Studies and Transfer

CHARM 3 :: CHannel integrated Approach for marine Resource Management - Phase 3

Internal structure of the Pole in charge of the project : Pôle halieutique

Start date : 2009 / End date : 2012

Funding : Europe (Programme INTERREG IVA)

AGROCAMPUS OUEST responsible(s) :


The English Channel, one of the world’s busiest areas in terms of maritime traffic, is also where water masses transit between the Atlantic and the North Seas. The Channel’s configuration, in terms of e.g. bathymetry and coastal arrangement, contributes to create specific structures, such as fronts and gyres, which control advection processes, the dispersion of living organisms but also pollutants, etc. This area also supports key fishing grounds as a result of the presence of numerous commercial fish species, nursery and spawning areas, migration routes, all related to specific environmental characteristics. An ecosystem-based approach of marine resources management requires the synthesis of existing scientific knowledge and its integration to new research; such an approach will help improving the quality of management and planning advice that is given to decision-makers. A deeper understanding of this maritime area is hence needed so as to preserve this fragile marine ecosystem, which is subjected to strong human pressures. It is moreover essential that neighbouring countries share a common vision of the management of this ecosystem for the long-term sustainability of its resources. This can be achieved, for instance, through the development and establishment of tools aimed at analysing and managing human activities.

In this context, the CHARM project (phases 1 and 2) represented a first multidisciplinary approaches to marine living resource management, through the integration of research undertaken over the past three decades and an innovative approach to spatial ecosystem modelling. Phases 1 and 2 of this European (Interreg 3a) project resulted in an assessment of key marine species and their habitats in the Eastern Channel, followed by the development of prototype management tools able to predict various current and future human impacts in this area. Building on the results obtained during the preceding phases, the objective of CHARM phase 3 is to accentuate the multidisciplinary nature of the works accomplished through an ecosystemic approach, i.e. an "integrated" approach of the management of marine resources (living, mineral, human). As a result,; the study area will be extended to the whole of the English Channel and the south of the North Sea (see map in annex 1) and new expertises (e.g. economy, climate change) will be introduced in the CHARM team.

The project will make a direct contribution to the specific objective 10 of priority 4. A total of 17 main actions are envisaged

Action 9: Economic situation

9.2 Diversification of fisheries activities
Fisheries-based and aquaculture businesses may diversify their financial activities through e.g. the elaboration of new products, improvements of production quality, tourism activities linked to fisheries and aquaculture, etc. More indirect sources of income are also possible, such as those linked to sustainable fisheries, environmental protection (eco-tourism), sea-based energies (e.g. offshore windfarms, tidal and wave power, etc), and the development of maritime culture. These activities contribute to increasing the income of fisheries-based and aquaculture businesses, thereby possibly having a direct impact on their fishing effort. In this context, this action aims to assess and analyse (in economic terms, i.e. in relation to business activities) existing diversification activities in the Channel, investigate the likelihood of fishermen and aquaculture businesses engaging in these activities, and determine the social, economic and administrative factors that can affect the development of diversification strategies in this region. A similar approach is already being developed in Brittany.

Action 11: Functional approaches & trophic modelling

11.1 Consequences of human disturbances on sole Solea solea population
This approach will quantify the consequences of human disturbances (habitat loss, organic contaminants, and fishing activities) on population renewal in the eastern English Channel. Models establishing the link between disturbances of nursery habitat, fish catches and recruitment in the population will be developed. Population matrix models, which make possible to analyse the consequences of habitat quality on population renewal, will be applied to the Eastern Channel Sole. For this species abundant datasets of fish abundance and environmental conditions exist and have been collated in the successive Charm projects and  ICES advisory committee provided reliable information on adult sole population status for several decades

11.3 Trophic network models in the eastern Channel
This action aims at identifying the general mechanisms that structure trophic networks in the eastern Channel, using two approaches. The first one builds on the work carried out during phase 2, in which a model was developed that determined the trophic links between various marine fauna and flora communities and identified how energy and biomass flux on marine trophic networks influence them, as well as the effects of human activities on trophic networks. This spatialised functioning model for the eastern Channel, based on trophic networks (Ecopath with Ecosim), and habitat models (Ecospace) will be re-used and improved. The second approach will be based on geomorphometry so as to explore the allometric relationships that govern predator-prey relations and to predict the ecological feeding of individual fish species, starting from functional considerations. This approach will hence generate a simplified model of the dynamic of the marine trophic network, structured as a function of morphometric predator-prey relation determinants. The results of this simplified model will be compared to those obtained by the first trophic model.

Action 15: Interactive Web atlas

15.2 Web atlas of Channel fisheries
As well as updating the existing “Channel fisheries atlas (published in 2003), an atlas of Channel fisheries will continue to be developed so as to be more easily updatable. The development of this product will be in several phases, including the definition of a plan, the constitution of a list of  indicators to be inserted in a standardised form, the query building in national database to create these indicators, and finally, the validation of indicator forms (data quality check).


Publications issued from the project

Personns involved in the project


  • Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille
  • Université de Caen Basse-Normandie
  • Université de Haute Bretagne (Rennes 2)
  • SAS Alkante
  • Université de Bretagne Occidentale
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Kent
  • Plymouth Marine Lab.
  • Marine Biological Association
  • University of Plymouth
  • Marinelife Ltd
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Portsmouth