Project description

ECOAST’s general aim is to merge different approaches (ecological, social and economic) within a unified framework to provide overall information for future development of fisheries and aquaculture in coastal areas, also including spatial conflicts with other users and the stakeholders’ point of view. This goal will be achieved by implementing and integrating already existing models (e.g., DISPLACE, GRID, InVEST) some of which have been developed by the partners of this proposal in the framework of previous research projects.

The project’s goals will be delivered through the following objectives:

  1. to map productive marine areas and priority areas for fisheries and aquaculture;
  2. to assess the interaction of fisheries and aquaculture with other human activities;
  3. to assess the cumulative impact of fisheries and aquaculture on ecosystem components with special focus on priority/sensitive habitats;
  4. to measure economic and ecological performance of alternative spatial plans by scenario evaluations including delineating locations and space limits that ensures certain levels of production to local fishers and farmers;
  5. to develop an operational modelling framework to analyse stakeholders’ behaviour and predict their likely responses to spatial management options;
  6. to assess common opportunities and obstacles to integrate fisheries and aquaculture in MSP based on stakeholder consultations.

ECOAST’s objectives will be addressed to various extents in seven case studies, selected to represent regional seas with economically important human activities including fisheries and aquaculture. The CS areas exemplify various MSP processes ranging from implemented and legally binding maritime plans to recently initiated MSP and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM). The seven CSs have common and specific characteristics, such as coastal and artisanal fisheries in contrast to other fishing segments or aquaculture sites with their respective governance settings, which affect the process for an integrated ecosystem based approach to MSP.