Framework for biodiversity Reconciliation Action Plans
Work Package 2: Ecology - Landscape Factors
• Identification of landscape level key factors for fish loss and damage to fishing equipment;
• Assessment of the effects of different types of fishing operations on casualties of the
model vertebrate species;
• Development of a framework for assessing the ecological basis of conflicts
in reconciliation action plans.
Description of work and methodologies
We will relate the amount of fish lost to fishery operations and damage
to fishing gear to the presence and abundance of the selected
vertebrate species as well as to characteristics of the environment and
the type of fishing operations.
We will evaluate existing literature and collect and analyse new data.
For otter and cormorants, we will compare a representative sample of
sites (ponds/sites within estuaries) in terms of predator
abundance/visiting rates, fish availability, and site characteristics
(abiotic factors, structure, presence of alternative habitats). We will
survey cormorants by direct observations, whereas we will use signs of
tracks and spraints for otters. We will calibrate these indirect
measures of otter visiting rates using telemetry observations on
visiting rates for focal individuals. Telemetry will be further used to
analyse the relationship between landscape factors and otter activity.
For ponds used by otters, we will additionally assess the condition of
fish (body condition, fat index, and level of stress hormones). Sites
will be monitored monthly for a 4-day period to collect data on
visiting rates by direct observations (cormorants) and presence of
Data on fish loss will be collected in co-operation with local
fishermen. For seals, we will collate available information on seal
distribution and abundance from the annual seal counts and relate it to
fishery catch data, damage to catch and gear by seals, and to seal and
cormorant by-catch (data from EU-logbooks and log-books of selected
fishermen). The data will be analysed using multivariate statistical
methods to identify key factors for the level of damage. The choice of
statistical methods will be based on tests of assumptions and the
statistical distribution of the data (Dolédec & Chessel
Results will be compared among species incorporating published and
unpublished information for European countries, especially information
on cormorants provided by REDCAFE.
Our results on ponds, or types of fishing activities that are
particularly vulnerable respectively attractive to the fish-eating
vertebrates studied will be translated into management recommendations.
We will evaluate the general applicability of these recommendations
beyond the studied regions by testing them for otters in Scotland under
conditions that differ from the region studied to derive the