Managing Fisheries to Conserve Groundfish and Benthic Invertebrate Species Diversity
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The primary aim of MAFCONS is:

To provide the scientific advisors to fisheries managers with the tools that would allow them to quantify the consequences to groundfish and benthic invertebrate species diversity of achieving particular fisheries objectives (eg. increasing or decreasing the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of Cod).

If successful MAFCONS will:

Develop the mathematical tools to the point where they could be used in the current ICES fisheries stock assessment procedure.
This would present ICES (the scientific advisory body) with the opportunity of providing the EC and fisheries ministers with advice regarding the impact of fisheries policy on the wider marine ecosystem, as well as on the fish stocks themselves.

MAFCONS ethos:

MAFCONS is firmly established in the belief that any model (mathematical tool) designed to predict the potential impact of varying fisheries activity on the diversity of marine communities should be based on a sound understanding of ecological theory.

With this in mind the specific objectives of MAFCONS are to:

  • Bring together and formalise the relevant ecological theory in order to develop suitable hypotheses related to the mechanisms through which the ecological disturbance of fishing affects the diversity of fish and benthos communities.

  • Collect the relevant data to test these hypotheses, including data on:

    • variation in fishing effort to estimate variation in ecological disturbance.
    • variation in benthic invertebrate productivity and species diversity.
    • variation in groundfish species diversity.

  • Establish the relationships between fishing effort (which will be used to predict ecological disturbance) and the tools used to manage fisheries
    (at present TACs, but moving towards restriction of effort and closed areas or seasons in some situations).

A project funded under the
European Union Quality of
Life and Management of Living Resources

Contract no: Q5RS-2002-00856
Key Action 5.1.2
Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

Project coordination: Dr John Lancaster
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