The Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VME) Project ends with the discovery of new deep-sea habitats and a draft VME strategy for the future.

Dr Tabitha Pearman

As the end of the year approaches the VME Project comes to its end.

The two year project has seen the discovery, quantitative analysis and mapping of benthic habitats and VMEs across the Falkland Islands Conservation Zone. The deployment of loggers on fishing longlines has improved our understanding of how longlines move on the seabed and has enabled the identification of the likely time periods when fishing impact on VMEs occurs.

Through collaborative research and capacity building with fishermen from the CFL Hunter and Falkland Islands Government Fisheries observers, Dr Tabitha Pearman has left a legacy of deep-sea data collection and monitoring which feeds into the newly drafted VME strategy.

The outputs of the project have been presented at international conferences and published in peer reviewed journals.

The success of the project was down to the great collaboration between SAERI, fishermen, observers and international research collaborators and Dr Tabitha Pearman would like to thank everyone who contributed toward the project.

Image above: The VME Project has shown that VMEs are distributed across the slope of the Falkland Islands Conservation Zone.

Image right: The VME Project objectives have been showcased at the Falkland Islands Farmers week in 2022.

Link to paper: https://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/14/8/637

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