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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“Towards better understanding and protection of essential fish habitats.”

The problem

During the past decade, the importance of identifying, designating and protecting essential fish habitats (EFH) has been widely recognised. It embraces waters and substrata necessary for fish to spawn, breed, feed, or grow to maturity. EFH mapping and designation can support the spatial component of fishery management, a component that has often been overlooked in fishery policies. The new framework regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy requires the clear identification and protection of essential fish habitat and its inclusion in new fishery policies.

EnviEFH  Mapping essential fish habitats


EnviFH will develop protocols for identifying and mapping EFH and their presentation on a rapid-reference GIS database. It will achieve this by:

  • Collating and using existing environmental and
    biological data
  • Identifying and mapping the spatio-temporal distribution of ocean production processes
  • Introducing species’ life history information to the description of environment-species interactions
  • Validating and disseminating project results to fishery managers, scientists and coastal-community stakeholders

Contribution to policy development:

  • EnviFH will establish an essential fish habitat GIS-database that will provide fishery managers with a rapid-reference system for informing decision-makers
  • The project will identify areas of particular sensitivity or importance to fish and enable managers to ensure these areas receive appropriate protection
  • Project results and methods developed will help the EU and Member States to meet their international obligations for marine environmental protection through fishery management

Project deliverables

  • Annual report – January 2007
  • Report: GIS oceanographic and fisheries database for the Mediterranean Sea – January 2008
  • Report: Time-series maps of up-welling, thermal fronts and marine productivity hotspots – January 2008
  • Report: Time-series maps and demonstration system for designation of EFH – January 2008
  • Final project report – January 2008


  • Website and newsletter – March 2006
  • Report: Stakeholder-validation national workshops – January 2008
  • Publication in international peer-review scientific journals – as needed
  • Presentations at a wide variety of stakeholder meetings and conferences (fishing industry, scientific, environmental) – ongoing
  • Participation in the annual European Science Week

Technical information

Project acronym: EnviEFH 
Project’s official full title: Environmental Approach to Essential Fish Habitat Designation
Research priority: 1.3. Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 022466
Start date: 1 December 2005
Kick off meeting: December 2005
Completion date: January 2008
European Commission scientific officer: Jacques Fuchs,

Vasilis Valavanis
Name: Hellenic Centre for Marine Research-Institute of Marine Biological Resources
Abbreviated name: HCMR-IMBR
Address: HCMR Crete (new buildings)
PO Box 2214
Heraklion 71003
Country: Greece
Tel: +30 810 337 817
Fax: +30 810 337 822


Name: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas-Instituto de Ciencias del Mar
Abbreviated name: CSIC-ICM
Country: Spain

Name: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Ecosystemes Coralliens: Structure et Fonctionnement-Laboratoire d’Ecologie Aquatique Tropicale et Mediterraneenne
Abbreviated name: CNRS-EPHE
Country: France

Name: University of Aberdeen-School of Biological Sciences (Zoology)
Abbreviated name: UNIABDN
Country: United Kingdom