Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


Sustainable integration of fisheries and aquaculture in coastal regions

Project acronym: Coexist

Title of project: Interaction in coastal waters: a roadmap to sustainable integration of aquaculture and fisheries

Research area: Fisheries & Aquaculture (Sustainable use of seas and oceans: integration of aquaculture and fisheries in the coastal zone)

Contract No: 245178

EU contribution: €2 995 000

Start date: April 2010

Duration: 36 months


The coastal regions of the European Union support a wide range of activities that make them of great socio-economic value. Coastal activities include fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and recreational pursuits as well as the more recent development of both offshore and onshore wind farms. There is a need to balance competing activities and avoid potential conflict over the allocation of space and other resources. At the same time, there is also a need to preserve a valuable natural resource while meeting environmental protection rules and regulations. Coexist adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to evaluate the interactions between fisheries and aquaculture as well as their integration with other coastal activities. The goal is to provide a roadmap leading to better integration, sustainability and synergies among the various activities developed in the coastal zone.

The project will study the interactions between capture fisheries and aquaculture, and evaluate mutual benefits and possible bottlenecks for concomitant development of these activities in the coastal zone. This will be done within the context of an ecosystem approach to management of human activities. It will propose, develop and evaluate the efficiency of spatial management tools (zoning, closed areas, etc.) to promote various coastal aquaculture and fisheries activities at different scales (e.g. local, regional). It will also investigate other opportunities (e.g. artificial reefs, protected areas, wind farms, tourism, etc.) within a context of competing claims for space allocation. Coexist will address differences in public acceptance of activities (fisheries, aquaculture, and other uses of the coastal zone) as well as by those involved in related business or trade. Case studies supported by national projects will be used to provide data for further analysis of identified problems. These studies will be representative of specific aquaculture and coastal fisheries activities as found in various coastal areas of Finland, Norway, Irish Sea (Ireland/UK), the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

Expected impacts

The project is expected to generate considerable information covering interactions on a biological, bio-geochemical and socio-economic level. It will consider the governance and legal aspects of multiple use in coastal regions, and provide detailed comparative analyses and integrated models for coastal waters at both regional and European level. These actions should provide significant support to the new European Maritime Policy and contribute to the spatial planning of coastal areas. This policy has been formulated on the basis that the EU has the world’s largest maritime territory, occupied by almost half of the EU’s population and producing around 50% of its GDP. Project results are therefore of significant potential in assisting legislative bodies, including the European Commission and national governments, as well as fishery organisations, trade bodies and other sectorial organisations. The impact will depend on the extent to which these bodies get to know of and act on the information gathered. To this end the project is developing a detailed strategy for communication and involvement of stakeholders as well as for dissemination of results to general and targeted audiences.

Expected results

Coexist will publish a roadmap for integration of aquaculture and fisheries with other activities in the coastal zone. It will also provide descriptions of relevant European coastal marine ecosystems, their current use and spatial management. It will produce an overview of legal policy and carry out a stakeholder analysis and mapping exercise to identify those with important roles. It will also clarify the extent of public acceptance of the various combinations of activities in coastal zones. Spatial management tools will provide guidance for combining coastal fisheries, aquaculture and other uses, both now and in the future. Recommendations made will be supported by conclusions from case studies covering patterns of interactions between fisheries and other uses in the regions indicated above.

Website of


Coordinator: Øivind Bergh,

Organisation: Institute of Marine Research, Norway,


Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Germany,

Agricultural Research, The Netherlands,

Institute of Marine Research, Portugal,

Aquatt Uetp Ltd, Ireland,

National Research Council, Italy,

National Institute for Biological Resources, Portugal,

Finnish Environment Institute, Finland,

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK,

Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Finland,

Danish Technical University, Denmark,

University College Cork, Ireland,

French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, France,