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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“To restore and maintain the natural balance in European seas.”

The problem

Across Europe, the population of predatory fish has fallen dramatically in recent years. This has reduced the predation rate and the prey species has remained fairly stable. Therefore the balance between predators and prey species has been radically changed. We currently have no accurate scientific picture of the exact interactions between these species and their effects on non-commercial top predators. To maintain biodiversity and make recovery plans more effective, such an understanding is vital.

BECAUSE  Improving multi-species fisheries assessment in five European regional seas


The sustainable management of European fisheries requires an adaptive approach that takes into account the long-term dynamics of the entire marine ecosystem so as to protect the biodiversity of our seas.

  • BECAUSE investigates the interaction between predator and prey, and the shifts in their relative populations
  • The project also looks into how fishing affects the balance of the marine food chain
  • The interactions targeted for investigation include sandeel/predator fish, predators and prey of cod, and hake/prey fish

Contribution to policy development:

  • BECAUSE will help integrate a sustainable ecosystem approach into the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)
  • The project will help the EU meet its global fishing commitments and underwrite the sustainability of ecosystem services
  • It will improve multi-species fisheries assessment and propose optimal policy and management measures to replenish fish stocks and ensure high yields
  • It will result in an integrated and holistic approach to fisheries management and conservation

Project deliverables

  • Revision and development of consumption rate models – March 2005
  • Food web models and time series of diet overlaps between key predators – April 2005
  • Development of various process models – October 2005
  • Integration and validation of BECAUSE-enhanced process sub-models into existing multi-species models – February 2006
  • Quantification of various multi-species models – June 2006
  • Assessment of multi-species fisheries management strategies – January 2007


  • Website launch – March 2004
  • Project newsletter – August 2004
  • Mid-term activity report – August 2005
  • BECAUSE final report – March 2007

Technical information

Project acronym: BECAUSE
Project’s official full title: Critical Interactions BEtween Species and their Implications for a PreCAUtionary FiSheries Management in a variable Environment  – a Modelling Approach
Research priority: Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 502482
Start date: 1/03/2004
Kick off meeting: March 2004
Completion date: 28/2/2007
European Commission scientific officer: Jacques Fuchs (

Name: Dr Axel Temming (, Universität Hamburg
Abbreviated Name: UniHH
Address: Olbersweg 24, D-22767 Hamburg
Country: Germany
Tel: +49 40 428 387 790
Fax: +49 40 428 386 270


Name: Fundacion AZTI
Abbreviated Name: AZTI
Country: Spain

Name: Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science
Abbreviated Name: CEFAS
Country: UK

Name: Danish Institute for Fisheries Research
Abbreviated Name: DIFRES
Country: Denmark

Name: Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute
Abbreviated Name: FGFRI
Country: Finland

Name: Fisheries Research Services Marine Laboratory
Abbreviated Name: FRS MLA
Country: UK

Name: Marine Research Institute
Abbreviated Name: MRI
Country: Iceland

Name: Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften an der Universität Kiel
Abbreviated Name: IfM
Country: Germany

Name: Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer
Abbreviated Name: IFREMER
Country: France

Name: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
Abbreviated Name: CSIC-E
Country: Spain

Name: Institute of Marine Research
Abbreviated Name: IMR-N
Country: Norway

Name: National Centre for Marine Research
Abbreviated Name: NCMR
Country: Greece

Name: Sea Fisheries Institute
Abbreviated Name: SFI
Country: Poland

Name: Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell Uomo – University of Rome La Sapienza
Abbreviated Name: URom
Country: Italy

Name: University of St. Andrews
Abbreviated Name: UStAn
Country: UK

Name: Latvian Fisheries Research institute
Abbreviated Name: LATFRI
Country: Latvia

Name: National Board of Fisheries, Institute of Marine Research
Abbreviated Name: IMR-S
Country: Sweden