Science communication

2021.08.24

Apply a buffer for uncertainty in fisheries

The scientific advice on fisheries is more uncertain than many realize. Therefore, the EU needs a bigger buffer, and the Commission should propose much lower total allowable catches than they normally do.

Text: Charles Berkow

It is more damaging to take out too many fish than it is to leave some fish that might have been caught in the sea. That is the main message in the comment from the Baltic Sea Centre on the EU consultation on fishing for 2022. 

In its annual report on the state of play of the CFP, the Commission admits that fishing is far from taking consideration of its impacts on the marine environment, as it should to under the Marine Strategy Framework directive from 2008 and the revised CFP. While waiting for better scientific advice, the Commission should consider proposing a special quota for the marine environment, alongside the national fishing quotas. 

The Commission should also propose measures to reduce the negative impacts of industrial fishing on fish stocks, the fishing sector and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea. 

Futher reading

The full text of the comments from the Baltic Sea Centre is available here.

Adapt herring fisheries to scientific uncertainty – a more detailed policy brief on uncertainty in the scientific advice.

Where have all the herring gone – an article illustrating the uncertainty with the example of the Central Baltic herring.