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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“Towards an improved understanding of factors affecting fish stock recovery”

The problem

In recent years, several exploited fish stocks in European waters have reached historically low levels and are in danger of collapse. In more extreme cases, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea’s (ICES) management advice is to close fisheries. However, knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of stock recovery – as well as a comprehensive evaluation of the success and failure of management countermeasures – is still largely missing. For example, the biology and population parameters of the affected stocks might have changed. In addition, the extent to which stock recovery is influenced by natural and anthropogenic variations needs to be studied carefully.

UNCOVER  Developing more effective stock-recovery programmes


The purpose of UNCOVER is to develop recovery strategies for EU fish stocks that are outside safe biological limits. The principle objectives are to:

  • Identify changes occurring during stock decline and their consequences for the prospects of stock recovery
  • Enhance the understanding of environmental and biological mechanisms of fish stock recovery

To fulfil these objectives, UNCOVER will take a multidisciplinary approach to:

  • Synthesise and integrate relevant information from previous and ongoing research programmes
  • Evaluate and develop strategies that incorporate biological and environmental factors, as well as technical and socio-economic constraints

Contribution to policy development:

  • Provide a rational, scientific basis for developing recovery plans for stocks that are outside safe biological limits
  • Help the EU and member states meet international obligations for the restoration and sustainable management of fisheries by 2015 (Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development)
  • Underpin development of an ecosystem approach to fishery management
  • Contribute to the EU policy for improving economic stability for the fishing industry

Project deliverables

  • Three reports on maturation and spawning, management strategies and sudden changes in food webs – November 2006
  • Annual project report and newsletter – March 2007/2008/2009
  • Report: genetic responses to anthropogenic interactions – December 2007
  • Two reports on the application of bio-economic and compliance theory and social impact assessments – September 2008
  • A range of models describing key aspects of case-study stock reproductive and migratory biology – December 2008
  • Report: Prediction of the impact of trophic control on stock recovery paths – November 2009
  • Final project report and policy implementation plan – March 2010


  • A publicly accessible website will provide project details and summaries
  • A project newsletter will be published annually
  • Close links will be maintained with complementary EU-funded SSP projects such as: BECAUSE; PROTECT, INDECO, EFIMAS, COMMIT, and through the Networks of Excellence MARBEF, EUROCEANS, etc.

Technical information

Project acronym: UNCOVER
Project’s official full title: UNderstanding the Mechanisms of Stock ReCOVERy
Research priority: 1.3. Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Specific webpage: Details not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 022717
Start date: 1 March 2006
Kick off meeting: March 2006
Completion date: February 2010
European Commission scientific officer: Tore Jakobsen,

Name: Cornelius Hammer,
Institute for Baltic Sea Fisheries Rostock
Abbreviated name: BFAFi
Address: Alter Hafen Süd 2
D-18069 Rostock
Country: Germany
Tel: +49 381 811 61 00
Fax: +49 381 811 61 99


Name: Fundación AZTI Marine Research Unit
Abbreviated name: AZTI
Country: Spain

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

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

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

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

Name: Instituto Español de Oceanografía
Abbreviated name: IEO
Country: Spain

Name: Institute for Fisheries, Manage­ment & Coastal Community Development
Abbreviated name: IFM
Country: Denmark

Name: Leibniz Institut für Meeres­wissen­schaften an der Universität Kiel
Abbreviated name: IFM-GEOMAR
Country: Germany

Name: Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer – Ecologie et Modèle pour l'Halieutique
Abbreviated name: IFREMER
Country: France

Name: Institute of Marine Research
Abbreviated name: IMR
Country: Norway

Name: Morski Instytut Rybacki w Gdyni (Sea Fisheries Institute, Gdynia
Abbreviated name: SFI
Country: Poland

Name: Knipovich Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography
Abbreviated name: PINRO
Country: Russia

Name: Nederlands Instituut voor Visserij Onderzoek
Abbreviated name: RIVO
Country: The Ne­ther­lands

Name: University of Aberdeen – School of Biological Sciences
Abbreviated name: Uni-Abd
Country: United Kingdom

Name: University of Bergen – Department of Biology
Abbreviated name: UiB
Country: Norway

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