European Decapod Crustacean Fisheries: Assessment and Management options.

The overall objective of the EDFAM Concerted Action project is to provide a framework for the future data requirements, assessment and management of European decapod crustaceans. EDFAM will also discuss the optimum management structures and policies that connect the structure and dynamics of these resources, the fishing process and the socio-economic framework within which they are exploited. These actions are warranted given the low level of assessment work and consequent poorly defined management policies for the majority of these species and the importance of these resources to artisanal and offshore fisheries in Europe. Although some stock monitoring programs exist in many countries and assessment is carried out at the ICES WG level there is significant doubt regarding the robustness of the models and the advice to management.

These processes need to be reviewed. Also, there is sufficient new knowledge world-wide to allow EDFAM to incorporate new developments eg. metapopulation concepts and to apply them to European stock assessment protocols. The specific objectives and actions of EDFAM are: 1. Review existing assessment data collection programmes for European decapod crustaceans. 2. Review current stock assessment methodologies and management measures for decapods in Europe. This to include the models used, methods of parameter estimation, assumptions and robustness of the assessments, management structures and management policies. Performance indicators for this process will be evaluated by analysing to what extent the output from the assessment is incorporated into management policy and if the fisheries are positively affected by the process. 3. Develop new approaches to assessment of decapods especially taking into account the population structure, source sink dynamics and the recruitment process in these species.

Experts from outside of Europe will be especially important to the achievement of this goal. 4. Explore the capacity for standardised assessment data collection and modelling for decapods and develop a data base template for such a standardised protocol. This template will not be a fully populated database for European decapods but it’s design will be important in promoting standardisation of data collection programmes and procedures for all European decapod fisheries. 5. Review the management structures. Identify optimum systems for management of decapod stocks that would facilitate the acquisition of data and knowledge from fishers, would optimise the implementation of policy within the socio-economic and legal context which it faces, would have sufficient credibility and resources to successfully implement policies and be of a scale compatible with the stock distribution and structure. EDFAM will evaluate the various stages of the assessment process from data collection to modelling leading up to management and the obstacles or bottlenecks that may occur in the process.

The overall objective is to provide a framework for improvement in scientific advice to a management structure that can implement that advice and promote sustainable exploitation in this sector. The findings of the project will be disseminated to industry and to fisheries laboratories in Europe involved in research and assessment of decapod resources. EDFAM takes a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates the knowledge of experts at all stages of the assessment and management process. Experts from outside of the contractual group and industry representatives will be invited to participate and are important to the achievement of the objectives.

Final Report      Project’s website