Establishment and testing of area-based management models for North Sea sandeel fisheries (ETOMTOBIS) (38588)

Project Details


The goal of this project is to investigate the effects of area-based management for sandeel stocks and the fisheries. Objectives include developing for optimal area-based management of sandeel fisheries in the North Sea. The tools will first be tested through computer simulations and the experience gained will be used to develop a revised management model at the end of the project.

The project will also help fisheries managers to act proactively to other marine management initiatives. In connection with the implementation of the EU Habitat Directive in the North Sea, EU coastal states appoint Natura 2000 areas by 2010. Area based analysis of population dynamics is therefore necessary to quantify the effect of fishing at the local level, and subsequently assess whether fisheries are affecting the habitat. Additional field-based analysis will be valuable in assessing interaction of the sandeel fishery with potential Natura 2000 areas. Spatial management is not only intended to restrict fishing. A description of the consequences for fisheries and sandeel population dynamics are important in assessing the benefits and drawbacks of introducing area-based management of sandeel fisheries in the North Sea.

Currently the sandeel fishery is managed under the assumption that there is one population of the sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) in the North Sea, in spite of this, the North Sea sandeel stock can be divided into several sub-populations. Based on recent research there is now a strong wish from ICES (see eg. ICES 2007 and 2008) and from the EU (see eg. STECF 2005), to introduce area based management of the sandeel fisheries, in order to adjust fishing to a level defined as sustainable for each of the local sub-populations.

Sandeel stocks in the North Sea will be divided into separate management units, each of which can be regarded as sub-populations who have little or no mutual exchange of both sand eel fry and adult sandeels, as presented in the final report of the project TORTN (project 38128). An assessment model will be developed to analyze sandeel population dynamics for each of the identified management units. A forecast model based on the relevant scientific surveys will predict the actual size of the sandeel recruitment in each of the management areas. Finally a tool will be developed that calculates the catch of sandeels in each of the management areas in a number of scenarios that include output of maximum sustainable yield, the most stable catches, and optimal fisheries management.

The project also includes a field sampling module, using two different methods, pelagic larval and demersal 0-group sampling, associated with a tool technological module for this collection to measure the size of the sandeel recruitment. The purpose of the field collection is to continue and analyze existing time series of field data to further develop area based recruitment indices. Field data should also be used as a fishery independent index of the sandeel stock size in the developed assessment model.

The project is coordinated by DTU Aqua.

Research area: Marine Living Resources
Effective start/end date01/01/200831/12/2010

Collaborative partners


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