PANDORA: International collaboration to unlock the potential of aquatic living resources

PANDORA: International collaboration to unlock the potential of aquatic living resources

European fisheries provide important livelihoods and food. However, there are risks to the "blue growth" benefits of European fisheries, including over-exploitation, unforeseen changes in stock productivity, loss of markets for capture fisheries due to aquaculture, future trade agreements opening European markets to external fleets, and fluctuations in the price of oil and other business costs.

All of these risks need to be considered when providing the scientific advice needed to help sustainably manage the diverse fisheries operating in European waters, and to help safeguard the benefits this sector provides to coastal communities.

A network of organisations across Europe are pooling their expertise to enable better advice, by refining assessments and creating new tools to improve data collection and analysis. Through the EU-funded PANDORA (Paradigm for Novel Dynamic Oceanic Resource Assessments) project, Cefas will be working with institutes and stakeholders across the EU to provide the scientific knowledge and recommendations of the UK, whilst enabling us to keep abreast of new developments to support our world leading capability.

PANDORA aims to:

1. Create more realistic assessments and projections of changes in fisheries resources (30 stocks) by utilising new biological knowledge (spatial patterns, environmental drivers, food-web interactions and density-dependence) including, for the first time, proprietary data sampled by pelagic fishers.

2. Advise on how to secure long-term sustainability of EU fish stocks (maximum sustainable/”pretty good” and economic yields) and elucidate trade-offs between profitability and number of jobs in their (mixed demersal, mixed pelagic and single species) fisheries fleets. Provide recommendations on how to stabilize the long-term profitability of European fisheries.

3. Develop a public, internet-based resource tool box (PANDORAs Box of Tools), including assessment modelling and stock projections code, economic models, and region- and species-specific decision support tools; increase ownership and contribution opportunities of the industry to the fish stock assessment process through involvement in data sampling and training in data collection, processing and ecosystem-based fisheries management.

The project will create new knowledge (via industry-led collection, laboratory and field work, and theoretical simulations), new collaborative networks (industry, scientists and advisory bodies) and new mechanisms (training courses and management tools) to ensure relevance, utility and impact.


PANDORA (Paradigm for Novel Dynamic Oceanic Resource Assessments) is an EU project funded under H2020 Unlocking the potential of aquatic living resources. The project is led by Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) and will run from 1/05/2018 to 30/04/2022. For more information, visit here.

An academic article has been published. This study has been funded by Defra, with a contribution from the EU H2020 project “PANDORA.”

Comparing conceptual frameworks for a fish community MSY (FCMSY) using management strategy evaluation—an example from the North Sea

Authors: Robert B Thorpe,  José A A De Oliveira, ICES Journal of Marine Science