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Fisheries Policy | 1 December 2020

How (not) to implement the ecosystem-based approach when setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs)
Fisheries Policy
Wildlife & habitats
Fisheries & Seafood

PDF | 454 kb

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How (not) to implement the ecosystem-based approach when setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs)

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.

Setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs) in the context of the Landing Obligation

Let's get the numbers right: What proportion of fish stocks are sustainably managed in the EU?

Ask the right question, get the right answer: Scientific advice for bycatch or non-targeted stocks that have zero catch advice

What is the ‘best available scientific advice’ for setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs)?

Caution! A TAC-Setter’s Guide to the ‘Precautionary Approach’

Linking the law to biological reference points used in scientific advice when setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs)

(Lack of) catch documentation under the landing obligation and how exemptions may defeat rather than prove the rule

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?