High-resolution mapping of fishing activities: toward well-informed marine spatial planning

Multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary marine spatial planning methods are prevailing in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Such integrated marine management needs to consider the commercial fishery and all other sector uses of the sea, such as transport, energy exploitation and recreational use.

Consequently, each of these pressures on the marine ecosystem needs to be mapped.

Annual average fishing intensity (2010-2012) at the surface level (left; sediment abrasion < 2cm) and subsurface level (right; abrasion ≥ 2 cm) for all bottom contacting gears from Denmark, Sweden and Germany. (Source: here)

Simultaneously, the EU Common Fisheries Policy recently recognized the importance of accounting for heterogeneity in fishing practices from different fleets for managing
commercial fisheries. It was acknowledged that a shift should take place from managing individual fish stocks towards managing fleets, mixed fisheries, and economic issues.

Fine-grained VMS data enable obvious improvements to describe used areas and spatial fishing pressure with higher resolution than the ICES rectangles. Hence, the linkage of VMS with logbooks constitutes very valuable information for mapping the spatio-temporal heterogeneity of landings and economically important fishing grounds to act as the basis for management decisions and designation of priorities areas.

COLOURBOX527799_fishing_net_small_sizeThese maps can be used directly for conditioning the DISPLACE model and inform area-based management performing strategy evaluation and scenario modelling of different management options associated with, for example, the establishment of spatial regulated areas and displacement of fishing effort in relation to ecosystem conditions (sensitive habitats), variability in fish stock occurrence and other uses of the sea.

Impact assessment of windmill parks on fisheries

DONG Wind Farm 1An on-going work is to apply and downscale the DISPLACE model to the commercially important and busy Western Baltic marine area where several utilisations of the sea currently coexist. In line with this it is evaluated to which extent the international plans for offshore windmill parks in the Baltic area are affecting the fishing opportunities per activity and fishing communities in the vicinity of the planned windmill sites.

Hence, preliminary data mining shows that the planned offshore windmill parks in the area do not really interfere with important fishing grounds for the Danish fisheries. Continue reading “Impact assessment of windmill parks on 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 www.displace-project.org/wiki 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”