Our approach is aiming at modelling the interaction between fisheries and stock spatial dynamics and assessing the interlinked consequences on both the vessel economy and the viability and sustainability of the harvesting (including the issue of energy efficiency for greener fisheries) under alternative effort allocation scenarios and management options. As such, we design a benchmark tool for management strategy evaluations which is able to capture short-term economic behavioral reactions from individual tactical decision-making.
In the growing marine spatial planning (MSP) legislative context, concurrent uses of the sea are further constraining the possibilities of displacing each vessel´s fishing activities. These new constraints require empowering the fishing industry with the right tools and knowledge to engage in MSP dialogues. The impact assessment and scenario evaluation of wider marine cross-sector use, exploitation of the marine environment and competition for space should be considered in a spatial explicit evaluation tool and our ongoing evaluation is dedicated to investigate this aspect.
This application considers the case of the international western Baltic Sea area and the ongoing spatial marine plans including offshore windmill farms and Natura2000 conservation areas. Almost for the first time some cross-national VMS data have been processed in the same framework and the movement of around 300 fishing vessels (Danish, German and Swedish vessels) are informed and simulated individually, each vessel displacing and harvesting on a hourly time step over a projection period of 5 years. Fine scale fishing pressure in space and time are then deduced and the effect of redirection towards some benthic habitats evaluated.
Interesting results are emerging from the work and for example interlinked dynamic of vessels and stocks does show higher revenues from catches which could offset the additional costs from effort displacement, with release of the pressure on the stocks and habitats. At the individual scale, some vessels are strongly stressed, sometimes offering new opportunities for a part of the participants. These results are valuable for engaging a dialogue with stakeholders and managers while a support tool for facilitating the understanding of the dynamics, reproducing the observed patterns and evaluating alternative scenarios, is described and applied to the Baltic Sea area.
This study is conducted in association with a number of EU research projects and the development of a spatial explicit bio-economic model that covers both many stocks and fisheries. We are convinced that the development of such an approach and its current application has the potential to form near future developments in EU from the perspective of the fisheries within the context of maritime spatial planning.