Fisheries will only ever be as successful as the ecosystems in which they operate. Natural capital may – amongst other things – encompass a region’s potential for resources, employment, mitigation of climate change, recreation and culture. In accordance with CABFISHMAN’s ecosystem-based approach, this area of work seeks to evaluate the impact of small-scale fisheries on the Northeast Atlantic’s natural capital and safeguard its biodiversity.

To do this, we are developing ways to categorise the impacts that small-scale fishing activity has on ecosystem welfare. Ultimately, this categorisation system will be applied to various habitats and specific methods of fishing.

We will achieve this through the following process:

  • Assessing the integrity of marine resources, allowing us to garner an understanding of current habitat state;
  • Producing maps detailing the present ecological impacts of small-scale fisheries. Over time, these maps will include an outline of particular impact ‘hot spots’ and the fishing methods that represent the greatest threat to habitats;
  • Proposing mitigation measures that have a solid grounding in scientific research. This includes assessments of relevant habitats and detailed knowledge of the needs of the fishing industry.

Through our natural capital work, CABFISHMAN enables policy makers and industry representatives to operate in a way that ensures the integrity of habitats and sustainability of fishing resources in the long term, while generating significant environmental benefits to the ecosystem as a whole.

Lead partner: Portuguese Institute for the Ocean and Atmosphere

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