Important legal notice
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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“ To assess the costs and benefits of conservation and fisheries management through effective marine protected areas”

The problem

Marine protected areas (MPA) are seen as an instrument for improving both fishery management and marine environmental protection. Although such benefits are often easily identified, little empirical evidence exist to demonstrate the real effectiveness of MPAs. This is due to insufficient information and instruments for MPA design, monitoring and evaluation.

PROTECT  Ecosystem conservation and fisheries management through Marine Protected Areas


PROTECT seeks to provide European policy-makers with improved tools for the identification, design and management of MPAs. It will bring together the collective expertise of 17 leading European marine research institutes who will:

  • Evaluate the potential of MPAs as a tool to protect sensitive species and habitats against the effect of fishing
  • Develop scientific methods and information products to design and evaluate the effect of MPAs
  • Co-operate with other EU-funded projects, such as EMPAFISH
  • Organise a series of thematic workshops and compile reports that will draw from experience and lessons learnt from specific case studies

 Contribution to policy development:

  • PROTECT directly addresses the policy priority for assessing the potential of marine protected areas for marine environment protection and fisheries management, as expressed in Elements of a Strategy for the integration of environmental protection requirements into the Common Fisheries Policy (COM 2001.143)
  • PROTECT will support the EU in pursuing its objectives for the conservation of marine biodiversity and the establishment of MPAs, as agreed in the Convention on Biological Diversity in Rio de Janeiro (1992), at the UN Environment Summit in Johannesburg (2002) and at the OSPAR-HELCOM Ministerial conference in Bremen, June 2003

Project deliverables

  • Initial review of MPAs as management measures – July 2005
  • A series of scientific tools and knowledge products to design, monitor and evaluate MPAs, including:
  1. Strategies to monitor and assess MPAs
  2. Meta-database on MPA information
  3. Ecosystem indicators
  4. Stock specific spatial models; multi-species and multi-fleet models; bio- and socio-economic models
  • Case specific information through studies on specific ecosystems in the Baltic Sea (top-down controlled ecosystem); the North Sea (a wasp-waist ecosystem); and the North East Atlantic (deep sea coral reefs) – ongoing
  • Synthesised information for EU policy support, including:
  1. Improved scientific advice on MPAs to achieve their objectives with respect to target species and ecosystems
  2. Improved scientific advice on MPA impacts on fisheries and socioeconomic consequences
  3. Recommendations on legal strategies to be adopted for establishing MPAs
  • Policy Implementation Plan, June 2008


  • Project website – Project leaflet – Project newsletter – CD-ROM of all project information and reports compiled
  • Thematic workshops on MPAs – Dialogue meetings with non-project stakeholders - International symposium on MPAs
  • Proceedings from thematic workshops – Scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and presentation at international meetings – Articles for popular scientific journals - Annual project report – Policy Implementation Plan - Final Project report

Technical information

Project acronym: PROTECT
Project’s official full title: Marine Protected areas as a tool for ecosystem conservation and fisheries management
Research priority: 1.3. Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Proposal/contract no: 513670
Start date: January 2005
Kick off meeting: February 2005
Completion date: June 2008
European Commission scientific officer: Jacques Fuchs (

Name: Danish Institute for Fisheries Research
Abbreviated name: DIFRES
Scientific Coordinator: Erik Hoffmann (
Scientific Project Manager: Ole S. Vestergaard (
Address: Danish Institute for Fisheries Research
Dept. of Marine Fisheries
Charlottenlund Castle
DK-2920 Charlottenlund
Country: Denmark
Phone: +45 3396 3300
Fax: +45 3396 3333


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

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

Name: Swedish National Board of Fisheries
Abbreviated name: NBF
Country: Sweden

Name: Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Kiel
Abbreviated name: IfML
Country: Germany

Name: Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, University of Hamburg
Abbreviated name: IHF
Country: Germany

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

Name: Danish Research Institute of Food Economics
Abbreviated name: FOI
Country: Denmark

Name: Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Natural Environment Research Council
Abbreviated name: NERC
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Abbreviated name: CEFAS
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Fisheries Research Services, Marine Laboratory Aberdeen
Abbreviated name: FRS
Country: United Kingdom

Name: The Marine Law and Ocean Policy Centre, National University of Ireland
Abbreviated name: MRI
Country: Ireland

Name: Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources, University of Portsmouth
Abbreviated name: CEMARE
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploration de la Mer
Abbreviated name: IFREMER
Country: France

Name: Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research
Abbreviated name: RIVO
Country: Netherlands

Name: Dept. of Marine Ecology, Gothenburg University
Abbreviated name: GU
Country: Sweden

Name: Institute for Marine Research
Abbreviated name: IMR-N
Country: Norway

Name: Norwegian College of Fisheries Science
Abbreviated name: NCFS
Country: Norway