FISH INTEL is a €4.1million cross-Channel project that uses innovative underwater acoustic tracking technology to identify habitats that are critically important to a range of marine species at various stages of their life histories; these important habitats are termed Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).
The project focuses on seven sites along the coastlines of southern England, northern France and Belgium with a total area of 12, 694 km2. Across these sites, we will monitor marine species including European bass, Pollack, Crawfish and Bluefin tuna; all considered commercially important for the region.
Through a combination of fish tracking and underwater video surveys, we will understand more about fish movements and the EFH utilised by different species. Data gathered on their movements and habitat preferences will provide vital evidence and advice to key stakeholders, enforcement bodies and policy makers.
The research will enable authorities across the region to implement Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) programmes, with the aim of increasing fish populations and enhancing the condition and water quality in these habitats, increasing biodiversity and ecosystem services. Such management programmes also enable human activities such as fishing, marine renewable energy projects and mariculture to operate sustainably.
The FISH INTEL project involves 12 project partners across the UK, France and Belgium who work directly with fishers, regulators and industry representatives in the three countries, with the University of Plymouth being the lead partner, and Dr Emma Sheehan as the project’s Principle Investigator (PI). The project is a cross-Channel partnership fostering greater collaboration and communication between a range of different partners and stakeholders with a common interest in the shared fish stocks and ecosystem of the Channel/Manche region.
FISH INTEL has a total budget of €4.1million; the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England programme funds €2.8million of this total budget.