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What do fisheries and ‘blue’ carbon have in common? An international management and governance framework of ‘blue’ common pool resources (LUISETTIUENV19ARIES) [CASE project with Cefas]

Project Description

This is a CASE project with Cefas.

Scientific background
The marine environment provides a range of common pool resources, including fisheries and ‘blue’ carbon. Whilst fish biophysical functioning is well understood, and fisheries management and governance well established, there are still knowledge gaps on aspects of ‘blue’ carbon ecosystems, and limited research on their future governance. There are no international agreements safeguarding ‘blue’ carbon despite national and international interest (e.g. climate change mitigation; Natural Capital Accounts). The aim of this project is to understand and relate the governance and management of fisheries and ‘blue’ carbon, exploring aspects of uncertainty (in modelling, politics and policy), given the dynamic biophysical nature and the current conditions of geo-political uncertainty they both share. The objective is to devise a more systematic approach to common pool resources internationally managed.

Research methodology
The student will review existing work on fisheries functioning, governance and management practices, and on similar aspects related to ‘blue’ carbon, aiming to identify key biophysical and socio-economic factors affecting fisheries policy and management. This and subsequent phases of the research will be informed by consultation and discussion with relevant policy stakeholders. A suitable case study will be identified within either UK or non-UK waters. Drawing upon existing fisheries models, policy projections, and stakeholder and scientific expertise, the student will develop, test and analyse different plausible policy scenarios on fisheries management. These will be used to explore opportunities and challenges for the governance and management of existing and new ‘blue’ common pool resources.

Aries DTP training (e.g. summer and winter schools, workshops), training at UEA (in social science methods, and environmental economics) and by the CASE partner (Cefas) (e.g. modelling; natural capital accounting) will be made available to the student. The PhD candidate will acquire and /or strengthen their (a) understanding of interdisciplinary working, (b) modelling skills, (c) interviewing skills, (d) networking skills and interaction with relevant policy stakeholders.

Person Specification
This project would suit a researcher with a passion for understanding governance issues, through close scrutiny of environmental management and politics, as well as an interest in applied sciences (e.g. quantitative modelling). Suitable backgrounds include both natural and social sciences (environmental science, economics, politics).

Start Date: October 2019
Mode of Study: Full-time or Part-time
Studentship length: 3.5 years
Minimum entry requirement: UK 2:1.

Funding Notes

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC Doctoral Training Partnership. Undertaking a PhD with ARIES will involve attendance at training events.
ARIES is committed to equality & diversity, and inclusion of students of any and all backgrounds.
Applicants from quantitative disciplines with limited environmental science experience may be considered for an additional 3-month stipend to take appropriate advanced-level courses. Usually only UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a stipend. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 26th/27th February 2019.

Further information: View Website or contact us:


1. Luisetti, T., Andrews, J., Jackson, E., Palmieri, M.G., Sen, A., Paltriguera, L. (2015) Why value ‘blue carbon’? Chapter pp. 191-208 In: Turner R., Schaafsma M. (eds) Coastal Zones Ecosystem Services. Studies in Ecological Economics, vol 9. Springer, Cham, 
2. Thomas, S. (2014) Blue carbon: knowledge gaps, critical issues, and novel approaches. Ecological Economics, 107: 22-38. 
3. O’Neill, S.J., Osborn, T.J., Hulme, M., Lorenzoni, I., Watkinson, A. (2008) Using expert knowledge to assess uncertainties in future polar bear populations under climate change. J of Applied Ecology, 45(6):1649-1659. 
4. Hurić-Larsen, JF and Münch, A. (2016) Competition and Environmental Policy in the EU: Old Foes, New Friends? J Ind Compet Trade, 16:137–153. 
5. Diesing, M., Kröger, S., Parker, R., Jenkins, C., Mason, C., and Weston, K. (2017) Predicting the standing stock of organic carbon in surface sediments of the North–West European continental shelf. Biogeochemistry, 135 (1-2): 183-200.Biogeochemistry, 135 (1-2): 183-200.

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