Funding Agency: Xunta de Galicia
Period: August 2023- October 2023 (2.5 months)
Coordination Team: University of Vigo and Xunta de Galicia
Research Team: FOL-CIM, MareiraBizi, Centro de Investigaciones Marinas-DX Consellería do Mar (CIMA), Confrarías de Baiona and Lira, Federación galega de confrarías de pescadores.

SOST-Erizo is a research project funded by the REDEMAR program from XUNTA de Galicia. Redemar is a collaborative program for a network between the fisheries sector and scientific bodies in the Autonomous Community of Galicia.  Within this framework, this project counts with the collaboration of FOL-CIM, MareiraBizi, CIMA, Confrarías de Baiona and Lira, Federación galega de confrarías de pescadores working to improve the knowledge on this specific resource and achieve the sustainability of the sea-urchin fishery in the long-term.

The sea urchin fishery in Galicia holds significant socio-economic interest with an increasing demand for this resource (Paracentrotus lividus) in recent years. Sea urchins show high sensitivity to the effects of climate change, which highlights the importance of achieving sustainable practices and avoid overexploitation.

SOST-Erizo stands for “Sustainable index for Sea Urchin fishery”. The overall goal of SOST-Erizo is to promote the long-term sustainability of the resource providing a sustainability index based on four dimensions (ecological, economic, social and governance). For this we will be contributing to the design of a tool that will support fishers to obtain an improvement in sale prices, to facilitate access to sustainability certificates, and in general to increase recognition for the resource in Galician waters, ensuring the livelihood of the families that depend on it.

To this end, the following milestones are proposed:

– Development of an interdisciplinary methodology to quantitatively measure the sustainability of the sea urchin fishery in four dimensions: ecological, social, economic and governance.

– Promoting the implementation of an innovative system based on new technologies to improve the internal management, planning, monitoring and control of the fishery.

– Developing evidence-based improvement actions to ensure a more sustainable, adaptive and resilient sea urchin fishery.

Training and raising awareness about sustainability in the sector, discussing concepts such as adaptive management, resilience, vulnerability, digitisation, etc.

SOST-Erizo is an innovative and cutting-edge project, based on scientific criteria and empirical data for an efficient and collaborative management of sea urchins. In addition, the proposed tool generates a sustainability score for each fishery based on sea urchin ecological and fishery data that allows shellfish gatherers and fishers to adjust actions and take appropriate measures to improve its management. As a result we expect to fostering the sustainability and resilience of the sector and ensure their livelihood for the future.