Fisheries Stakeholders Discuss Maximum Sustainable Yield

Lucy Towers
05 September 2014, at 1:00am

EU - The concept of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) for EU fisheries was recently discussed at a series of stakeholder meetings organised by the Myfish project. These meetings were an opportunity for fisheries stakeholders to give feedback on their priorities regarding the required trade-offs and their preferences for different implementation options for MSY management.

MSY is the maximum yield that can be derived from a renewable resource over a prolonged period of time. The Myfish project is an EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)-funded initiative which aims to provide an operational framework for the implementation of the MSY concept in European waters. The workplan of Myfish involves intensive consultations with stakeholders to obtain their input into project work and feedback on project results.

The stakeholder meetings were conducted in each of the project’s five case study regions: the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, the North Sea, Western Waters, and Widely Ranging Fish (covering fish stocks which tend to spread across more than one management area).

The objective of the events was to bring together key stakeholders to discuss trade-offs and effective ways in which long-term targets can be established for multi-annual multi-species plans.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of the UK National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), who attended the July meeting in Amsterdam, said: “I found the MyFish workshop to be at the cutting edge of thinking about how to achieve MSY within the context of biological, economic, social and political realities. A decision support platform such as that being explored and developed by Myfish should help fisheries managers and fisheries stakeholders in the advisory councils to understand the implications and consequences of their choices.”

The EC’s goal is to achieve MSY in the EU by 2015. However, there is currently a lack of common agreement on the interpretation of the "sustainability" and "yield" components of the MSY concept and on the effects that achieving MSY for one stock may have on other stocks and the broader ecosystem, economic system and social system.

The Myfish project will address these ambiguities by evaluating different MSY objectives, conditional on different kinds of constraints (ecosystem, economic, social) and with different kinds of management measures to achieve the objectives.