The English Channel and the south of the North Sea constitute an eco-region that has been highly exploited by human activities for a long time (fishing, tourism and other leisure activities, marine aggregate extraction, shipping, major port areas, degraded estuarine zones, offshore windmills…) and thus presenting considerable economic stakes associated with a multiplicity of user conflicts. The biological and mineral resources found in this zone arouse keen interest both at the national and European levels.
The number of requests from public bodies (EU, state and territorial collectivities) and the civil society (fishermen, industrialists, ONG…) regarding the response of ecosystems and their resources to different types of constraints generated by human activities, including global change, do not cease to grow. Lying at the heart of these questions are interrogations about the resilience of ecosystems, i.e. their capacity to maintain their state stable when facing human activities that impact directly their diversity and their productivity. Conserving marine ecosystem functions requires improving our knowledge on the impact of various anthropogenic constraints exerted in order to achieve sustainable exploitation of goods and services provided by marine ecosystems.
In this context, it is essential that France and the other countries adjacent to the English Channel and the south of the North Sea share a common vision about the state and the quality of the marine ecosystem. A better integration of this knowledge in public policies will reinforce a common reflection towards a sustainable exploitation of the resources and a responsible management of human activities in this eco-region.
The objective of the Channel Program is to contribute to knowledge required for the management of marine living resources by developing an integrated and multi-partners systemic approach on this marine ecosystem. Research actions will cover the description of marine living resources habitats, the understanding of food web functioning, the assessment of the impact of human activities on these two components, and the definition of new management strategies for the sustainable exploitation of natural resources. Another ambition is to make the scientific information collected transparent and available so that it can be effectively integrated in public policies, which can only be achieved by an increased effort in communication, knowledge transfer and exchanges of information between involved partners.
The “Channel Program” is a framework that aims at merging scientific work and unifying research projects developed on marine living resources in the Channel under a common label (wwz.ifremer.fr/defimanche). This unifying ambition implies the rapid creation of a scientific committee that will support the Franco-British interregional political structure "Arc Manche" Assembly (www.arcmanche.com). This committee will gather together specialists in marine science around existing or future research projects (www.ifremer.fr/charm, www.unicaen.fr/ufr/ibfa/cresh, www.emdi.certic.unicaen.fr, …) and will facilitate the transfer of scientific breakthroughs towards local and European decisional structures.
Last 30th March, the Channel Program was officially launched as scientific assembly where scientists, civil society, users stakeholders met under a scientific agenda. This meeting aimed to provide an overview of the Channel Challenge programme. The gathering was intended to be an international scientific reunion on Ecosystem-based approach Fisheries management. We hope you has a fruitful stay at Rouen and a highly informative day on Channel Challenge events.
This event was scheduled with public meetings for two INTERREG IV A CHARM and CRESH research projects. The public meetings provided to expose project progress.
Oral presentations are downlable below the title. Selected photos of the event are also provided below.