Optimising sustainable management of mixed fisheries: differentiating and weighting selective strategies
The three main pillars of the European Common Fisheries Policy, reformed in 2013, consist of minimizing ecological impacts; implementing sustainable exploitation defined by maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for regulated species and introducing landing obligations aimed at reducing the wasteful practice of discarding unwanted catches. These three key elements constitute major challenges for fisheries, their management and fishery scientists whose goal is to provide objective advice. We demonstrate that limiting sustainable catch options may pose rigorous constraints on fishing activities, in particular on so called mixed fisheries targeting more than one individual stock. In a situation where there are complex restrictions comprising multiple management goals which are sometimes conflicting (e.g. the ‘choke effects’ of reduced catch opportunities due to specific stock conservation needs or market conditions), we propose the application of specific measures for specific fisheries, i.e. deviation from traditional fishery selection patterns, as an option to avert significant losses in yield and economic revenue. Fisheries specific contributions to general management goals, including unwanted effects, shall be evaluated. Individual fisheries may benefit accordingly through multi-annual management plans with regional scale reconciliation of sustainable exploitation of living natural resources, food security and socio economy as potential key elements.