Myfish Working Towards Successful European Fisheries Management

22 January 2016, at 12:00am

EU - Best quality scientific approaches to fisheries management advice and implementation under potentially conflicting objectives were the main topic of the final Myfish symposium held in Athens (Greece) from 27-31 October 2015.

The event, held under the auspices of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), brought together experts from across the world to discuss targets and limits for successful long term fisheries management.

Effective and successful fisheries management that guarantees sustainable fisheries in the long term is of global interest. Europe’s tool for managing fisheries is the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is based on the principle of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). MSY refers to the largest average catch that can be captured from a fish stock under existing environmental conditions.

Currently, challenges remain for successful fisheries management based on the MSY concept, especially when the underlying biological situations are complex, such as in multi-species fisheries.

The ICES/Myfish symposium offered an excellent opportunity for fisheries stakeholders to exchange experiences and generate new high-level ideas to bring this important area forward.

Myfish is an EU Seventh Framework Programme project, which involves 31 partners from 12 EU countries working around the concept of MSY for fisheries management.

The project, running from March 2012 until February 2016, concentrates on the five main areas for European fisheries: the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, western waters (Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, Bay of Biscay and Iberian Sea) and widely ranging fish (encompassing the pan-regional Regional Advisory Councils (RACs), Pelagic RAC, long distance RAC, and regional fisheries management organisations).

The results of the project include highly informative “Decision Support Tables”, which are user-friendly guides to help fisheries stakeholders with making decisions on how much fish can be caught considering economic, ecosystem and social aspects..

The ICES/Myfish symposium brought together more than 70 high-level experts from 12 European countries, Canada, the USA, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. While each of those countries uses a specific legal framework for fisheries management, lessons can be learned by comparing management systems used around the globe.

At the symposium, successful case studies from the different geographical areas were presented and discussed to assess possible future implementation in European fisheries management.

In addition to presentations and discussions of Myfish’s results so far, several interactive round tables were organised, which literally brought the different fisheries stakeholders together around the table to discuss important questions. The symposium participants all agreed that for successful fisheries management, all stakeholders should be included in the discussions from the very beginning.

More information about and results from the Myfish project can be found on the project website ( Myfish will conclude with a policy information meeting on 25 February 2016 in Brussels (Belgium), where project outputs will be communicated to relevant European policy makers.