We conduct ecological and economic research to provide the scientific basis for
The shallow continental shelf areas account for only 8 percent of total ocean area, but host the most productive marine ecosystems in the world. 99 percent of marine catch originate from these narrow shelf areas. Only in healthy ecosystems, fish stocks reach their full productivity, and the overarching management goal of maximum sustainable yield can be achieved. However, more and more users are competing for space and ecosystem services in these productive areas: offshore windparks, Natura 2000 marine protected areas and other demands next to fisheries call for an integrated approach to managing all human activities at sea.
We support policymakers in integrating fisheries into comprehensive ocean management. In order to achieve this goal, a paradigm shift in fisheries research was needed. A focus on commercially exploited species and the influence of fisheries on these stocks is not enough. We work system-oriented and have structured our Institute’s research units accordingly. Findings obtained in one research area constitute the basis for the next higher observation level:
Neither protection nor the utilisation of living marine resources and marine ecosystems should be organised at national level. Therefore, fisheries research and management has already over decades been organized in international co-operation, and we have been drawing up management and fishing quota recommendations for entire fish stocks rather than stock components in national waters. A unique series of long-term data, collected transnationally using our three highly specialised research vessels, are the basis for this.
We use the technological progress in other marine science disciplines and adapt technology and innovative methods for fish stock monitoring. In combination with 3D oceanographic drift model output, these data will help us, in future, to analyse changes in the marine environment and its impact on fish stocks and ecosystems almost in real time.