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Fisheries management under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has to follow an ‘ecosystem-based approach’. In simple terms, this means that it has to take into account the living and non-living components of the ecosystem, its dynamics and processes, and how these are affected by human activities in the marine environment – while preserving the integrity and functioning of the ecosystem and its elements.
However, dealing with these wider effects is not easy, since ecosystems can be very complex and thus difficult to understand.
This briefing explains how decision-makers, including the European Commission, the Council of EU fisheries ministers and individual Member States, should implement the ‘ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management’, particularly in the context of setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs).
It also provides an overview of the types of information that can and should be considered, as well as examples of management behaviour that violate the ecosystem-based approach.
Links: This briefing is part of a series of 8 briefings about some technical, but important key aspects of TAC-setting. The briefing series is designed to help decision-makers set sustainable TACs in line with science and the law.
For an evaluation of the TACs agreed at December Council for 2015-2020 please refer to ClientEarth’s comprehensive report: Taking stock 2020 – are TACs set to achieve MSY?