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Fisheries

INSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable Fish

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World fish stocks are being depleted by overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This threatens not only the fish, but also the coastal communities that rely on fisheries for economic survival and a dependable food source. The European Commission has worked in close cooperation with EU countries and non-EU countries to develop the FLUX standards in order to exchange fisheries information in an effective, transparent and efficient manner.
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella is at the Council of the European Union in Luxembourg today, presenting the Commission's proposed Regulation on technical measures to EU fisheries ministers. A proposed Regulation on data collection in the fisheries sector is also on the agenda.
The European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on a multi-annual plan for cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea at a trilogue meeting yesterday, following a European Commission proposal in 2014.

Managing fisheries

The fishing net is controlled by fisheries inspectors.

Fishermen catch fish from fish stocks, which generally have a high, but not unlimited, reproductive capacity. If fishing is not controlled, stocks may collapse or fishing may cease to be economically viable. It is in everyone's interest to have a fisheries management system in place to

  • safeguard stock reproduction for high long-term yield
  • lay the foundations for a profitable industry
  • share out fishing opportunities fairly, and
  • conserve marine resources 

The principal aim of fisheries management under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is to ensure high long-term fishing yields for all stocks by 2015 where possible, and at the latest by 2020. This is referred to as maximum sustainable yield. Another increasingly important aim is to reduce unwanted catches and wasteful practices to the minimum or avoid them altogether, through the gradual introduction of a landing obligation. Lastly, the new CFP has overhauled its rules and management structure, with regionalisation and more extensive stakeholder consultation.

Fisheries management can take the form of input control, output control, or a combination of both. Input controls include:

  • rules on access to waters – to control which vessels have access to which waters and areas
  • fishing effort controls – to limit fishing capacity and vessel usage
  • technical measures - to regulate gear usage and where and when fishermen can fish 

Output controls mainly consist of limiting the amount of fish from a particular fishery, in particular through total allowable catches (see TACs and quotas).

The Common Fisheries Policy increasingly has recourse to multi-annual plans which often combine different management tools.

Fisheries management is based on data and scientific advice, and control measures to ensure that rules are applied fairly to and complied with by all fishermen.