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Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management in Europe

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Chapter Summary

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union stipulates that fisheries management shall minimise the impact of fishing activities on marine eco-systems. It aims at a progressive implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. The debate on interpretation of an ecosystem approach has moved from principles to operationality in Europe as elsewhere. In the implementation of the CFP ecosystem concerns are addressed in two ways: First of all, the aim is to reduce the overall fishing pressure in accordance with the WSSD requirement to rebuild stocks to MSY levels. Secondly, specific measures are taken to protect sensitive habitats and species. The ecosystem approach is now seen in a wider more integrative scope with the development of the Maritime Policy and its environmental pillar, the Marine Strategy. While further developing these integrative approaches the CFP continues to implement an ecosystem approach incrementally and in an adaptive manner.

Keywords: Common Fisheries Policy (CFP); Ecosystem; Europe; fisheries management; marine strategy



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