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Quantifying Environmental and Social Interactions for Tuna fisheries Management (QUAESITUM)
Start date: Sep 1, 2012, End date: Dec 8, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Despite the social and economic importance of fisheries, quantitative approaches capable of predicting the spatial distributions of different fish species and their variations with respect to human activities are still missing. Recently, new proposals for an ecosystem-based fisheries management raised remarkable interests in the scientific community. These approaches demand answering fundamental questions on fish behavior in the presence of social and environmental stimuli, as well as interconnections among different fish species.This project will address some of these questions, aiming at quantifying the respective roles of environmental and social interactions in the spatial distribution of tuna, a topical issue for fisheries management due to the overexploitation of this species. We will base our analysis on acoustic data collected around Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs), a fishing gear employed worldwide in tuna fisheries. We will consider the role played by both intra- and inter-specific interactions to the tuna spatial distribution around FADs. This will require the development of dedicated analytical and modeling tools, capable of deducing social interactions from the experimental data. A multi-and inter-disciplinary approach will be adopted, based on knowledge on animal behavior, fisheries science, statistical physics and modeling. On one side, this project will allow answering fundamental questions on gregarious fish behavior in the presence of spatial heterogeneities. On the other side, it will contribute to constructing a quantitative approach for fisheries management.The Unit of Social Ecology offers strong expertise in animal behavior and ecology, concerning the analysis of both social interactions and responses to environmental heterogeneities. It regularly produces cutting-edge research on collective animal behavior, both at the modeling and experimental level. This combination is unique and perfectly matched to the proposed project."
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