Nordic conference on environmental effects on fish stocks

Published on October 15, 2005

Calls for more efforts to mitigate a range of environmental effects on marine resources as well as new studies made at Nordic conference.

The Nordic Council held a conference on Fisheries and Environment on 15-16 September. The purpose was to give an overview of environmental effects, such as climate change and eutrophication, on fish stocks and other marine resources. The conference attracted 60 participants from the entire Nordic region, including government and goverrnment agency officials as well as representatives of local government, NGOs and the science community.

The fish stocks and other marine resources are affected by fishing and other resource use. But other natural and human induced factors also affect the state of the stocks. These factors interact in a complex manner, often poorly understood and described. The extent of these effects were discussed during the conference, with a focus on effects of climate change, ecosystem change, eutrophicaltion, chemicals and alien species on fish and shellfish resources in the Nordic region.

Some of conclusions of the meeting were:

  • That the implementation of EU Common Fishery Policy should follow the principles of ecosystem-based management in general and the Habitats Directive in particular.
  • That the Nordic countries should initiate in EU and globally an ecosystem-based management of the seas and its resources.
  • That marine environmental research and monitoring need to be more coordinated and harmonized.
  • That research on the effects of chemicals in the marine environment should be strenghened.
  • That the Nordic countries should rapidly ratify the IMO convention on ballast water and sediment to prevent the spread of alien species and habitat destruction.
  • That provision of agricultural subsidies, especially under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), should always be linked to controlling and limiting substances that contribute to eutrophication, such as fertilizers.
  • That a focused reseach effort to study the effects of eutrophication on fish stocks is needed.
  • That EU authorities should be ready to adjust the fishing pressure when fishing and/or environmental factors changes the stock conditions.