Publicado por: pongpesca | 2010/04/12

ICES workshop starts implementation process for MSY approach to European fisheries management

“THE first moves to operationalise a Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) approach to European fisheries management were taken at an ICES workshop recently attended by the NFFO under the North Sea RAC.

ICES scientists at the workshop were tasked with developing guidelines on implementing the MSY approach to its fisheries advice. Such work represents the first practical step towards fulfilling commitments under the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development agreement which sets a target date of 2015 to maintain or recover fisheries to levels consistent with Maximum Sustainable Yield.  MSY based catch options including step-by-step options towards the 2015 target are expected to be included in ICES advice for 2011.

The Federation said:  “If over the long term an MSY framework could maximise returns from fisheries then that would be no bad thing.  In practical terms, on the other hand, there remain significant challenges if science is to inform management effectively.  In particular, as fisheries build, a failure to make an accurate assessment of predation and competition in a multi-species context could render MSY management targets unattainable in practice.  This would risk sending out a completely false message about the state of stocks. 

“If we are to go down an MSY road what is needed is flexibility to such practical realities and a sustainable transition.  The risk, however, is for a draconian response to a rapidly approaching, but nonetheless arbitrary 2015 target.  Such a state of affairs that ignore people’s livelihoods would be absurd and totally unacceptable.” 

NFFO explain: “As MSY seeks to maximise long term returns from a fishery there seems at first sight to be little in this basic objective that seems contentious. The green lobby seized upon the concept in the current elaboration of what constitutes Good Environmental Status (GES) under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive which seeks to achieve GES by 2020.  Aside from practical considerations, whether MSY should form a prerequisite for achieving Good Environmental Status is a question of whether such legislation should address economically efficient use of fishery resources in addition to being concerned that the resource base does not become impaired – the basis for the existing precautionary approach to fisheries management. 

“The NFFO is against this interpretation of GES for commercial fish stocks.  This notwithstanding, within a fisheries management context there would, in principle, be a collective benefit in aiming to maximise returns from fisheries for the benefit of all over the long term that seems intuitive.  The devil, however, is likely to be in the practice.” 

The NFFO say there are are a number of challenges to delivering an MSY approach, including:

  • Defining what is a the pre-fished ‘natural state’
  • Applying the concept to mixed fisheries
  • Lack of data or existing assessment models

The NFFO feel that the MSY approach could place further burdens on already heavily stressed fleets particularly because of the limited timescale for its adoption. “Arbitrary targets and rapidly shrinking timeframes have the potential to turn into a lethal cocktail for the fishing livelihoods affected. Such a state of affairs would be unacceptable and must be avoided. We have been here before when the precautionary approach was implemented in too much haste.””

Fonte: Fish New EU – 12 de Abril de 2010

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