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Costing the impact of demersal fishing on marine ecosystem processes and biodiversity

The primary objectives are to provide advice to decision-makers on:
How demersal fishing impacts the biodiversity of marine benthos and the associated goods and services, such as nutrient cycling that they provide.
How these impacts influence other marine ecosystem processes.
What the likely values of marine ecosystem goods and services are and how these values are affected by fishing.
If successful, the project will help managers to integrate fishing policy with environment policy. COST-IMPACT will provide tools that help determine whether a balance can be achieved between the economic value of a fishery and the impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems and the economic value of the goods and services they provide.
With such knowledge strategies can be developed for management of fisheries effort. Such strategies would balance the environmental impact on marine benthic biodiversity and the services the benthos provides for marine ecosystem functioning against the socio-economic benefits of fishing.

1) To seek, collate and add value to existing data on the effects of demersal fishing on benthic communities inhabiting marine soft sediments in order to produce a coherent and unified database of spatially referenced faunal information, upon which models and analyses may be based.
2) Carry out mesocosm and field experiments to elucidate:
the relative contribution of large individual benthic organisms and the communities associated with them to nutrient cycing
the influence of large individuals and groups/patches of large benthic organisms on associated benthic biodiversity
the relationship between nutrient cycling capacity and biodiversity of benthic communities in areas subjected to different degrees of fishing
how these functions vary seasonally
Model effects of fishing on marine benthic communities and marine ecosystem processes
Model the values of ecosystem services and natural capital and how these change in response to changes in fishing effort

An integrated European database.
Models of relationships between fishing and biodiveristy.
Models of the relationship between biodiversity and nutrient cycling.
Model of the effects of changes in fishing on marine ecosystems.


Scientist responsible for the project

Prospect Place, West Hoe
PL1 3DH Plymouth
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 1752 633100
Fax: +44 1752 633101


Project ID QLRT-2000-00993
Organisation Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Area 5.1.2
Start date 01 December 2001
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 3 203 115 €
Total EC contribution   1 932 894 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project

The partners

  • LEI B.V., Netherlands (The) - NL

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