Ecosystem based approach

We work towards sustainable fisheries where ecosystem-based approaches provide more comprehensive management tools – bringing us closer to the long-term goal of healthy seas with thriving fish stocks and great diversity.


What is an ecosystem-based approach

Ecosystem-based management takes an integrated approach to managing our use of the environment. 

  • It emphasises the interconnectedness among species and their habitats, stressing the principle of adaptive governance because of the dynamically evolving nature of ecosystems. 
  • The ecosystem-based approach contrasts with the less complex single-species approach, which manages species in isolation, failing to account for their interactions within the ecosystem. 
  • The overall aim is to strengthen ecosystem resilience to external shocks, thus making ecosystems less vulnerable to larger paradigm shifts in species abundance and diversity.


What we do

We at FishSec are working to develop these principles into practical steps for incorporating future policy. To this end, the EU multiannual management plan for the Baltic Sea, incorporates ecosystem-focused language to encourage better management in fisheries targeting cod, herring and sprat. 

We have also organized workshops where stakeholders worked together to find alignment on how Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management can be transformed into concrete management measures. The workshops conclusions were also presented as a set of recommendations for managers.


Further Reading

The ecosystem-based approach is mentioned in the Common Fisheries Policy (EU 1380/2013, Art 2.3) as well as in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC, Art. 1.3).

Recommendations to implement EBFM in the Baltic Sea

Last updated: February 10, 2021

Recent publications

Joint NGO feedback to the European Commission on the “Sustainable fish...

August 4, 2023

Joint response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the progress towards achieving more sustainable fisheries, the state of fish...

Joint NGO recommendations on Baltic Sea fishing opportunities for 2024

June 19, 2023

The Baltic Sea ecosystem is in severe distress and the major commercial fish stocks have never been in worse condition. In...

Joint NGO recommendations on Baltic Sea fishing opportunities for 2023

June 15, 2022

In October 2022, EU fisheries ministers will agree on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2023. As the deadline to...

December 9, 2021

NGOs ask Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, for the prohibition of catches of tope shark (Galeorhinus...