Channel and North Sea Fisheries research unit

The Channel and North Sea Fisheries unit (Halieutique Manche Mer du Nord — HMMN) focuses its activities on the knowledge, assessment and forecasting of the evolution of living resources in the oceans for sustainable fishing.


The HMMN is made up of two laboratories: the Fisheries Resources laboratory (Ressources Halieutiques) in Boulogne-sur-Mer (RHBL) and the Fisheries Resources laboratory (Ressources Halieutiques) in Port-en-Bessin (RHPB).

Its geographic area of expertise with regard to fishing fleets, extends from the Belgian border to Cherbourg. For the resources, the study area covers the Channel and the North Sea.


The HMMN unit carries out is scientific activities along a basic-applied research continuum to produce targeted research results. Since 2013, research conducted at the HMMN unit has been structured into three major themes:

  • Individuals, populations and ecological niches;
  • Communities, food webs and biodiversity;
  • Fleets, fishing and management scenarios.

Other than data collection at sea and on land, coordinated by the national programme SIH, the HMMN unit has three technical facilities dedicated to observation: a national centre for sclerochronology, a facility dedicated to trophic ecology and a national centre for zooplankton taxonomy and ecology, as well as a national centre that centralises the responses to calls for data required for the assessment of fisheries resources (CREDO centre).

The missions of the unit are based on

  • Biology of fisheries resources, as well as all the fisheries activities on the seaboard;
  • Fisheries dynamics, with a goal to understand and describe fishing strategies, diagnose the state of health of the main exploited resources, as well as to propose technical practical measures and management for European bodies in the field of resources targeted by fisheries on the Channel-North Sea seaboard;
  • Ecosystem analysis and modelling: impact of human activities on marine biological resources, the food web, spatial planning and development of management scenarios.

The results of the research at HMMN and their products in terms of application and assessment involve basic research in marine ecology and fisheries sciences as well as European maritime policies (Common Fisheries Policy, Marine Strategy Framework Directive), national agencies (Marine Fishing and Aquaculture Directorate) and regional agencies (devolved government agencies) as well as socio-economic aspects in areas of fishing, marine aggregates extraction or marine renewable energy.