After REDCAFE: an interdisciplinary approach to European Cormorant-fisheries conflicts (INTERCAFE)

Dave Carss
NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Bush Estate
Penicuik Midlothian Scotland (UK) EH26 0QB
Mariella Marzano
Previously: University of Durham
Department of Anthropology
43 Old Elvet,
Durham (UK)



The REDCAFE project (“Reducing the Conflicts between Cormorants and Fisheries on a pan-European scale”) was a two-year Concerted Action (2000-2002) funded under the European Union’s Framework Five Programme. It addressed, for the first time, cormorant-fisheries conflicts on a European scale by establishing a very active network of research institutes across 25 countries, and including many members of the Cormorant Research Group. Focussing on the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), REDCAFE’s final report (Carss 2003) is available in pdf format (5.04mb) or as a Word document (34.6mb):

Cormorant-fisheries conflicts are a truly pan-European issue affecting a variety of stakeholder groups living and working in a diverse range of aquatic habitats across the continent. One of the most important aspects of REDCAFE’s work, in relation to the provision of management solutions for cormorant-fisheries conflicts, was to show clearly that such conflicts are complex in terms of their biology but that social and economic issues are equally important: these conflicts are sometimes as much human:human ones as they are human:wildlife ones.

An interdisciplinary approach involving the collaboration of biological and social scientific expertise, economic and political interest and practical local experience was seen by REDCAFE as vital to the development and successful implementation of practical cormorant-fisheries conflict resolution strategies across Europe. The challenge was both to continue with relevant research and to improve information exchange, dialogue, participation and trust between all stakeholders involved in such conflicts. This challenge has recently been taken up by a new four-year, pan- European COST Action, INTERCAFE (“Conserving Biodiversity - Interdisciplinary Initiative to Reduce pan-European Cormorant-Fisheries Conflicts”). COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Co-operation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, which promotes the building of scientific networks. In INTERCAFE, this involves the collaboration of biological and social science expertise, economic and political interests, and practical local experience.

INTERCAFE builds on REDCAFE’s successful foundation by coordinating biological and social research programmes and integrating cultural, economic and political/policy concerns so that conflict resolution strategies can be devised, through collaboration with local people, that are tailored to the specific needs of local stakeholders and decision makers. Moreover, the international coordination of national research efforts through this COST Action will ensure that the opportunities to understand conflicts and learn from experiences elsewhere are exploited as fully as possible across Europe.

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