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Fisheries Management

Last updated: 17/06/2014

Coasts and oceans support an enormous amount of marine biodiversity and provide substantial services to humans, from nutrient cycling to fisheries production.

However, ecologically unsound fishing practices threaten the existence of commercial fish stocks and damage the marine environment. The exploitation of most stocks needs to be regulated, the stocks managed. These are some of the key principles for fisheries management.

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Ecosystem-based management

Ecosystem-based management takes an integrated approach to managing the species and habitat of a defined ecosystem. The aim is to strengthen the resilience of these ecosystems to external shocks.

This approach emphasises the importance of the connections between species, rather than treating each species separately. Read more.

Rights-based management

This management tool (RBM) creates rules which define both the right to use and the allocation of fisheries resources. Thus, fishermen, fishing vessels, fishing communities and so forth can be awarded a licence, quota or fishing right to stocks.

In the EU, most Member States have already implemented some kind of RBM approach, but there is concern that some of these tools, particularly Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs), could marginalise the small-scale fishing sector. Read more.