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ECOSAFIMED participates at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) conference in Copenhagen, Denmark

Monday, 21 September, 2015

ECOSAFIMED took part in the Annual Science Conference (ASC) of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), held on 21-25 September 2015 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Mr David Díaz Viñolas, the scientific coordinator of ECOSAFIMED gave a presentation on 24 September titled Small-scale fisheries(SSF) under data-limited scenarios.

The ICES Annual Science Conference (ASC) is a chance for members of ICES countries to come together, and for the ICES to showcase and share its scientific knowledge with the global marine community. One of its most important and unique features is the ability to cover the entire spectrum of marine science, from data monitoring provision to scientific expertise and advice. The ASC reflected this range over the 19 different themed  sessions that took place at the conference.
One of the new themes for this year was Small-Scale Fisheries, in a session named: “Small-scale fisheries under data-limited scenarios”. This topic addressed some of the key ecological, socio-economic and institutional dimensions of the problems related to data-limited SSFs, in terms of monitoring, assessment, management and governance.
Small-scale fisheries area major contribution to local economies and provide employment in coastal communities where opportunities are scarce.

These fisheries use a diversity of gears, although they usually exclude trawling and other intensive techniques. Even under these circumstances, interactions between SSFs and the ecosystem need to be evaluated. Indeed, effective fisheries management and governance is needed to ensure that fully exploited stocks remain close to their maximum sustainable yield. However, this yield depends on the environmental status of the benthic communities. Within this context, the ECOSAFIMED project encompasses this very issue; its objective is to evaluate the impact that artisanal fishing has on the benthic communities in the Mediterranean, in order to promote sustainable artisanal fishing practices and preserve these benthic habitats and related economic activities.

David Díaz Viñolas, the scientific coordinator of ECOSAFIMED, presented the project on 24 September in the Sankt Hans Torv hall at the DGI Byen Hotel in Copenhagen.
Mr Diaz introduced the objectives of the project, the methodologies used and the preliminary results obtained.

He explained how a set of parameters was analysed for a number of key species to evaluate the state of conservation of the benthic communities. He also highlighted how ROV video transects between 60-120m depth were crucial to evaluating parameters in the six study areas in Spain, Tunisia and Italy.

Project results include the creation of management guidelines for responsible fishing, which were produced with the involvement of fishermen themselves.
As scientific coordinator, Mr Díaz took the opportunity to explain the ECOSAFIMED poster titled “New practices to improve the conservation status of the benthic communities in small-scale fisheries”.

The poster illustrates different experiments using non-vertebrate by-catch species captured by the common selected métier for the three countries (spiny lobster trammel net). The on-board survival time of the key structural species was calculated, and their health status analysed when returned to sea. The results show that the impact on the survival of structural species could be minimised if returned in the same location less than 30 minutes after capture. During the conference the project results, although preliminary, were well received by an audience of 90 people. Some researchers are also considering implementing ECOSAFIMED experimental methodology in their own area and research institutions, and to include a larger list of target species.

With a budget of €1.9 million, the ECOSAFIMED project promotes responsible fishing practices and communication between researchers and the artisanal fishing sector, with the aim of helping to conserve marine ecosystems. The ultimate objective of the project is to produce a series of recommendations for managing the artisanal fisheries studied in the Mediterranean, to ensure their compatibility with good conservation practices for marine habitats.
The project also seeks to identify valuable areas to be proposed as Protected Marine Areas under the auspices of European Directives and/or the Barcelona Convention. ECOSAFIMED is one of the 39 projects to have received funding from the 1,095 projects presented at the second call for the 2007-2013 ENPI CBC MED Programme.
The ENPI Mediterranean Sea Programme is a cross-border co-operation initiative that forms part of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The programme’s aim is to promote co-operation between regions on both shores of the Mediterranean, in order to tackle common challenges and assess endogenous potentials.
A total of 14 countries, representing 76 regions and close to 110 million inhabitants, have benefited from the programme: Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, the Palestinian Authority, Portugal, Spain, Syria and Tunisia.
The programme has a budget of €200 million, funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, and the contribution to each project amounts to a maximum of 90 per cent of the total cost.
The projects funded deal with a range of issues relating to promoting socioeconomic and territorial development: supporting innovation and research; sustainable development and energy efficiency throughout the Mediterranean Sea Basin; improving conditions and the various forms of movement of persons, goods and capital; and promoting dialogue between cultures and forms of governance.
Information on the ECOSAFIMED project and the ENPI CBC MED Programme is available on the ENPI CBC MED and the EuropeAid Office of Development and Cooperation websites.
This publication was produced with financial support from the European Union, in the framework of the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the Biodiversity Foundation and do not under any circumstance reflect the position of the European Union or the Programme’s management structures.

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