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Temerair aims at understanding governance mechanisms in marine environment area in order to increase socio-ecosystems resilience, by analysing the controversy around bycatch in the Bay of Biscay on the French Atlantic Coast.

Stranded Common Dolphins in the Bay of Biscay, 2017, ©Cécile Dars / Observatoire Pelagis

Indeed, this case study involves particularly complex issues : unusual mortality events of common dolphin on the coast of Vendée and Charente Maritime or the ongoing action plan for the Balearic Shearwater -specie of community interest and endangered- are part of a particularly tense context. Multiple stakeholders, diverging interests and values and pressures are at stake in the case of bycatch : Community obligations imposing a framework that is not always respected; Environmental NGOs mobilized to denounce and publicise the situation; Scientists that multiply research programs and feel little listened to; Professionals and fishing committees that assert economic and technical constraints and denounce a demonization of their profession; decision-makers that are both solicited and criticized, caught between divergent interests and legal obligations. Thus, recommendations of scientists advocating for a spatio-temporal closure of fisheries in order to preserve marine birds and mammals and to respect community obligations is ignored by the State as it would represent a particularly strong pressure for fisheries, already facing multiple constraints. In this context, research programs, action plans and projects involving various stakeholders are multiplied. Intense work is being carried out on technical devices (pingers among others), of which effectiveness is highlighted on one hand, and criticized on the other.

prototypes of acoustic sensors developed by OCTech as part of the LICADO program, ©OCTech

Thus, Temerair proposes an approach based on social sciences to analyse the science / decision / management interface around this socio-ecosystem. It aims to provide analytical elements and explore the conditions of implementation or resistance of socio-ecosystems governance allowing to tend towards a new paradigm that would favour the sustainability of this socio-ecosystem. It is expected to produce an adaptive co-management that would take into account the complexity, interactions, uncertainties, shocks and feedbacks of the system in order to reduce bycatch while maintaining fishing activities.

Balearic shearwater, ©David Ledan

Socio-ecosystem governance and adaptive management appear to be potential categories that would help reducing the knowledge gap and facilitate the implementation of public policies towards sustainability by taking into account the power gap. Thus, in this project, a special focus will be given to knowledge and data. Indeed, by legitimizing measures but also by being contested or missing, data play a central role in the governance of this socio-ecosystem and its controversy.

Organized in 3 axis, Temerair aims to offer, without epistemological or ideological a-priori, a base of knowledge and perspectives for future projects regarding by-catch and modelling perspectives of socio-ecosystems. This contributes to promote a paradigm shift towards sustainability, a concept that lies at the crossroads of ecosystem resilience in ecology and governance of socio-ecosystems in social sciences.

Axis 1 : Critical analysis of governance of socio-ecosystems categories and adaptive management. It aim to provide an overview of the controversy from the governance perspective, integrating a spatio-temporal approach. 

Axis 2 : Analysis of the production and circulation of sensitive knowledge on bycatch up to their appropriation in order to think and implement environmental management methods.

Axis 3 : Socio-ecosystem modelling with production of decision support tools. The aim is to create new tools the would provide information on sustainability or unsustainability trajectories.