Building and installing cages

Proyecto PERCEBES-BiodivERsA Construcción-Instalación from DocumentAzul on Vimeo.

Employees at the El Vasco workshop did a carefull folding and welding job to produce metal cages cages capable of withstanding tremendous wave forces. These conditions are typical of the sites where the stalked barnacles live. Almost 2 years after initiation of the PERCEBES human exclusion experiment, the cages have fared well and remain attached to the rocks.

Construcción-Instalación de las jaulas

Proyecto PERCEBES-BiodivERsA Construcción-Instalación from DocumentAzul on Vimeo.

Los trabajadores del taller El Vasco hicieron un cuidadoso trabajo de plegado y soldadura para fabricar jaulas de metal capaces de soportar la fuerza del oleaje. Estas condiciones son típicas de los sitios donde viven los percebes. Casi 2 años después del inicio del experimento de exclusión humana PERCEBES, las jaulas han ido bien y siguen unidas a las rocas.

Warming up for the 2020 workshop: meeting in Vigo to start arrangements

The ultimate goal of research projects related to fisheries management such as PERCEBES is to produce evidence that can be used by decision makers in policies. However, policy making is a complex task influenced by many factors and often the amount of scientific evidence when decisions are made is scarce. As a way to promote an effective interaction between research and practice, PERCEBES is planning a meeting for February 2020 to engage stakeholders of the barnacle fishery across Europe. The meeting will be held in Asturias. Fishers, scientists and governmental officers from France, Portugal and Spain will meet to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from ones to others and discuss the findings gathered by the project since it was launched in 2017.

To plan the meeting, Alba Aguión and other researchers from the University of Vigo (EcoCost lab) and José Luis Acuña and Katja Geiger from the University of Oviedo (coordinators of the project) met last Friday at the ECIMAT. Researchers counted on the useful advice from Beti Nieto, José Luis García and Raúl González from WWF, who have extensive experience in the organization of engaging meetings for stakeholders. Jorge Cachero from DOCUMENTAZUL also participated in the discussion, as the producer of the video documentary currently being prepared for the project. We look forward to sharing the results with administration and fishers. Without their collaboration certainly this project would not have been possible!

¡Feliz 2019!

El invierno ha sido bastante benigno hasta el momento en la costa de Asturias. El buen tiempo durante las Navidades ha asegurado una buena cosecha de percebes, que se vendieron a precios muy altos. Los precios ahora ya han bajado, pero todavía quedan algunas de las mejores piedras abiertas al marisqueo.  Abraham y Fran, de la Cofradía de Luanco, han accedido amablemente a llevarnos a la Isla de La Erbosa, un sitio impresionante en el que se pueden encontrar algunos de los mejores percebes de Asturias. Allí hicimos un vuelo de dron para ilustrar un dia de trabajo en éste paisaje impresionante. A la vuelta, Abraham se detuvo en las rocas de “El Corviru”, para recoger percebes para nuestras mediciones de reclutamiento, que usaremos para validar los modelos de transporte larvario. Sin la colaboración de pescadores como Abraham, éste proyecto no sería posible.

Jorge Chachero, de DOCUMENTAZUL, opera el drone desde la “Monista de Tierra”. Se pueden ver algunos perceberos en las rocas, y lanchas que los transportan de unas rocas a otras.

Perceberos trabajando en “La Corverina”, una roca que pertenece a la zona de extracción de “Las Piedras de la Crianza”. Al fondo, la isla de La Erbosa, situada a 1 Km de Cabo Peñas, en Asturias, Norte de España.


Happy 2019!

Winter has been mostly pleasant in the Asturian Coast so far. Good weather during the Christmas period ensured a good catch, which was sold at top prices. Prices now have dropped, but some of the best reefs remain open to the barnacle gatherers. Abraham and Fran, from the Luanco fishers guild, kindly brought us to “La Erbosa” island, an impressive place where you can find some of the best stalked barnacles in Asturias. There we did a drone flight to capture a working day in this impressive landscape. In the way back, Abraham stopped at the “El Corviru” to collect barnacles for the recruitment observations, which will allow us to validate the larval transport models. Without the collaboration of fishers like Abraham, this project would not be possible.

Jorge Chachero, from DOCUMENTAZUL, while flying the drone at the “Monista de Tierra”. Some harvesters can be spotted on the rocks while the boats carry them among reefs.

Stalked barnacle gatherers working at the “La Corverina”, a reef pertaining to the “Las Piedras de la Crianza” zone. In the background “La Erbosa” island, located 1 Km off the Cape Peñas, in Asturias, N Spain.





