The Living North Sea project will solve problems surrounding the management of fish species which rely on moving between the North Sea and freshwater systems of partner countries. These species are under considerable threat, some even in hazardous decline.
Living North Sea brings together representatives from across the NSR country, in a project that which will make long lasting changes to the way that migratory fish species, whose stocks are shared between nations, are managed in the region. The project will create a permanent management group for migratory fish of these habitats which will continue to work collaboratively, but will also tackle decision making processes ensuring project results can be integrated in future policies on the national and EU level.
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2013
2 - Promoting the Sustainable Management of our Environment
Area of Intervention
2.1 Sustainable development of the coastal land and sea areas through integrated coastal zone management
Centre for Marine & Coastal Zone Management (CMCZM), University of Aberdeen
Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) Executive Agency of DEFRA
The Rivers Trust
Regional Water Authority Hunze en Aa's
Regional Water Authority Noorderzijlvest
Regional Water Authority Waternet
Royal Dutch National Angling Organisation
INBO Research Institute for Nature & Forest
Municipality of Falkenberg
DTU Aqua National Institute for Aquatic Resources, section for Inland Fisheries
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research - NINA
Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries Institute for Fisheries Ecology
Background and Aim
Aim To use Sustainable Coastal Zone Management techniques for key migratory species of the North Sea countries, share existing knowledge between countries and sectors and on populations and migratory routes to identify the essential gaps in knowledge that must be answered. LNS will prioritise geographical locations for work across the North Sea countries based on potential abundance and important habitats and zones for particular species. The project will create a permanent management group for migratory fish of these habitats which will continue to work collaboratively and tackle the decision making processes to ensure that the results of the Living North Sea project are firmly integrated into future national and European policies.
Background The Living North Sea project has been constructed to solve the problems surrounding the management of fish species which rely on moving between the North Sea and freshwater systems of partner countries. This is of particular importance where in some countries, authorities are spending vast sums of money artificially propagating fish, when the real solution, may be in marine, or even the waters of another country. A second problem relates to the continued threat for migratory fish in freshwater ecosystems and includes artificial barriers, pollution and habitat loss.
Online open source GIS mapping system and a fish migration database to visualise migratory routes in the NSR
Demonstration sites and expertise on how to solve key barriers for migratory fish
Expert management group for migratory fish
Recommendations on sustainable migratory fish management for the integration into EU, national and regional policies
April - September 2011
The Fish Migration Day has been a highlight of the year, with between 12,000 and 18,000 people attending one of the 26 events happening in six out of the seven countries engaged in the project. This event attracted national and regional press coverage, with both newspaper and television features.
Initial assessment of genetic samples taken in preceding reporting periods, indicates that the project has a very good tool for examining the sea trout population around the North Sea, and focus over the next periods will be to develop and refine this as a management tool. This will complement the traditional tracking and tagging work ongoing in the project. A further innovative technique is in development, to identify feeding locations of fish, which also has the potential to support management planning of a variety of migratory fish populations in the future.
Beneficiaries continue to develop their demonstration sites and it is expected that their completion on schedule throughout the remaining periods.
The project has started the process of developing the final outputs of the project and making plans for policy and management reporting events. Background information on all of these themes can be found on the project website.
October 2010 - March 2011
LNS continues to widely involve partners with regards to the LNS mapping and GIS approach: Main activities in the last reporting period were related to the preparations of the 'Fish Migration Day' that took place in May 2011, the implementation of the action plan to fill knowledge gaps as well as the development of best practises and demonstration sites to address challenges of migratory fish.
In particular, work to tag and assess the migration of river and sea lamprey has proven to be innovative as very little is known about lamprey and their migratory needs. As a result of project activities, at least three fish passes for tide flap gates have been newly designed. LNS scientists working within the project investigated into sea trout marine life cycle using data storage tags. Several partners are evaluating the potential for modifying management of tidal sea defences to allow fish migration, which has the potential to be easily implemented with low financial consequences for management authorities.
LNS partners have been included in a national team looking for innovative solutions to fish passage at pumping stations which is a particular Dutch problem with considerable benefit to other NSR countries.
April - September 2010
Knowledge from around the partnership is being collated into online Geographic Information Systems, while research has been carried out to fill some apparent knowledge gaps: Some young sea trout have been tracked for nearly 400km down the UK North Sea coast, and salmon, extinct from the River Meuse in the Netherlands for over 100 years, have been tracked trying to migrate downstream, to identify the critical problems.
The partners are working on a number of innovative solutions to fish migration barriers in transnational teams so that knowledge is shared across the region. The project activities included new approaches to dealing with pumping stations, tackling the acidification of waters as well as the management of tidal barriers to allow fish migration.
The progress achieved resulted in national press attention in many countries that has far exceeded expectations. Main reasons for this are the current plight of the European eel, and the highly visual nature of the fish tracking work.
October 2009 - March 2010
The LNS highlight has been the public and media launch in Gent, Belgium in March 2010. The event attracted a broad range of attendance and included contribution from European Commission representatives of DG Mare and DG Environment, and the Flemish Environment Ministry. The Ministry made a significant contribution to the project by committing ceremonially, to deal with the issues that the project was highlighting.
This period has been dominated by activities in preparation for the implementation of an action plan to fill essential knowledge gaps in key migratory fish species and development of a number of innovative solution demonstrations for key migratory fish barriers. Practical work has begun, for example, with a number of fish tagged this season to elucidate migratory routes and to examine behaviour at barriers, particularly hydropower schemes and pumping stations.
Throughout the activities partners are working transnationally in sub-groups not based on their geographic origins but rather on the topics of interest, their particular skills or the required knowledge.
The project has attracted external publicity on the basis of these activities, the outcome being that the project is now well known amongst professionals, decision and policy makers within the sector, and there is a strong interest at public level in the issues.
April - September 2009
In its first months after approval, the LNS project has conducted preparatory work for tracking sea trout migration across the North Sea, for designing for a tide flap to allow fish migration, collating current knowledge on fish migration in the region, assessing environmental barriers to fish migration, and development of a start of the art web Geographical Information System.
Strategic links have been made to a group of professionals working on policy matters for the International Council for the Exploitation of the Seas (ICES), and SALSEA MERGE a pan-Atlantic 7th Framework funded project for migratory fish.
The project has received some favourable publicity with TV, radio, and newspaper coverage in the Netherlands and Sweden. In the UK, the project was mentioned in a ministerial speech, and announced at a professional conference.