Sustainable Marine Bioresources
The Prime Minister's Strategy Report on the future for UK fishing1 called for Research Councils, universities and government agencies to pool their scientific expertise to help deliver the knowledge and understanding needed to progress the objectives and practice of ecosystem-based fisheries management.
In response to this call NERC, the Department for Environment & Rural Affairs (Defra), the Scottish Executive Environment & Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) and Department of Agriculture & Rural Development Northern Ireland (DARDNI) have been working together to develop a jointly funded research programme. The overall aim is to encourage and strengthen links between science groups and through this expand the range of science evidence available to support current and future fishery management needs.
A number of activities have been undertaken in developing our ideas of what science areas the Sustainable Marine Bioresources programme should cover and how the programme should be managed. This has included an initial workshop to develop a strategy for co-ordinated research, an open meeting to scope ideas on "sustainable marine bioresources" and decide on the most appropriate mechanisms to turn them into actions, and a scoping study to identify new areas of underpinning science and possible ways of implementation/partnerships.
The scoping study report, prepared by an independent consultant, set out options for broadening and integrating the science on which management is based for example by establishing multi-disciplinary and multi-funded research teams drawn across the diverse science sectors.
Sustainable Marine Bioresources: a collaborative, five year research programme
Defra, SEERAD/FRS, AFBI and NERC have set up this programme to expand the range and quality of scientific evidence relevant to current and future management needs through collaborative research between the three major science communities:
- Departments' marine laboratories (Cefas, FRS and AFBI);
- NERC's marine centres and associated bodies in the Oceans 2025 grouping;
- and universities.
The science which the Sustainable Marine Bioresources programme will address are broadly those identified in the Scoping Study under the headings of:
- Module 1: Long term variability and change
- Module 2: Regional ecosystems functioning
- Module 3: Spatial and temporal dynamics
- Module 4: Governance and ecosystem management
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) through the Strategic Ocean Funding Initiative2
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)
Scottish Executive Environment & Rural Affairs Department's marine laboratory Fisheries Research Services (FRS)
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Northern Ireland
1. Cabinet Office. Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. Net benefits. A sustainable and profitable future for UK fishing. March 2004. 168pp.
2. The Strategic Ocean Funding Initiative (SOFI) is a component of Oceans 2025, the new research programme funded by NERC to deliver key strategic goals. SOFI aims to engage researchers outside of the Oceans 2025 direct funding to address particular issues within the strategic programme by opening up funds for universities and other partners to bid for.