A supported transition of the present fishing fleet to an optimal, sustainable fleet

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    In socio-economic terms, how does the desired future Flemish fishing fleet look within ecologically sustainable conditions? Which transition paths lead to a sustainable fleet that fits the vision of the Flemish fishing industry? This study is innovative because it integrates the socio-economic and technical expertise at ILVO to answer these questions. The final goal is to aid the transition of the Flemish fisheries towards sustainable fisheries through clear quantitative information on the socio-economic impact of (transition) measures.


    Research approach
    We develop a model that clarifies the effects of policy and investment decisions in the short and long term. The model can also calculate alternative scenarios and compare the results. We pay special attention to two points: 1) the complexity of the sector, characterized by extensive fishing grounds, various fishing methods, complex ecosystem interactions and a multitude of stakeholders with different preferences regarding sustainability; and 2) the support of the various stakeholders. We involve them actively through a participatory process. The model is based on the methodology of "agent-based modelling".


    Many fish stocks in our waters are under pressure and the marine ecosystem has clearly degraded. This challenges our fishing fleet, because more effort is needed to catch a comparable amount of fish. The fishing methods, often with rather low selectivity, and the rather high age of the vessels results in increased operational costs. A second challenge comes from the policymakers in the form of new management systems and rules such as "Individual Transferable Quotas" and a discard ban. The market also reacts by increasingly demanding a more responsible fishery, often on the basis of certification initiatives. It is important that the fishery sector develops a long-terms strategy, mainly because investments in fishing vessels have consequences in the long term.

    Effective start/end date1/08/1131/07/15