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.

Fishing fleets competing for space: application of the DISPLACE bio-economic model to Baltic Sea fisheries

Maritime spatial planning and fishery management may generate extra costs for fisheries by constraining fishermen activity with conservation areas and new utilisation of the sea. We use a vessel-oriented decision-support tool to combine stochastic variations in spatial fishing activities with harvested resource dynamics in scenario projections in order to assess the impact of new spatial plans involving Baltic fisheries. A model-based approach is necessary to evaluate the feasibility for compensation. The DISPLACE model develops a management support tool for facilitating the understanding of the fisheries dynamics by reproducing observed patterns and evaluating alternative spatial planning scenarios handling high amounts of quantitative data from the Baltic Sea area.


Interlinked spatial, technical and biological dynamics of vessels and stocks in the scenarios result in overall stable profits in general but strongly stressed some vessels by reducing their profitability.

The effort displacement is beneficial for the stocks under study, and therefore beneficial for the Baltic fisheries overall, when some areas are no longer accessible. The stock surplus is a consequence of the regulated areas diminishing the total landings on cod and also preventing a vulnerable part of the cod stocks from being exploited. Accordingly, the catch opportunities, catch rates and the benefits increase from a long-term perspective. The increased catch rates for clupeid stocks improve the income and sometimes compensate the increased travel times and fuel costs, which is needed to get around the restricted areas. Accordingly, the energy efficiency can also be higher in some instances. Because of the possibility to displace the fishing effort, the general rule is that the profitability of the fisheries is not significantly impacted or slightly lowered by the new restricted areas.


A shift in stock productivity or increases in fuel price have a larger impact on the overall and individual profitability than spatial restrictions.

Lower stock productivity will have a much larger impact on the overall profitability of all the fisheries, which is likely reduced by the increasing competition between vessels for less productive cod, sprat and herring stocks. When looking at the individual scale, the most impacted fishermen are the ones that cannot easily cope with additional steaming time to reach other grounds and return (e.g. within a day trip), which greatly affects their overall efficiency by lowering the total fishing time. These vessels will have to extend the time at sea to maintain their revenue and fish closer to the shore for saving fuel but at the cost of less rewarding catches.


Energy efficiency loss does occur when looking at the individual vessel scale. This is a consequence of a change of the individual effort allocation scheme from changed trip planning decisions constrained by restricted areas.

The fishing energy efficiency (value per unit fuel) is expected to improve when catches are made on more healthy stocks because the fish are more abundant and easier to find. However, this is not the net result we found at the overall scale for the most extensive scenario restrictions applied to the fisheries. For example, changes in trip patterns provoke lower energy efficiency when less frequent and longer trips were induced, resulting in a smaller proportion of the trip-time being spent on fishing.

Relevance for Policy:
  • Common Fisheries Policy
  • Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management (forthcoming)
  • Integrated European Maritime Policy (IMP)
  • Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Data availability:

Availability: Bastardie, F., Nielsen, J.R., Eigaard, O. R, Fock, H. O., Jonsson, P., Bartolino, V. Accepted. Competition for marine space: modelling the Baltic Sea fisheries and effort displacement under spatial restrictions. ICES Journal of Marine Science.


  • Bastardie, F., Nielsen, J.R., Eigaard, O. R, Fock, H. O., Jonsson, P., Bartolino, V. Accepted. Competition for marine space: modelling the Baltic Sea fisheries and effort displacement under spatial restrictions. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Lead Author:

Francois Bastardie
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU-Aqua)
Date of research: July 2014

Related articles:

Changes on stocks and management in saithe fishery 

Ecology - Economy interactions in fisheries 

Fish stock location and international agreements

Modelling fishing fleets competing for quota

Population dynamics of sprat in the Baltic Sea 

Risk of stock collapse and the Great Fish Pact

|< <  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ...  > >|

Print this page

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.