Change of approach to fisheries management 'premature at best', says MEP – Fishupdate.com

Change of approach to fisheries management ‘premature at best’, says MEP Published:  06 September, 2007

Elspeth Attwooll says methods must be fit for purpose

Speaking after today’s European Parliament vote on a report on Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) in fisheries, Lib Dem MEP Elspeth Attwooll endorsed the Rapporteur’s conclusion that it was not appropriate to introduce this form of fisheries management without further research and the exploration of other options.

Ms Attwooll commented: “There are various problems to be resolved. It is not clear how the approach could be successfully applied to mixed fisheries and it is not suitable for pelagic species. We do not anyway have all the data needed to establish the point at which MSY would occur, even for a single demersal stock. The scientific community at large, too, seems to accept that the model is in need of major refinement”.

She added: “Of course we must take conservation of fish stocks seriously. But we have to be sure that the methods we use are fit for purpose and do not run the risk of being counter-productive, particularly given the kind of fishing mainly engaged in by the Scottish fleet. I am encouraged that the report is taking such a robust approach to the issue. What are really needed are long term management plans for each individual stock”.

The report by Carmen Fraga Estevez (EPP-ED, ES) is in response to the European Commission’s communication on “Implementing sustainability in EU fisheries through maximum sustainable yield.

Maximum Sustainable Yield is a reference point whose objective is to maximise the economic yield of a fishery in relation to the biological capacity of the stock.

At the 2002 Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development, the Member States of the EU made a political commitment to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield in fisheries management by 2015, but since then this model has largely been superseded by new scientific approaches, which conceive the ecosystem as a whole and incorporate aspects relating to the environment, species interrelation, and economic and social factors.

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