Fisheries management in one of the most crowded marine area. Does spatial planning help?

The Adriatic Sea is one of the most crowded marine area. Several fishing activities operate simultaneously in the area, and the need to minimize conflicts among them is also a social concern. We apply a fish and fisheries model accounting for space and time effects to study the impact that would result from a suite of spatial plans suggested by practitioners in order to reduce the pressure on the four main demersal fish and crustacean stocks (having high commercial interest) in the northern Adriatic. We also look at promoting space sharing between mutually exclusive activities.

Check out the open access paper for more information in Ecosphere


DISPLACE is a spatial impact assessment tool to anticipate the consequences of displacing fisheries on ensuring a better sustainability and economy of fisheries. The model simulates the activity of individual vessels and how they will use their time fishing and where given restrictions in space and time. By applying the model that fit the local fisheries of the Adriatic region, practitioners could further develop tailored applications to their area for both understanding the fine dynamic of the interlinked fish and fisheries here, and, in the meantime, acquire a helicopter view of the outcomes when the small-scale (fishing) operations at sea are aggregated. That kind of framework applied to the Adriatic or other areas should analyze and provide data with thematic reports/scenario on which the practitioners can rely on to project the fish stock population levels and fishery economy relevant to the ecoregion. The model contributes to the coordination and integration of different spatial activities in marine areas with the purpose of reducing potential inefficient management and use of space in accordance with the aims of the EU Marine Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD) and other Directives. In the project the model is used to estimate the consequences of closing specific areas to fishing.

Impact assessment of spatial planning on the fishery economy and ecosystems

In the competition for marine space, the fishing sector needs to prepare for management impacts from other directives than the EU Common Fishery Policy. Our purpose is to support the sector specific stakeholders and policy makers and provide them with a tool for evaluating the spatial planning and management scenarios and spatial explicit fishery dynamics. This tool is informed by the different types of fishing activities and other activities occupying marine space. Continue reading “Impact assessment of spatial planning on the fishery economy and ecosystems”

How spatial planning constrains cross-border fisheries: the bio-economic DISPLACE evaluation on the Baltic Sea

DISPLACE_striking_plotWith our approach we aim 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). We explore  alternative fishing effort allocation scenarios and management options. As such, we are designing a benchmark tool for conducting management strategy evaluations to capture short-term economic reactions from individual fisherman tactical decision-making.

In the growing marine spatial planning (MSP) legislative context, concurrent uses of the sea are constraining the possibilities of displacing each vessel´s fishing activities. These new constraints call for studies that would empower the fishing industry with the right tools and knowledge to engage in fair MSP dialogues. We should consider the impact assessment and scenario evaluation of wider marine cross-sector use, exploitation of the marine environment and competition for space in a spatial evaluation tool and our ongoing evaluation is precisely dedicated to investigate this aspect.

Continue reading “How spatial planning constrains cross-border fisheries: the bio-economic DISPLACE evaluation on the Baltic Sea”

Spatial planning constraining cross-border international Baltic fisheries

 We recently presented a communication to the IIFET conference (International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade) about an impact assessment we are conducting on the large-scale western Baltic Sea fisheries:

“Supporting bio-economic evaluation of spatial planning constraining fishing activities: be quantitative, spatially-explicit, vessel-oriented, dynamic stochastic, and coupled to fish populations”

Maritime spatial planning and fishery management are likely to generate extra costs for the fisheries by constraining fishermen activity with conservation areas and new utilization of the sea such as offshore windmill parks. Growing concerns for greener and energy efficient fisheries are also likely to alter existing fishing patterns already varying from fishery to fishery and from vessel to vessel.

Continue reading “Spatial planning constraining cross-border international Baltic fisheries”

DISPLACE – An individual-based model of fishing vessels

DISPLACE stands for a Dynamic, Individual-based model for Spatial fishing PLAnning and effort displaCEment. A paper in press can be found here

A wiki page has just been set up at to host documentation and links to the source code repository (in progress). Make it transparent, peer-checked and prone to cooperative development.

fishingThe DISPLACE project is attempting to develop and provide a platform primarly for research purposes to transform the fishermen’s detailed knowledge into models, evaluation tools and methods that can provide the fisheries with research and advice. We need also models that can serve as a basis for decision support tools for (fishery) managers.  Among other goals, economic benefit of stock replenishment and sustainable harvesting should be demonstrated. As a general rule, it is important to evaluate the combined ecological and economic impacts of fishery management before its implementation (i.e. impact assessment). Continue reading “DISPLACE – An individual-based model of fishing vessels”