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Fishing in uncertain waters

By [email protected] - 4th September 2017 - 19:18

Suzannah Walmsley, a recognised fisheries and marine policy specialist at ABPmer, is helping the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop tools to support the future management of fisheries in the NE Atlantic Region.

Climate change is likely to cause changes in productivity of fish stocks and to fish stock distribution; governance systems need to be able to respond to such changes. The ‘mackerel wars’ are an example of what can happen when the existing international governance and management structures break down as a result of significant changes in fish stock distribution.

This latest piece of research examined the existing governance framework in the region and determined the challenges that are likely to arise in the face of climate change, then drawing on case studies from around the world identified how such challenges can be addressed.

The review contributed to a workshop hosted by ICES to identify tools and approaches to fisheries management and governance to ensure a successful future for fisheries in the North East Atlantic region.

Suzannah said; “Fish, like all migratory species, do not respect geo-political borders so fisheries management naturally needs joined-up thinking and a joint management approach. Rigid management systems and quota allocation systems can be difficult to administer in the face of climate-induced stock range and distribution changes. Under the Common Fisheries Policy, this is compounded by the application of the Landings Obligation. Adaptive, flexible and resilient fisheries governance arrangements therefore need to be found both to ensure sustainable fish stocks and minimise potential conflict among fishing nations now and in the future.”

The workshop on climate-related impacts on European fisheries management and governance is took place at ICES in Copenhagen on 30-31 August.

The EDF intends to use outcomes to develop a dialogue between science and policy experts and a shared understanding of possible approaches to address climate-related impacts on European fisheries and options for exploring alternative governance arrangements.

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