SEAwise is led by a core team of partners who lead the programme’s work themes and regional case studies, and spearhead the fantastic work being done to encourage our SEAWise Network to get involved in all areas of our research. They bring their knowledge and experience of fisheries and marine ecosystems, not to mention their enthusiasm and passion, to make a real impact to the longevity of sustainable management systems. Collectively, they make up our Steering Committee.
We spoke with each of them to hear more about what drives them to work towards the implementation of EBFM, and find out what excites them most about their work within SEAwise!
How is EBFM important to you?
Over recent years, I’ve seen first-hand the need for fisheries management that goes further than estimating exploitation levels for single species or stocks. New policies have emerged that bring the needs and intricacies of ecosystems to the foreground, from the Common Fisheries Policy and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive which explicitly include cross-species and cross-sector directives, to the European Biodiversity Strategy and UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to establish larger networks and efforts to support marine welfare. As a result of these new policy initiatives, EBFM has become a significant focus for many advisory working groups, with agendas geared towards understanding the interactions/impacts of fisheries with and on the ecosystem. It’s important to me that we contribute to these efforts.
Which aspects of Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management interest you most, and why?
As lead for SEAwise’s Spatial Management Impacts work theme, my interest focuses on determining the cause and effects of changes in spatial distribution of fish and fisheries, and linking these to productivity, fisheries selectivity, and economy. Currently, studies focus on temporal data and are rarely spatially explicit. Geographical shifts in stocks have not yet been reviewed and summarized in a comprehensive way that would allow for wider conclusions to be drawn. I’m looking forward to developing these syntheses as part of SEAwise.
How do you think your work in SEAwise will improve Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management?
Despite EBFM’s prevalence in policy and advisory agendas, we are still far from meeting its aspirations. We are not yet fully aware of the full functioning of ecosystems, while data collection schemes remain primarily geared towards commercial catch data, ignoring other impacted species.
SEAwise provides an opportunity to address some of these gaps, working closely with stakeholders to understand their perceptions and establish common priorities. Working with the wealth of data collected over the past 20 years, we will be able to advance statistical models to provide biological interpretations of the impacts of spatial management. By exploring these ‘what-if’ situations, SEAwise will allow decision makers to weigh their options and plan future steps!
Dimitrios has a multidisciplinary background that includes fisheries population dynamics, climate change impacts, and stakeholder perception and EU policies. He sits on STECF as member of the Mediterranean fisheries management subgroup, and is involved in the EU initiatives CERES and PANDORA which seek to incorporate understanding about climate change and other risks into fisheries management. As part of SEAwise, Dimitrios leads the Spatial Management Impacts work theme.
Our dynamic network of fisheries stakeholders is key to SEAwise’s work. We are actively seeking representatives from key management agencies, the fishing sector, NGOs and the scientific community to take part in workshops and other in-person or online knowledge-gathering activities. The shared insights and lived experiences of network members will support the development of a comprehensive understanding of the needs and priorities of a diverse range of fisheries stakeholders, and how to fulfil these.
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