The results from the European research project, EcoFishMan, were presented at an international symposium at the National Research Council in Rome on 28th February 2014. The project has devised a new „Responsive Fisheries Management System“ (RFMS) in collaboration with key stakeholders in European fisheries.
The vision of the EcoFishMan project has been to contribute to a fundamentally new approach to fisheries management in Europe that can be accepted by stakeholders, governments, authorities, and industries alike, and thus have a significant impact on the future of fisheries policy.
RFMS outlines a process for transferring responsibility for fisheries management to the fishermen (resource users), provided that they document and achieve specified management objectives. Ecological, economic and social aspects are taken into account, as well as ways to improve cooperation and mutual understanding between policy makers and stakeholders to facilitate its implementation. Stakeholder‘s involvement is strengthened by taking into account their knowledge and requirements.
The RFMS is implemented in stages and customised for each fishery. EcoFishMan assessed the feasibility of different policy options as a first step to recommend alternatives for each fishery. The interaction process with stakeholders confirmed that there is an interest to consider RFMS as a decision support tool for fisheries management in suitable pilots in European fisheries. It also provides a template for drafting discard mitigation plans as part of the current reforms of the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Mike Park from the Scottish Whitefish Producers Association said: „With this new approach to fisheries I think we can tackle the current problems of the CFP which are: the weakness of policy objectives, the short-sighted and often reactive decision making system, which makes delivery of change very difficult for industry and stakeholder groups“.
The new system gives fishers more responsibility for managing and reporting their own activities. The responsibility for detailed allocation and control of individual quotas and compliance is moved away from centralised government towards the fishermen. This will ensure a higher degree of local ownership of the fish and of the data, and the transparency, both of decisions and transgressions will increase.
The projects was also presented on 5th March 2014 during the international conference “Fisheries dependent Information”, 3-6 March 2014 at FAO headquarters in Rome.
The €3.8 million project was funded under the EU FP7 (EC seventh framework programme) for three years from 1 March 2011. The EcoFishMan consortium consisted of the following 14 members: Matis (IS), Eurofish (DK), CETMAR (ES), Syntesa (FO), University of Iceland (UI), National Research Council / Institute of Marine Sciences (IT), Nofima Marin (NO), University of Tromsø (NO), Centro de Ciências do Mar (PT), IPMA (PT), MAPIX technologies Ltd (UK), Marine Scotland Science (UK), University of Aberdeen (UNIABDN) and Seafish (UK).
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