DTU Aqua’s research into Fisheries Management develops methods, models and tools for predicting and evaluating the effects of management measures and regulations applied by the authorities in fisheries management and the resulting different fishing options.
Which biological and economic effects can be expected for a fish stock and the affected fisheries and fleets, if, for example, fishing is regulated using quotas on landings (TACs), by limiting the number of allowed days at sea (effort restrictions), or by means of trawl mesh sizes? DTU Aqua can perform a research-based evaluation to clarify such issues.
The purpose of the evaluation is to optimise sustainable fishing and to minimise the impact of fishing on the ecosystem, including reducing fish discards.
Research into Fisheries Management has three main themes:
- Models and tools for evaluating fisheries options and management
DTU Aqua develops holistic models and tools which can contribute to increase the efficiency of fisheries management. The ecosystem and fisheries management models involve several fish stocks, the affected ecosystem and several fishing fleets and are geographical and seasonal explicit. In addition, the models link biological, climatic and socioeconomic conditions, to name but a few. Our work involves linking ecosystem simulation models with fisheries bioeconomic simulation models, enabling us to compare different scenarios and options for fisheries management. Furthermore we link to other marine management within transport, energy and recreational use of the sea.
- Models for estimating the impact of fishing on ecosystems
DTU Aqua develops models for estimating the condition of fish stocks and key factors impacting them, including the impact of fishing on ecosystems. We evaluate and develop sustainable management options for e.g. mixed fisheries, i.e. fishing for several species and stocks simultaneously. We also develop models for evaluating closed fishing areas under spatial planning and various methods for minimising fish discards. Moreover, we develop a tool for calculating the energy consumption and the CO2 emissions of individual vessels within different types of fishing. This will facilitate the development of management strategies that can help optimise the fuel consumption of the fishing industry.
- Indicators for the condition of and pressures on fish stocks and fisheries
An important aspect of working with models is to develop the correct indicators for the conditions that need to be analysed. We develop biological indicators for, e.g., the status of and impact on the affected fish stocks and the ecosystem, bioeconomic indicators for, e.g., the activities and the actions of the fishermen, the efficiency of the fleets and the fishing economy as well as socioeconomic indicators for, e.g., the affected fishing fleets and local fishing communities.
Why do we do research into Fisheries Management?
Fish and shellfish are a limited resource, and therefore fisheries are subject to a large number of regulations to ensure sustainable exploitation of the fish and shellfish stocks.
Within the EU, fisheries are, to a large extent, regulated by the EU’s common fisheries policy which is managed by the European Commission and the authorities in the individual member states. In Denmark, the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries is the supreme authority in the area.
In the management of the fisheries policy, a number of management measures and regulation methods are available to the authorities. These may, for example, include quotas for the amount of fish which the fishermen are allowed to land, regulations governing the properties and mesh sizes of fishing gears, closed fishing areas and marine reserves, limiting the number of days at sea for the fishing fleets and regulating fishing fleet sizes (activity and capacity regulations). Typically, several types of management are used at the same time, i.e. different management methods.
But how do the different methods available to the fisheries management authorities work and how can we evaluate the effects of different methods? And how do they work when several methods are applied simultaneously? The research carried out by DTU Aqua helps to clarify this.
For example, is the best result achieved for a given fish stock if the management plan includes both quotas, a maximum number of fishing days and mesh size regulations, or should an area be completely closed for fishing or should fishing be banned for a period of time? And what consequences will the composition of the management plan have for the fishing industry? These are the type of issues on which the authorities need advice, and it is thus here that DTU Aqua carries out research. The research results in complex models and tools, which can be used in scenario evaluation for, e.g., simulating the expected effects of a management plan before implementing it – in the same way as a pilot flying a flight simulator before the first real flight.
Fisheries management and regulation has become increasingly more complicated over the years and now also involves marine management in terms of other sectors, such as energy, transport and recreational use. Many fish stocks are, however, still at a very low level in relation to the sustainability criteria. For that reason there is an urgent need for management research to reverse the development for the benefit of both ecosystems and fisheries.
What is the research used for?
The research conducted by DTU Aqua into fisheries management is, in particular, used in the consulting services we offer to fisheries management authorities: the EU and the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. The consulting services help the authorities choose the best management options, measures, tools and systems and contribute to evaluating the existing management activities.
In addition, we offer advisory and consulting services to international organisations such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and Regional Advisory Councils (RACs).
The simulation models and evaluation tools produced by the fisheries management research make considerable use of biological data collected by DTU Aqua and international sister institutes, e.g. from the DTU Aqua’s research area Fish stocks and fisheries and the research area Fisheries technologies.
We also use monitoring data collected from commercial fisheries and during our own research surveys in an international collaboration. Economic fisheries and fleet data collected by the EU and the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries are also used in standard form in the models. The research in fisheries management thus helps ensure that the many data collected by DTU Aqua and other research institutes are used in practice and standardized to international formats.
View projects within the research area "Fisheries Management" in the project database DTU Orbit.
Senior Researh Scientist J. Rasmus Nielsen, tel. +45 21 31 49 69,