Integrated management of agriculture, fishery, environment and economy – a strategic research alliance (IMAGE/MAFIA) (38772)

Project Details


Management of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems is legally defined in several European directives. The scientific basis for implementing the directives has been limited by insufficient models, deficiencies in terms of uncertainties, local and regional aspects and lack of knowledge on the interplay between agriculture, fishery, environmental qualities in all surface waters, and economy.

The project aimed to establish an interdisciplinary and international approach designed to establish a body of knowledge to develop tools, models, scenarios and predictions in order to integrate science and management from agriculture, fishery, aquatic environments and economy into a common platform. The main aims were to link the complex interplay between land use in the drainage basins, the transport of nutrients to water bodies, biogeo-chemistry of freshwater and marine water, marine ecosystem dynamics and the removal of biomass and nutrients in marine fisheries all integrated into a management strategy evaluation (MSE) framework consisting of linked catchment area and river-run-off models, marine bio-geo-chemical models, end-to-end marine ecosystem models, fishery models, economic and cost-minimization models, and ecosystem services assessments models. Such a complex model and MSE framework could be used to assess effects of changing market conditions, changed agricultural and fishery support policies, as well as fulfillments of water related directives.

The Danish Strategic Research Council financed project IMAGE was a strategic research alliance between central Danish and international fisheries and marine environment based university institutes. The project integrated, educated, and trained new researchers and private and public end-users to develop and work with a number of empirical and dynamic models and management tools, further developed into cross traditional media and science-based decision support systems, to strengthen national and international environmental management. The results published in a high number of scientific peer reviewed articles have provided major scientific progress. The results and research quality included analyses of novel processes and development of new and improved models, integrated prognoses and scenarios for the interplay between changes in the drainage basins and the ecological and economic consequences, and a number of science-based decision support tools.

The work involved
1. identification of key elements and reduction of uncertainties in using complex models.
2. designing, developing and integrating important new concepts in the models.
3. linking models and evaluating their ability to detect and follow changes in terrestrial environments into ecological and economic consequences.
4. strengthened Danish research in linking science, modeling and management of the environment and economics and thereby consolidating a strong international position.

DTU Aqua has focused on further development, implementation and validation of advanced models and fisheries and ecosystem management evaluation tools: Development, calibration and implementation of the Baltic ATLANTIS end-to-end ecosystem and tropho-dynamic model linked to the HBM-ERGOM physical and bio-geo-chemical models and the FISHRENT fishery economic model; Further development and implementation of the bio-economic and individual vessel based multi-stock-multi-fleet DISPLACE simulation model; Dynamic coupling of the Baltic FLR multi-stock-multi-fleet bio-economic model to the SMS-Multi-Species model. The focus has been on biological interactions and integrated fisheries interactions.

The project had 12 project partners mainly from Danish universities (AU, DTU, KU, SDU) and national fisheries economics and fisheries research institutes (SMHI Sweden), but also from American, Swedish and Finnish universities as well as SMEs (e.g. DHI). The project was coordinated by Aarhus University. DTU Aqua was main project developer, WP4 leader and member of the Project Steering Group.

This project was funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research.

Research area: Fisheries Management
Research area: Ecosystem based Marine Management
Effective start/end date01/01/201031/12/2015


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