Bangor Research since 1998 has pioneered, through experimental,
comparative and modelling studies and industry collaborations,
quantification of the wider ecosystem effects of fishing, specifically on
seabed habitats. Novel findings gave policy and economic benefits to the
fishing industry and led to the sustainable, continued profitable
development of the UK's largest blue mussel fishery and Isle of Man
scallop fishery, with a combined value of £22M. It directly led to Marine
Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of these fisheries and underpinned
certification of dozens of other demersal fisheries. Additionally, the
research has influenced UK retailer policies on sustainable fish sourcing,
providing direct environmental and commercial benefits and improving
public knowledge and sustainable consumption.
This case study highlights the research at Plymouth University evidencing
the problems of deep
sea fishing in European waters. Working with policy makers, NEAFC, GOs,
NGOs, and industry
the researchers have contributed to solutions to deep-sea management
problems across Europe.
They have developed new techniques for habitat mapping which, coupled with
human use data,
has helped establish large offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that
have minimized the
effects of displacement on the industry while providing key refuges for
ecosystem recovery and
Work by University of Stirling staff has contributed directly to improved
wildlife resource management in the Central African region. Innovative
research into the status and trends of key wildlife populations,
ecological impacts, resource harvests and trade, drivers of resource use
and assessing management success have contributed directly to new thinking
on the issue, revisions of laws and policy and to success in attracting
foreign aid for management issues. Stirling staff members now advise the
Government of Gabon on resource management policies, National Park
management and biodiversity issues.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), a conservation charity launched
at the University of Stirling in 2006, was aimed at bridging the gap
between research findings and conservation practice. BBCT now has 11
staff, offices and staff based in England, Wales and Scotland, 8,000
paying members, and has involved >12,000 people in bumblebee recording
or conservation. Other impacts include awareness raising through extensive
media coverage for bumblebee conservation, creation of an education pack
for primary schools, joint initiatives with a nationwide Garden Centre
chain (Wyevale) and a supermarket (Morrisons), helping to create >2,000
ha of flower rich habitat, involvement in a reintroduction attempt for the
locally extinct short-haired bumblebee, political lobbying and influencing
national and international policy.
Research to quantify the ecological structure and spatial dynamics of
terrestrial habitats in Northern Ireland (NI), and to assess the effects
of recent land use change, has enabled the Northern Ireland Environment
Agency (NIEA) to develop and implement a science-based strategy for
landscape-scale biodiversity management and conservation. It has directly
facilitated the integration of NIEA and the Department of Agriculture for
NI (DARD) biodiversity management strategies and their monitoring of the
implementation of European Community biodiversity legislation (and
The science information-base and time-series change models developed from
the research have allowed NIEA to lead inter-governmental department
discussion on biodiversity and land use issues. It has also guided the
development of an NI habitat biodiversity management strategy.
Specifically, the statistically structured field and analytical methods
developed by the research for assessing terrestrial habitats at the
regional landscape-scale have been adopted by NIEA as key to reporting on
the biodiversity outcomes of implementing the European Community
conservation Habitats Directive.
The research has provided a common ecological framework within which
NIEA, DARD (including Forest Service) and non-government organisations
(Ulster Wildlife Trust and Northern Ireland Environment Link) have been
able to discuss and agree on biodiversity and agri-environment management
practices in designated statutory conservation sites and the farmed
countryside. It has also been key in guiding a NI assessment of the
socio-economic value of habitats (ecosystem services).
By describing the exceptional biodiversity of the Wakatobi Marine
National Park (WMNP), Essex
research underpinned the Park's nomination for World Heritage Status, and
its designation as a
UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Reserve in 2012. MAB designation
was due to our
development of a participatory research programme that has taken
international research tourists to the WMNP since 2002. This sustainable
research model has
contributed to the economic development of the region through the
employment of more than 100
local staff per year, injecting over £1M into the local economy. This has
also led to increased
turnover for our UK partner, Operation Wallacea, from £250k to over £3M
per annum (2002-11).
In 2008-2009 the UK was subject to legal infraction proceedings at the
European Court of Justice
(ECJ) for allegedly failing to implement the European Union's Urban
Directive (UWWTD). Research by the Institute of Estuarine and Coastal
Studies, Hull (IECS) for
the Environment Agency (EA)/Defra provided evidence to the UK Government
for its defence
against these allegations. The research consisted of:
- literature/data reviews and collection and analysis of critical
evidence from the Humber.
- co-ordinating workshops and convening an expert panel of sufficient
opinion to counteract the European Court of Justice allegations.
In December 2009 the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of the UK.
Our research therefore
helped to save very significant, unnecessary capital investment in
nutrient removal technology for
sewage treatment nationally and in the Yorkshire and Humber region
especially. The UK
government thus avoided the possibility of major European Commission fines
of up to €703,000
per day, or €256m per annum, for infraction of the Urban Water-water
Treatment Directive .
Two books and review/research articles in Italian have disseminated the
findings from the underpinning research on creating false autobiographical
memories and the dangers of inadequate interviewing techniques. This work
has critically increased awareness in the Italian legal system amongst
both barristers and judges, to the point of shaping the practice of
interviewing witnesses in that country. It has also informed all verdicts
on child sexual abuse by the Supreme Court of Cassation.
Research on the environmental safety and toxicity of nanomaterials in fishes has had a global
impact across both government and industry contributing to:
(i) Consensus building on biological effects allowing regulatory agencies/governments to
make proper decisions on the hazard of nanomaterials to farmed fish and wildlife.
(ii) Critical evaluation of the internationally agreed process of toxicity testing to determine
whether the current legislative test methods are fit for purpose and acceptable to the
(iii) Identification of national/international research priorities and policies via work with the
OECD and the US Government.
(iv) Influencing government policy to support training and information for industry.
History was made in late September 2010 when the world's first network of
high seas marine protected areas (MPAs) was declared in the North
Atlantic. Environment Ministers from 15 nations within the OSPAR region
created six MPAs in international waters covering half a million square
kilometres, twice the size of the UK. Proposals for these MPAs were
researched and drafted by a group led by Professor Callum Roberts of the
Environment Department. The work involved a 3-year international
collaboration among the scientific team and the political delegations of
OSPAR member states, particularly Germany and the Netherlands, as well as
the London-based OSPAR Secretariat.