Forging sustainability

COACH - COoperative approACH applied to conservation and management of cockles
Coordinator - Luísa Virgínia de Sousa Magalhães
Programme - Fundo para a Conservação dos Oceanos
Execution dates - 2020-03-01 - 2022-12-31 (34 Months)
Funding Entity - Oceanário de Lisboa e Fundação Oceano Azul
Funding for CESAM - 56.775 €
Total Funding - 56.775 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro

Cerastoderma edule, the edible cockle (Bivalvia), is an important economic resource to coastal communities in Portugal, traditionally exploited by local harvesters, some licensed but also unlicensed collectors and vacationers. Concerning the environment and biodiversity protection, cockles are considered keystone species due to their role as ecosystem engineers, carbon sequestration agents and link between trophic levels. However, cockles have been suffering from periodic mass mortalities leading to natural stocks decline. The frequency and intensity of such episodes increased in the last decades mainly due to deterioration of the environmental conditions, emergent diseases, overfishing and inefficient management. This scenario has severe consequences for the social structure of coastal communities, and for the wider ecosystem services and societal benefits provided by cockles. COACH emerges in this context and aims to collect multifactorial information about cockle fishery, cockle biology and cockle banks physicochemical features. Moreover, using predictive habitat mapping based on ecological niche modelling, COACH will estimate the potential distribution of the cockle population in Ria de Aveiro and predict future distribution trends under different climate change scenarios. The results will feed a supporting tool to assist management and conservations actions. These outcomes will allow the development, in short-time, of a management plan that promotes a cooperative regime for the conservation and sustainable exploitation of this important resource and fishing activity.

Members on this project
João Miguel Dias
Rosa L. Freitas

CESAM Funding: