detailed description of the case studies.
- The Icelandic demersal mixed fishery: In 2008 seafood exports represented 7% of Iceland’s GDP and 40% of exported goods. Demersal fisheries accounted for about half of the landed volume and 80% of the export value. About 6.5% of the workforce worked directly in fishing or fish processing, but related jobs in supporting industries and services were at least as many. It is therefore evident that employment in the country as a whole is directly dependent on the fishery used in the case study. The demersal mixed fishery is also extremely important for regional development, as many rural areas depend almost entirely on demersal fisheries for their livelihood. The most important demersal species are: Atlantic cod, haddock, saithe, redfish, Atlantic catfish and northern shrimp. The fishery is managed under an ITQ system and the fishing gears used are bottom trawls, longlines, gillnets, Danish seines and handlines. Discards are considered to be a minor problem in Icelandic fisheries with estimated discard rates for the most important stocks between one and four percent. The Icelandic Marine Research institute has monitored discard rates closely since 2001 and have gathered considerable data on the subject. Extensive biological, ecological, social and economical data is available on the Icelandic demersal mixed fishery, which for example include catch data, precise log books and ground fish surveys dating thirty years back; data on employment, rural development and wage development also dating more than thirty years back; and also data on operating results of seafood companies and other industries, municipalities etc.
- The Portuguese crustacean bottom trawl fishery: This fishery takes places mainly in the Southwest and South of the Portuguese continental waters (ICES, Division IXa), where crustaceans are more abundant and it is developed by the crustacean segment of the Portuguese trawl fleet. The Portuguese trawl fleet comprises two segments, the crustacean and the finfish, and both segments are since 2006 under an annual 10% effort reduction according to the recovery plan regulation for Norway lobster and hake in Atlantic Iberian waters. During 2003-2008 the total landings from the crustacean fishery was in average 1500 t which corresponds to 6 % of the total landings of the Portuguese trawl fleet and to 30% in value. Landings were mostly composed of deep waters rose shrimp and blue whiting, each representing approximately 28% of the total weight landed. Other important species caught by this fleet are Norway lobster with 14%, hake with 7%, horse mackerel with 4% and anglerfish with 3%. Discards from this fishery is mainly composed of blue whiting, undersized hake and Norway lobster. Results from the discard sampling program onboard the Portuguese crustacean trawlers indicate that the weight of Norway lobster discarded in 2006-2008 was very low ranging from 16 tons in 2004 to 4 tons in 2008. The length distribution of discards confirms that Norway lobster is not rejected because of its MLS (20 mm of carapace length), but mainly due to quality problems. Discard estimates for hake from this fleet ranged from 154 t in 2004 to 465 t in 2008, and are comprised mainly of undersized fish ( MLS = 27 cm). Blue whiting discards were high in 2004 (8800 t for both trawl segments), but decreased to 3000 t in 2006 due to an increase in the market value of this species. The management system of the main stocks is based on annual Total Allowable Catch (TACs and quotas), MLS and MMS at trawl codend. Closed areas are also implemented for hake and Norway lobster in particular seasons and areas in Portuguese waters. In the most recent years the number of licensed crustacean trawlers was 30, with an average 414 kW, 178 GRT and 25 m of overall length. The crustacean trawlers are licensed for two different mesh sizes, MMS of 55 mm for catching shrimps and MMS >= 70 mm for Norway lobster. The trawler owners are organized in one national association designated by ADAPI (Associação dos Armadores das Pescas Industriais), with headquarter in Lisbon. Biological and ecological data are available on crustacean bottom trawl fisheries which for example include catch data, log books and ground fish surveys dating twenty nine years back.
- North Sea mixed demersal bottom trawl fishery. The bottom trawl fishery in the North Sea is a mixed demersal fishery with more specific targeting of individual species in some areas and/or seasons. Cod, haddock, and whiting form the predominant roundfish catch in the mixed fisheries, although there can be important bycatch of other species, notably saithe and anglerfish in the northern and eastern North Sea and of Nephrops in the offshore grounds such as the Fladen. Roundfish are caught in otter trawl and seine fisheries, with a MMS120 mm at codend. Saithe in the North Sea are mainly taken in a directed trawl fishery in deeper water near the northern shelf edge and the Norwegian Deeps. There is little bycatch of other demersal species associated with this directed fishery. Discards remain high in many of the fisheries (whiting, haddock, plaice, and cod). Nephrops fisheries take place in discrete areas that comprise appropriate muddy seabed sediment. Targeted Nephrops fisheries on these grounds are taken predominantly in trawls with mesh sizes of between 70 mm and 100 mm using single-rig or multiple-rig trawls. Nephrops fishing grounds vary from small, localised inshore grounds (e.g. Firth of Forth) to more extensive offshore areas such as the Fladen Ground in the northern North Sea, and while there is bycatch and discarding of other demersal species associated with Nephrops, the general nature of these fisheries and their bycatch can vary widely. Discarding and high-grading remain problematic in these fisheries, and there is a need to tackle this problem. By using the principles of RBM, with great stakeholder involvement and responsibility on their shoulders, an important step will be taken in that direction. The use of gears with improved selectivity with similar selection characteristics as 120 mm codend mesh size, such as 120 mm square mesh panels positioned close to the codend, is one solution. Cod and whiting also comprise a bycatch in the beam trawl fisheries. Gillnet fisheries with mesh sizes generally in excess of 140 mm are also used to target cod, particularly over wrecks and areas of rough ground. These fisheries have traditionally been managed using single species Total Allowable Catch (TAC), however, effort restrictions (days at sea) were introduced in 2003 to supplement TACs in areas covered by the cod recovery plan. While the TAC advice for these stocks is based on ICES advice, there is no corresponding advice for effort. Extensive biological data is available on the North Sea demersal mixed fishery, which include catch data and several ground fish surveys dating back many decades; some ecological, economic and socio-economic data are also available.
