Project: Tools for the transition to spatial management of coastal resources: the stalked barnacle fishery in SW Europe.

Acronym PERCEBES (Reference Number: 95)
Duration 28/02/2017 - 28/02/2020
Project Topic Spatial management of the marine environment is central to the EU environmental strategy, with both the Marine Strategy Framework and the Habitats Directives relying heavily on the spatial allocation of activities in the sea. While a major point of concern for these policies is the sustainable use of fish stocks, the Common Fisheries Policy has traditionally favored non-spatial catch and effort regulations over spatial management actions. Moreover, in the EU the top-down approach of the Common Fisheries Policy has neglected the small scale fleet (SSF), which offers the greatest potential for the bottom-up emergence of spatially structured management practices. In the EU, the stalked barnacle (SB) fishery is managed with a wide range of spatial tools from simple open access, through Marine Reserves, to Territorial Users Rights for Fishing (TURF). In some regions, local ecological knowledge has led to TURF co-management at spatial scales of only tens of meters, including a unique possibility of yearly bans for individual rocks (similar to fallow periods in agriculture). Since barnacle harvesting likely affects the structure of the intertidal community, this fishery is a perfect case study for the exploration of new spatial management tools and their interaction with biodiversity. Project PERCEBES builds on the sheer diversity of management scenarios of the European SB fishery, and on its ongoing, active process of innovation in spatial co-management, to develop a set of tools to forecast the implications of spatial management options on productivity, biodiversity and connectivity, and to extract precious information to guide marine spatial planning in other contexts in the EU. PERCEBES is intended as a scientific and practical demonstration of the effects of SB harvesting on biodiversity, productivity and connectivity of SB stands. This will be done by a continental-scale, Human Exclusion Experiment (HEE) and by construction of regional, spatially explicit Bioeconomic Models (BM) at the coasts of Alentejo (ALE, Portugal), Atlantic Islands (AGA, Galicia, Spain), Western Asturias (WAST, Asturias, Spain) and South Brittany (SBRIT, France), covering the latitudinal range where SB are exploited in the EU. The HEE will use stainless steel cages to simulate the effects of 1 and 2 year harvest halts and open plots as controls where harvest continues unimpeded. The HEE will test the effect of those treatments on the biodiversity, productivity and economic value of the SB and on their potential to produce larvae. The results of the human exclusion experiment (HEE) will be linked to biophysical larval dispersal models (LDM) to visualize the seeding effects of fallow or protected areas on other regions and the patterns of connectivity among managed or co-managed units. These models will be validated by direct measurement of recruitment distributed in time (2 sites will be sampled monthly during 2 years) and space (ten sites will be inspected at a single moment in time). In addition, PERCEBES seeks to stablish a consortium with the fishers to secure a large number of recruitment observations distributed in time and space. Last, project PERCEBES will combine results from experiment, hydrodynamic models and landings data into spatially explicit bioeconomic models (BM). BMs will allow generation of "policyscapes" to optimize the conservation/exploitation tradeoff. This work will be carried out by 4 research groups with strong background on manipulative experimentation in rocky shores, population genetics and cirripede ecology (University of Evora-UEV, University of Vigo-Uvi, University of Oviedo-UNIOVI and University Paul and Marie Curie-UPMC) and 2 groups with strong background on biophysical modelling of larval transport (Engineering School and Research Institute-ENSTA, University of Aveiro-UAV).. PERCEBES contemplates collaborative engagement of stakeholders, with fishers, administration and ONGs involved in site selection, experiment surveillance and sample collection. At the end of PERCEBES, fishers, scientists, administrators and ONGs will participate in a facilitated workshop with the goal of producing a Policy Brief with recommendations based on the project results. PERCEBES will also produce a videodocumentary focused on the effects of harvesting on biodiversity patterns, intended for a general audience, and focused on the science of the interaction humans-ecosystem.
Network BiodivERsA3
Call BiodivERsA3 Joint Call 2015

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Oviedo Coordinator Spain
2 École nationale supérieure de techniques avancées Bretagne Partner France
3 University of Aveiro Partner Portugal
4 University of Évora Partner Portugal
5 University of Vigo Partner Spain
6 University Pierre and Marie Curie Partner France