DEEPbaseline: Co-creating a knowledge baseline on the diversity and distribution of sponge and coral vulnerable marine ecosystems of the Portuguese continental shelf
DEEPbaseline is an interdisciplinary project aimed at developing a framework for the co-creation of a knowledge baseline on the diversity and distribution of deep-sea sponge and coral vulnerable species and ecosystems of the continental shelf and upper slope of mainland Portugal. DEEPbaseline will bring together scientists from three partner institutions (CIIMAR, IPMA and Okeanos), local fishing communities and associations, fisheries managers, and the wider society to foster awareness and advance conservation actions towards their sustainability.
Participatory approaches (interviews and surveys) will be conducted with local fishers of bottom-contacting gear (e.g. beam-trawl, bottom longline) to gather Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) on the spatial and historical occurrence of sponge and coral species and habitats in the region. This information will be combined with Conventional Scientific Knowledge (CSK) derived from: a review of the scientific literature; bycatch data from multi-annual bottom-trawl scientific surveys; and the analyses of bycatch samples, collected during such surveys as well as by the participant fishers, using an integrative taxonomic approach.
Knowledge (LEK and CSK) obtained and generated will be translated into management-support tools (identification guides, distribution maps, online database) and transferred to key end-users to inform the selection of high biodiversity areas to be protected, and support the implementation of regional and (inter)national regimes for conservation and sustainable use these habitats and the resources they encompass.
Training activities will be developed to capacitate and engage local fishers and fisheries observers on the identification and reporting of VME-indicator species, ensuring long-term impact and sustainability of the project and its goals.