Assessment of spatial conflict between aquaculture and artisanal fishing activities: a case study in the Basque continental shelf

Supervisors: Ibon Galparsoro, Arantza Murillas (AZTI)
The Basque continental shelf supports many different maritime activities, including a recently declared Maritime-Terrestrial Public Domain (MTPD) for aquaculture. In the context of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), this study characterizes the spatial conflict between aquaculture and the existing artisanal fishing activity where affected fishing métiers were identified and the effects quantified. Results revealed that not all fishing métiers were affected in the same way, with traps and nets being the most affected as they operate within the aquaculture zone, and thus will need to cease operating or relocate to other areas, while longlines and handlines are affected by having to travel extra distance as they need to go around the aquaculture zone to reach their fishing grounds. Aggregated individual stress level analysis (ISL) highlighted the importance of considering effects of spatial conflicts using aggregated data of individual fishermen as compared to analysis performed on the overall fishing fleet. A proposed solution for this conflict while promoting the existence of both activities is to relocate the affected vessels by métiers (i.e. traps and nets) to other areas outside the aquaculture zone. Potential relocation areas having similar characteristics as the aquaculture zone, in terms of density of fishing activity, average catch biomass, habitat type and distance to base-port, were identified. These findings imply that spatially incompatible uses can coexist, in this case, by allocating specific zone for aquaculture and maintaining fishing activity by relocating fishing effort to other areas. This is an important first step towards solving any multi-use spatial conflict in a MSP process.