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Multiple objectives in the management of EU fisheries

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) embodies multiple objectives (biological, economic and social) in its aims for the management of fisheries in EU waters. However, there has been significant criticism of the CFP concerning its effectiveness on these aims. The main reason for this is that important sectors of the industry feel that their best interests are not taken into account when management policy is defined. This project analyses the objective structure throughout EU fisheries, from the perspectives of all key players: managers, politicians, fishermen, researchers and other interest groups. The objectives, preferences and opinions from these groups will be taken into account. Multi-objective models will be developed and analysed to consider existing and future management goals for several case studies, namely the English Channel, North Sea and Spanish fisheries. The project is multi-disciplinary, drawing on expertise from economists, mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as the fisheries.

The objectives of this project are:
1) to develop a multi-objective framework for the analysis of fisheries management in line with the aims of the CFP
2) to define the objectives and criteria intrinsic to the fisheries management process and the CFP, as well as other attributes and goals
3) to elicit preferences of the different interest groups with significant interests in the EU fisheries management process
4) to develop several case studies of EU fisheries (North Sea, English Channel and Spanish fisheries) to model the defined objectives and attributes using the elicited preferences
5) to analyse the results and trade-offs between the multi-objectives for all case studies to investigate the main question of how an optimally managed fishery would look from the perspective of the groups individually, by country and EU-wide.

Progress to Date
This project has considered multiple objectives in detail, analysing the effectiveness of multiple objective methodology for the analysis of the fisheries' management plans from the perspectives of groups with differing aims and concerns from management. Several real-world case study fisheries from around Europe, reflecting the diversity that exists, have been chosen for analyses. In the first year, methodology development and objective hierarchy development were undertaken. In the second year, the main outcome of the project was the development of interest group preferences towards the importance of management objectives for the case studies. This was the first known study where such a survey to explicitly define group preferences on the multiple objectives of management has been undertaken for European sea fisheries. The third and final year of the project saw the development of multi-objective models of case study fisheries to further consider the effects of interest group preferences on the direction of management. In conclusion, this project has considered methodology not previously applied in such detail to European sea fisheries. The results have shown that there is considerable scope for their use in future fisheries management

In fisheries management, multiple objective bioeconomic modelling, including analysis of interest group preferences, has been shown to potentially contribute significantly to policy design and implementation. Analysing the effects of potential management strategy on fleet and stock dynamics of given fisheries from the viewpoints of key interest groups could be invaluable in identifying and developing consensus among groups. As opinion and the effects of that opinion become more explicit, goals can be set for achievement from management.
Commentators have noted the flaw in overriding policies, such as the CFP, that have many defined objectives but no defined targets for achievement: the work completed in this project contends with this directly. EU fisheries management appears to be heading more towards regionalisation. If so, the work undertaken in this study becomes even more important as a variety of management strategies develop with the need for inclusion of opinion from key groups for effective management.
As a result of this project, several conference papers have been presented and many of these have been developed as papers for journal submission. Hence, the main results emanating from this project are expected to appear in the public domain, not only as reports developed for the project, but also as journal articles.


Scientist responsible for the project

Locksway Road
PO4 8JF Portsmouth
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 2392 844277
Fax: +44 2392 844037


Project ID QLRT-1999-01273
Organisation University of Portsmouth-Higher Education Corporation
Area 5.4
Start date 01 February 2000
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 1 014 089 €
Total EC contribution   880 102 €
Status Completed

The partners

  • Modelizacion Economica y Matematica de Pesquerias, University of Huelva, Spain - ES
  • Danish Research Institute of Food Economics, Denmark - DK
  • Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom (The) - GB
  • Institute for Fisheries Management and Coastal Community Development, Denmark - DK

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