Second project meeting in Roscoff. 10-12 April 2018

From left to right: Anne-Sophie Le Port, Marion Ballenghien, Didier Jollivet, Lucille Perrier, Eric Thiebaut, Juliette Chiss, Dominique Davoult (UPMC), Yaisel Borrell (Univ. Oviedo), David Mateus (University Evora), Céline Houbin (UPMC), Gonzalo Macho (Univ. Vigo), Antonella rivera (Univ. Oviedo), Teresa Silva (Univ. Evora), Katja Geiger (Univ. Oviedo), Teresa Cruz (Univ. Evora), Alba Aguión (Univ. Vigo), Joana Fernandes (Univ. Evora) and José Luis Acuña (Univ. Oviedo)

The second project meeting was finally held at Roscoff between the 10 and 12 April. It was an important meeting where we had to evaluate the damage to the Human Excusion Experiment after a very harsh winter. In Asturias several of the exclusion cages were released by successive storms with 7-m waves. Fortunatelly, they could be fixed as soon as we had access to the sites. In Galicia, te cages were mostly affected by vandalism. All in all, the exclusion experiment continues as planned. We also discussed advances in the larval transport models, which are currently in their first runs after a thorough revision of assumptions during the past Aveiro meeting. It is time for the next step -the bioeconomic models. It was decided that we would devote a full meeting to the bioeconomic models next year in Vigo. Just as the Aveiro meeting, it was not planned in the original proposal, but we deemed it essential for quick progress to our goal. Genetics had also their room in the discussion, and we were made aware of the struggle to arrive at a set of microsatellite markers to evaluate the connectivity among populations. Very nice group work, extraordinary hosting by the Station Biologique, and by Dominique Davoult, Eric Thiebaut and their group, at a pair with the excellence of the past Sines meeting. About food and people, well, it’s France!

From left to right: Jorge Chachero (DOCUMENTAZUL), Seagull 1, Seagull 2, professional stalked barnacle harvester Patrick Tanguy and Olivier Bohner (UPMC).

After the meeting, videodocumentalist Jorge Chachero (DOCUMENTAZUL) arrived to Brittany with the goal of capturing images of a barnacle harvester and of PERCEBES scientists in action at the rocky shore. The prospects were quite horrible regarding the weather, but finally we were very lucky to be able to follow harvester Patrick Tanguy in one of his harvesting trips to the rocky shore in Quiberon. Patrick was not only an acomplished harvester, but also a delightful source of information and a cultivated person with a remarkable insight into the ecological processes of this particular environment. That same day we also had a deep and extremely interesting interview with Guillaume Le Priellec, the person in charge of the fishery organization, who gave us detailed account of how this fishery is managed. There we learned that this fishery is to some extent co-managed with the harvesters, who participate in the decisions on the when, where and how much to harvest.

During our visit to Toulbroc’h, from left to right: Dominique Davoult (UPMC), José Luis Acuña (Univ. Oviedo) and Olivier Bohner (UPMC).

Last day we tried to accompany Dominique Davoult and Olivier Bohner to visit Toulbroc’h, where the team at the Station Biologique du Roscoff (UPMC) have installed one of the PERCEBES experimental sites. This time the weather did not help, and we were only able to get close enough to make out one of the cages in the distance, surrounded by a magma of foam and 6-m waves. As in Portugal and Spain, winter has been tough in Brittany. In summary, these have been very intense and successful days, and the atmosphere of team job and good spirits made the rest. Thanks to all participants and see you in Vigo-2019!




Winter has hit hard

This is what is left of one of our experimental cages in one of project PERCEBES sites in Asturias, N Spain. Loss of cages has been massive in Asturias during winter, possibly because the main storm hit directly from the North. By comparison, sites at Portugal and Galicia fared much better. Note that the rock has been devoid of any animals or algae, because the cage has been smashing against the surface while hanging from the last of the remaining bolts. Awesome power of the ocean.

Pictures of an experimental plot which was covered by a cage before (left) and after (right) been vandalized.

Some of the cages have also been vandalized. The impact is still limited, and all biologist and fishers guilds are very committed and supportive with our project, so we expect this to remain controlled. If it gests any worse it could definitely ruin the experiment. The picture shows one of the vandalized cages before and after. Note that the vandal was careful enough to pick a single barnacle!!


Modelling meeting in Aveiro

Rita Nolasco, from the University of Aveiro, explains some of the intrincate aspects of the biophysical models during the meeting. From left to right: Rita Nolasco, Henrique Queiroga, Jesus Dubert (University of Aveiro), Antonella Rivera and Katja Geiger (University of Oviedo), Gonzalo Macho (University of Vigo), David Mateus (University of Evora) and Elena Ojea (University of Vigo). In the meeting there were also Eric Thiebaut (Station Biologique de Roscoff) and Amandine Nicolle (ENSTA Bretagne), who participated through videoconference, as well as Teresa Cruz, Joana Fernandez and David Jacinto (University of Evora) and Elsa Vazquez and Alba Aguión (University of Vigo).

During the 29 and 30th of January members of PERCEBES met at the Complexo Interdisciplinar de Ciências Físicas Aplicadas à Nanotecnologia e Oceanografia (CICFANO), in the University of Aveiro, Portugal, to discuss different aspects of the biophysical models of larval transport. One of the aims of project PERCEBES is to develop models to predict the drift of the stalked barnacle larvae during their open water, planktonic life. For this, the groups at Aveiro (Portugal) and ENSTA (France) are developing hydrodynamic models that simulate the movement of water in the coast. Once those models are available, we will inject a population of virtual larvae which will behave according to what we know of these animals. This meeting had two purposes. The first was to define the time and space scales of the hydrodynamic model, as well as its resolution. The second was to agree on the characteristics and behaviour of the larvae that will be injected into the model. Some aspects are still unknown or very poorly constrained, thus we needed to reach a consensus based on the best available knowledge, and propose different scenarios. This is a critical step in our way to develop a bioeconomic model, which is one of the two main scientific goals of this project.