There is a raising concern about the conservation of marine ecosystems given the increasing impact of multiple stressors at local and global scale. The importance of marine conservation falls on all the services provided by costal and deep ecosystems, and their importance for human wellbeing. For this reason, impact mitigation and restoration actions recently arise as recommendations from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). In the deep sea, coral gardens provide habitat, shelter, nursery and feeding areas for a large number of associated species, many of which of commercial interest. Consequently, these ecosystems are highly threatened by fishing. As the complexity of these ecosystems is reduced, the stock of commercial species is also negatively affected. In the ResCap project, artisanal fishermen and researchers are carrying out a innovative project to preserve deep coral gardens in Cap de Creus (Girona): 1. All the corals accidently caught in the fishermen’s nets are maintained alive on board and transferred to aquaria at the fishermen’s associations. 2. After coral recovery from damage, they are returned to their natural habitat using a pioneering technique called “badminton method”. 3. A remotely operated vehicle is thus used to evaluate the success of the restoration. 4. New corals are also generated in the aquaria laboratory at the Institute of Marine Sciences (Barcelona), to be returned at sea to speed up the recovery of the impacted populations. 5. Ecoturism and education activities are carried out to raise awareness about the importance to preserve healthy coral gardens for a sustainable fishing. 6. Finally, the project is widely disseminated through internet, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (@ResCap2018) and several press release on radio, newspapers and television. The ResCap project, for the first time, propose a collaboration between fishermen and researchers for the restoration of coral gardens to ensure a long-term sustainable fishing.
Institute of Marine Sciences - Andrea Gori (PI), Núria Viladrich (postdoc associate), Maria Montseny (PhD candidate), Patricia Baena (PhD candidate)