The Baltic Sea Centre, Fisheries Secretariat and ICES hosted the workshop and the event was located in “Bullkyrkan” (or Sweet bread church) in Stockholm Old Town. The cosy atmosphere together with initiated and engaged participant created a stimulating and productive workshop.
The two days long workshop was divided into three themes:
- Ecosystem based fisheries management in the unique Baltic Sea context.
- Development of advice towards ecosystem based fisheries management.
- Bridging the gap between advice and decision makers in fisheries policy.
Each theme were built on a series of keynote talks and summarized in moderator-led discussion groups at the end of the first two themes. A panel discussion with representatives from science, policy and fisheries followed the final theme.
As the discussions matured it was clear that the issue goes beyond solely management of commercial fisheries. Other interest groups as well as political frameworks and directives besides the Common fisheries Policy (CFP) have to be considered, such as the objectives in the Marine Spatial Planning and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
A full minute report, including the recommendations of the working groups, will be found in the linklist below this article in a couple of days. While we are waiting for that to finnish there is this short version:
The presentations of Valerio Bartolino (Mareframe and SLU Aqua), Eskil Krikegaard (ICES) and Rudy Voss (Kiel University) and following discussions all kept the message that the basic scientific structure for managing complex biological interactions in commercial fish stocks already exists, however, it is highly political what to do with this knowledge. Thorsten Blenckner (Stockholm University) added that the Baltic is a unique region that is affected by many anthropogenic stressors, and since different stressors affect different regions a sub-regional approach might be needed.
Marcin Rucinski (Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Fish) described how regional policy structures already are at place but the cooperation between them must improve to actually be able to undertake the issues of EBFM. Management trade-offs were raised as perhaps the most central issue when it comes to implementing EBFM. It is also clear that both science and the policy structure must improve. It is a two-way relation between fish stock development and the nature and therefore a broader perspective in the fisheries management is needed.
Trade-offs must also be understood and clearly defined to avoid different interpretations in the developing phase. This was clearly exemplified in the presentations about the development of the Baltic multiannual plan, by Polish Member of European Parliament Jarosław Wałęsa, and the different interpretations of the MSY concept, presented by Michael Earle (working for the Greens in the European Parliament).
Another issue that was raised in both presentations and group discussions was that to implement EBMF in an efficient and sustainable way, all interest groups must be included and represented - also in the first steps and the right questions must be asked (e.g. presentation by Roland Cormier, Helmholts-Zentrum). In fact that was not the case even in the workshop since there was biases in the representations of different Baltic Member States, stakeholders and gender.
The importance of including all different perspectives and interests when implementing EBFM was also raised by Dorothy Dankel (University of Bergen). It is not likely that anyone at the workshop missed that when she dramatically illustrated it by the massacre of a cupcake on stage (a view of her presentation is highly recommended).
A much appreciated presentation was given by the Swedish fisherman Bengt Larsson, who described the realities and challenges of small-scale fisherman, and his innovative ways to handle that by selling his catch directly to consumers using social media and phone text messages.
Finally we concluded that the implementation of EBFM is a step-by-step process and everything cannot be done at once. We should take advantage of the tools and ambitions that already exists. It is a continuous process and one strong ambition of both the organisers and the participants was to continue organise meetings on the topic. Preferably scheduled back-to-back with other meetings on Baltic management to attract a wide range of participants.