Percebes Project

BiodivERsA thematic network
Funding Agency: BiodivERsA – the network programming and funding research on biodiversity and ecosystem services across European countries and territories
Period: 3 years (2017-2020)
PI: José Luis Acuña (Universidad de Oviedo)
Research Team: researchers from Spain, Portugal, and France.

PERCEBES is a network project funded by BiodivERsA, and coordinated Prof. Jose Luis Acuña at the University of Oviedo (UNIOVI, Spain). Future Oceans Lab is part of the network that will be working together to understand the effects of the stalked barnacle fishery on biodiversity, productivity and connectivity of stalked barnacle stands.

Spatial management of the marine environment based on non-spatial catch and effort regulations is the main environmental strategy for a sustainable use of fish stocks. In the EU, the stalked barnacle fishery is managed with a wide range of spatial tools such as simple open access, through Marine Reserves as well as Territorial Users Rights for Fishing (TURF). PERCEBES stands for “Tools for the transition to spatial management of coastal resources: the stalked barnacle fishery in SW Europe”. The project employs a range of methods to identify, assess and develop a set of tools to forecast the implications of spatial management options on productivity, biodiversity and connectivity for an optimized marine spatial planning in other contexts in the EU.

Marine Reserves seem to be a suitable management tool and a good way to preserve the biodiversity. However, fishers strongly oppose them due to its spatial restrictions on fishing, so they ask for “partially protected areas” which make marine conservation becoming a challenge. Moreover, in the EU, the Common Fisheries Policy has neglected the small scale fleet, leading to overexploitation and to a deficit of involvement of the fishers in the sustainability of the stocks. However, the small scale fleet offers the greatest potential for the bottom-up emergence of spatially structured management practices. One prominent example is the TURF where a group of fishers are allowed exclusive use of the resource within a spatially restricted area of the ocean, in exchange for strict adherence to the regulations based on scientific assessment of the stock. It has been shown that TURF co-management promotes the sustainability of the stocks and has add-on benefits on biodiversity.

In France and Portugal, the stalked barnacle fishery is essentially open access, with a restricted fishing period and with some Marine Protected Areas. Contrastingly, in the North-western Spanish regions of Galicia and Asturias the fishery is a TURF system with a co-management regime with fallow periods where the rocks are left to recover during one year.

Specific objectives of PERCEBES:

– To measure the ecosystem recovery rates after implementation of protection or fallow periods.
– To determine the impact of fallow periods on biodiversity and productivity of SB stands.
– To develop hydrodynamic models for 3 different regions in the Iberian Peninsula: in Alentejo (SW Portugal), Galicia and Asturias (NW Spain) and South Brittany.
– To couple hydrodynamic models with individual-based models of stalked barnacle larval development and behaviour.
– To develop bioeconomic spatially – explicit models for successful management.
– To characterize the bioeconomic impact of protection/fallow at the landscape level.

PERCEBES final goal is to understand and manage biodiversity dynamics in seascapes to design well-connected, permanent or temporary marine reserves (green infrastructure) and provide sustainable fisheries while enhancing biodiversity.

You can go to the official PERCEBES project page here.