- Mediterranean mixed demersal trawl fishery. Looking at the Mediterranean inshore demersal trawlers, the largest fleet is the Italian one with nearly 5000 vessels, 2400 of them less than 15 m in length. This is followed by the Spanish fleet with 1300 vessels and the Greek fleet with 400 vessels, while the French fleet comprised 200 vessels in 1990 (source FAO). Demersal trawling fisheries in Italy are essentially. These are dominated by roundfish (European hake, red mullet, blue whiting, whiting, Pagellus spp., bogue, picarels Spicara spp.), flatfish species (common sole, some rays, turbot, brill, anglerfishes Lophius spp. etc.) several Crustaceans (Norway lobster, giant red shrimp, red shrimp, mantis shrimp, Caramote prawn, deepwater rose shrimp etc.), several Cephalopods (shortfin squid, European squid, common cuttlefish, little squid, curled octopus Eledone spp) which form the target of fisheries that today are generally conducted with fishing fleets of medium-large vessels. Accurate and relevant status and trends of the Italian fisheries have been built up by the Italian Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forestry Policies with the technical assistance of IREPA (Salerno). Information on volume of marine species caught in Italy by regions, by species items, by FAO major fishing areas, and year are publicly accessible. Since 2000, yearly tables contain the main indicators of capacity (number of vessels, gross tonnage and engine power) and activity (fishing days at sea) by fishing gear. Information on capture productions are also reported on annual base: landing, value and price by fishing technique and species. In addition, from 2004 onwards, data on the production of more important commercial species are published within a monthly time frame. Published data concern: days of fishing, landings and value by region and fishing systems. A new Regulation for the collection, management and use of data in European fisheries (Regulation (EC) N. 199/2008 of 25 February 2008), aiming at improving information on status and trends of capture fisheries, was adopted by European Union and endorsed by members states in 2008. In this framework, data are also reported by fishing gear, by vessel length class, and by Geographical Sub Area (GSA). Since 2003, landings and fishing efforts together discards rates have been gathered and considerable data are available. Very often undersized individuals (e.g. below the MLS) or juveniles are marketed and therefore targeted in violation of laws and in some cases they are the main target. The management system of the main stocks targeted by the demersal fisheries is not based on annual TACs and quotas, and there is no regulation limiting the engine power in Italy. New management technical measures for the Mediterranean (i.e. MMS, codend circumference, twine thickness, etc.) have been amended by the EC Reg. 1967/2006 which determines also the MLS of certain marine organisms. Closed areas and closed fishing seasons are also implemented in Italian waters. Further data can be provided by a new review of current gears and Italian commercial vessels started in 2006 by CNR-ISMAR through direct consultation with fishermen, netmakers and trawl door manufacturers. The review is still ongoing with periodic interviews to fishermen. This benchmarking exercise has provided an inventory of current gears being used and an understanding of current fishing practices. Further socio-economic data will be collected by CNR-ISMAR with the support of “Marche Region” (Fisheries and Aquaculture unit) and the Italian National Association of the Fishing Cooperatives “Lega Pesca”.
Data on relevant biological, social, legal and economic indicators for each of the four case studies will be collected, harmonized and made available both within and outside of the project in a collated database. In order to avoid possible overlapping data obtained under EU Data Collection Framework (DCF, EC Council Regulation No199/2008, Commission Regulation No665/2008 and Commission Decision No949/2008) shall be used as much as possible. This database in itself will be a novel and invaluable resource for investigating the effects of current and future policies. In particular, the database will have an important role when it comes to predicting and simulating the effects of the RFMS. The geographical visualization tool / decision support system will give a unique interface to -, and view of the interaction and interdependency of relevant data of different types.
The geographical tool development will integrate relational databases with the latest traceability tools, integrate with web based and OpenGIS Consortium compliant Geographical Information System (GIS) technology and enable statistical reports to be generated by using the powerful and flexible statistical software “R”. The use of GIS technology within the infrastructure provides an enhanced and alternative method of viewing the different types of data. Many of the indicators have a strong geographical component (e.g. catch area, landing area, presence of other marine activities, pollution, ecosystem data, etc) which will thus provide an added dimension to the analysis and representation of the data. The purpose of the tool will be to visualize the geographical aspect of various negative impact factors, in particular their overlaps and interdependencies, and to provide for simple “what if” analysis related to decisions and effects.
Another relevant source of data is the numerous technological tools that are available for assisting in managing fisheries. Such tools include for instance log-books, satellites, data systems for markets and processing, camera systems onboard vessels (CCTV), technological tools to mitigate bycatch (BRDs) and more.
Other tools that have been used for assisting in fisheries management are for example the multi-parameter models FLR (Fisheries Library for R) and EcoSim. The FLR framework is a development effort directed towards the evaluation of fisheries management strategies. Ecopath with EcoSim (EwE) is a free ecosystem modeling software suite with three main components: Ecopath - a static, mass-balanced snapshot of the system; Ecosim, a time dynamic simulation module for policy exploration; and Ecospace, a spatial and temporal dynamic module, primarily designed for exploring impact and placement of protected areas. The current state of-, and the data available from FLR, EcoSim and other similar tools will be taken into consideration when extracting and collating the data that the simulation of the effect of the RFMS will be based on.