Innovation in the Channel

Innovation in the Channel

Our cross-Channel partnership uses innovative underwater acoustic tracking technology to identify the environmental conditions a range of important marine species need in order to thrive.

The €4.1million FISH INTEL project, supported by €2.8million from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England programme, focuses on a series of sites along the coastlines of southern England, northern France and Belgium. Through a combination of fish tracking and underwater video surveys, the project will help us understand more about fish movements and the habitats individual species prefer. We will also contribute to a growing amount of data assessing the impact of fishing, climate change and other human activities – such as the development of offshore renewable energy sites and offshore mariculture – on the Channel/Manche region.

Across seven sites, we will monitor marine species including European bass, Pollack, Crawfish and Bluefin tuna, which are considered commercially important for the region. The resulting data about their movements, and the habitats they occupy, will then be shared with other key stakeholders, enforcement bodies and policy makers. Ultimately, it is hoped the research will enable authorities across the region to implement Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) programmes with the aim of enhancing the condition and water quality in these habitats, as well as enabling activities – such as fishing, civil engineering projects and extract industries – to function in a sustainable way. We also aim to bring about greater collaboration and communication between a range of different partners with a common interest in the Channel/Manche region.

The project is led by University of Plymouth and it brings together 12 partners across the UK, France and Belgium: University of Plymouth (project coordinator), Institut français derecherche pourl’exploitation de la mer, Vlaams Instituut voor deZee, University of Exeter, Centre for Environment,Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, France Energies Marines, Marine ConservationSociety, Université de BretagneOccidentale, Comité départementaldes Pêches et desélevages marins duFinistère, Ligue pour la Protectiondes Oiseaux/ Sept Iles, Council of the Isles of Scilly, Comité régional despêches maritimes et desélevages marins deNormandie.


Cefas scientists (led by Silvana Birchenough) are collaborating with different partners across work packages to promote and create effective science to policy outputs (policy-documents, webinars and presentations).

Work packages include:

  • Work Package T1: Fish Tracking and Habitat Surveys.
  • Work Package T2: Essential Fish Habitat Analysis.
  • Work Package T3: Society, Ecosystem Services and Governance.
  • Work Package C: Communication.

Total budget: €4.1M, EDRF Funding Award: €2.8M 

Lead Partner: University of Plymouth

Interreg Channel: FISH INTEL