Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.

Economic futures

The marine environment of the European Union is characterised by ecological as well as socio-economic forms of change. Introduction of Invasive Alien Species (IAS), through ballast water discharge, deliberate introduction or other vectors, can drastically change the structure and functioning of native ecosystems. But also native species, such as harmful algae or jellyfish, can show sudden outbreaks with severe consequences for the local environment. These outbreaks can be triggered by natural as well as human drivers, such as nutrient discharge. More gradual changes in the marine ecosystem entail, for example, northward shifts of fish stocks driven by climate change. Lastly, changes in the socio-economic sphere, such as market developments and marine policy, can have direct and indirect consequences for marine ecosystems.

These changes to the marine ecosystem are largely driven by socio-economic factors, but they also have considerable socio-economic impacts. Many fisheries experience impacts from marine protected areas, offshore wind energy, as well as ecological changes. For example, the invasive Mnemiopsis leidyi jellyfish, which is abundant in the North Sea, has been shown to severely impact fisheries in the Black Sea. Jellyfish outbreaks can also affect beach tourism. Ecological change can also have consequences for international treaties: the northward shift of North Sea mackerel stocks, and its consequences for North Sea fisheries policy, is a case in point.

VECTORS has investigated the main ecological and socio-economic changes in the marine environment, as well as their most important socio-economic impacts. Bio-economic fisheries models have been developed to investigate the interaction between fishing fleets and the marine ecosystem under different socio-economic and policy scenarios, as well as the economic impacts to the fisheries. Non-market valuation studies have been carried out to estimate the economic impacts of ecological change on coastal tourism. Impacts on international fisheries management have been analysed through game-theoretic analysis. Impacts on the wider economy have been investigated through a general equilibrium model, which describes not only the different sectors in the economy but also linkages between the sectors.

VECTORS research focus:

  1. In the light of present and future pressures and of their economic consequences to investigate the implications of possible future developments for existing modes of cooperation in marine policy.

Lead Author

Rolf Groeneveld and Adam Walker

Explore other research themes under the categories below:

The content of this website may be subject to copyright, if you wish to use any of the information or figures please contact the attributed author(s).
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 266445
© Vectors 2015. Coordinated by Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

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