National Benthis (BENTHIS-NATIONAAL)
The "Benthis-national" project aims at a more correct assessment of seabed impacts of Belgian fishing métiers in an international framework. The project will create the science-industry interface to allow the Belgian fishing industry to follow up on European developments in asessing seabed impacts and also and influence that policymaking.
We estimate the footprint of Belgian vessels on the seabed through the correct application of the fishery Benthic Impact Tool (FBIT) in relevant fishing grounds. We then evaluate the application of the FBIT tool to indicate where Belgian fisheries do and do not compromise the Good Environmental Status (GES) and (ii) to assess the impact of management options on the economic importance of fishing grounds.
Both WPs are supported by WP3 (stakeholder participation) and WP4 (international forums) to enable the Belgian fisheries and their stakeholders to closely follow the European initiatives in research, advice and management of fishing impacts on the seabed.
Belgian fisheries management aims at increasing the sustainability of its fisheries, which requires assessing its seabed impacts. The EU BENTHIS-project has mapped the sensitivity of several seabed types for a range of fishing methods. The operationalization of the indicators developed in Benthis are now being investigated by ICES and OSPAR for implementation in EU policy. The procedure for operationalization will be compiled in one tool (Fishery benthic impact tool (FBIT)). The 'Benthis-nationaal' project will follow-up on these developments and apply the procedure in a national context.