Important legal notice
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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“Applying fishery-environment assessment indicators to safeguard the marine ecosystem from adverse effects of fishing.”

The problem

EU fish stocks have been declining for years. So far, fishery policies have not managed to halt the drop and have not provided enough environmental protection from the associated damage to marine ecosystems. The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) now provides for the progressive implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. This requires an understanding of the relationships between fishing activities and ecosystems from which indicators can be developed. Well-designed indicators are a recognised means to help assess progress towards policy objectives, as well as providing a basis for adjusting policies and communicating with stakeholders.

INDECO  Developing environment indicators for assessing fishery management


INDECO seeks to ensure a coherent approach to the development of indicators at EU level, in support of environmental integration within the CFP and internationally. It achieve this by:

  • Synthesising existing research and analysis from national, EU and international sources
  • Using operational models establishing the relationship between fishing activities and changes in the marine environment to underpin some of the ecological indicators
  • Identifying data gaps and ways of addressing them
  • Seeking ways of ensuring that agreed indicators are subsequently used in the policy process

Contribution to policy development:

  • The development of environmental indicators will assist in monitoring EU progress towards integrating environmental protection into fishery management policies set out in COM(2001)162, COM(2001)143, COM(2002)186 and the Council report on environmental integration, submitted to the Göteborg Summit, June 2001
  • INDECO brings together both scientific and EU policy expertise so as to ensure a scientifically robust contribution that is of maximum relevance to EU policy-makers and other end-users

Project deliverables

  • Identification of the policy objectives for which indicators are needed
  • Reviews of potentially useful ecosystem, population, community and habitat indicators
  • Review of socio-economic indicators on the environmental impact of fishing activities
  • Review the capability of various types of models to evaluate the usefulness, and facilitate the interpretation, of proposed indicators for providing timely ecosystem management advice 
  • Evaluation of the usefulness of proposed indicators
  • Report setting out the policy changes needed to facilitate the use of indicators in the EU
  • Policy paper making the results of the project accessible to policy-makers and other stakeholders
  • First-year activity report and final project report


  • Launch of project website (with monthly updates thereafter)
  • Annual project conference
  • CD-ROM of all the project reports
  • Direct contacts will be established with different potential user groups, such as policy and decision makers, government agencies, fishermen's organisations and environmental NGOs
  • Information will be circulated using the IEEP database of over 1,000 electronic and 600 hard copy subscribers
  • A 2-4 page leaflet or newsletter, articles in specialist publications and press releases

Technical information

Project acronym: INDECO
Project’s official full title: Development of Indicators of Environmental Performance of the Common Fisheries Policy
Research priority: 1.3. Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Specific webpage: Details not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 513754
Start date: 1 December 2004
Kick off meeting: December 2004
Completion date: November 2006
European Commission scientific officer: Jacques Fuchs (

Mr Dirk Reyntjens
Name: Institute for European Environmental Policy
Abbreviated name: IEEP
Address: 28 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AB
Country: United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 77992244
Fax: +44 (0)20 77992600
e.mail address: Dirk Reyntjens (


Name: Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research
Abbreviated name: RIVO
Country: Netherlands

Name: Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Venice
Abbreviated name: DSA-UNIVE
Country: Italy

Name: Renewable Resources Assessment Group, Imperial College
Abbreviated name: RRAG
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Institute for Fisheries Management and Coastal Community Development
Abbreviated name: IFM
Country: Denmark

Name: Sea Fisheries Institute
Abbreviated name: SFI
Country: Poland

Name: Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
Abbreviated name: HCMR
Country: Greece

Name: Fundación AZTI – AZTI Fundazioa
Abbreviated name: AZTI
Country: Spain

Name: Fishery Research Service Marine Laboratory Aberdeen
Abbreviated name: FRSMLA
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science - Lowestoft Laboratory
Abbreviated name: CEFAS
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Institut Français de Recherches pour l’Exploration de la Mer
Abbreviated name:  IFREMER
Country: France

Name: Institut du Développement Durable et des Ressources Aquatiques
Abbreviated name:  IDDRA
Country: France

Name: University of Rome La Sapienza – Department of Animal and Human Biology
Abbreviated name:  UR
Country: Italy

Name: Danish Institute for Fisheries Research
Abbreviated name: DIFRES
Country: Denmark

Name: Institute of Coastal Research, Sweden
Abbreviated name:  ICR
Country: Sweden

Name: Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute
Abbreviated name:  FGFRI
Country: Finland

Name: Central Institute for Marine Research, Italy
Abbreviated name:  ICRAM
Country: Italy

Name: Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Abbreviated name: JNCC
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Abbreviated name:  IAMC-CNR
Country: Italy

Name: Estonian Marine Institute, Tartu University
Abbreviated name:  EMI
Country: Estonia