FIS014: Management in shared seas

Start Date: Apr 2016

End Date: Feb 2017

Main Contractor(s): North Atlantic Fisheries College

Other Sponsor(s): European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

Extended Title: Fisheries management in the context of Shared Seas

Main Research Category: Management

View Final report

View supporting documents:

'FIS Guidance Developers 2017'

'FIS Guidance Fishermen 2017'


Project Objectives

The aim of this proposal is to address the project call for “Fisheries management in the context of Shared Seas” (FIS014) to look at innovative approaches for fisheries management and their interactions with other users and activities and the environment.

The research will be broken down into three main themes: effective management strategies, data availability and usability, and best practice guidance documents.  As the themes are not dependent on one another, although they are intrinsically linked, it will be possible to run the themes concurrently and so maximise time spent on each theme.

An understanding of effective management strategies will be developed by a review and survey of how other regions and countries have managed fisheries in relation to interactions with other users, activities, and the environment and where possible will focus on protected areas.  The information will be summarised, assessed, and where possible management options applicable to Scotland will be highlighted.  The aim would be to highlight a process of management for fisheries in “shared seas” and help to achieve the UK Government and devolved administrations aspirations of ‘effective, integrated and strategic management’.

There is an overwhelming amount of data available for the seas around Scotland but understanding how this data can be used to manage or monitor fishing activity can be baffling.  Data quality, verification, and spatial scales need to be considered.  For example, Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) is an established methodology but has drawbacks at finer spatial scales.  Automatic Identification System (AIS) is another established dataset for tracking vessel movements but possibly underutilised by the fishing industry.  Environmental datasets such as high resolution bathymetry and sediment types are useful to many marine users including fishers and developers.  At the right spatial and temporal scale these datasets can provide very effective tools in the management process but it is not always obvious what the appropriate scale should be.  In addition, understanding the purpose of data quality and collection will affect its subsequent use, and buy-in from stakeholders.  Through worked examples and a summary of available data we will highlight the benefits of using available data in relation to various activities and users of the marine environment.

Two best practice guidance documents will be produced as information tools; one for users, developers, and decision makers to better understand the needs and requirements of fishers and the second to help fishers and fisheries representatives better understand other users of the marine environment, data evidence needs and how to effectively engage, participate, and influence management decisions.  The documents will summarise useful terminology, highlight areas of potential conflict, and include useful contact information.  They will aim to aid better communication between users and activities.

The combined output from this project will help to ensure that governance and marine assessment structures introduced across Scotland follow best international practice, use data effectively and inclusively to ensure best use of the marine environment for maximum long-term social, economic, and environmental benefit.