EU launches sustainable fisheries project
© Sam Howzit

EU launches sustainable fisheries project

The EU has launched the ClimeFish project in an attempt to evaluate data streams to encourage European fisheries to adapt to the changing risks and opportunities presented by climate change.

The EU has granted €5m to the new sustainable fishing project, which will develop tools and networks aimed at ensuring all stakeholders in seafood production obtain up-to-date information on how and where the climate is changing, what this will mean for fish stocks, and how to direct their practices.

ClimeFish will bring scientists and stakeholders in the seafood supply chain together to calculate best practice, given changes in the environment.

Members of the project include the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP).

ClimeFish say they will produce a ‘traffic light’ system warning fisheries and relevant stakeholders of significant climate changes and to redirect their practices accordingly, saving costs and avoiding depletion of already threatened stocks of fish.

Michaela Aschan, co-ordinator of the project and professor of fisheries biology at the University of Tromsø, Norway, explained that the work will be based on previous case studies and will lay the groundwork for sustainable practice.

Aschan said: “ClimeFish will prepare Europe when it comes to climate change and safeguard fisheries and aquaculture, the focus is on the most produced and most resilient species of fish – all those which would have the most severe economic consequences.

“This development is processed when we create a forecast, talk to the stakeholders, then come up with best practices, and work out how this can be enacted.

“The framework will also include data sets, trial runs, mapping systems, and anything that could help different kinds of production systems.”

Courtney Hough, director of FEAP, added: “We are looking to establish what to do if climate change really affects fisheries and aquaculture.”