Indicator-based status assessment of commercial fish species in the North Sea according to the enEuropean UnionEU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)

Probst, Wolfgang Nikolaus GND; Kloppmann, Matthias H. F. GND; Kraus, Gerd GND

The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is structured into eleven descriptors of good environmental status (GES). For each descriptor the current status of the marine environment should be assessed against its GES using ecosystem criteria and indicators. Within Descriptor 3 (D3) the MSFD addresses the status of exploited fish stocks according to three criteria (exploitation rate, stock size and size structure). This study performed an MSFD-compliant assessment of exploited fish stocks in the North Sea by aggregating data from analytical stock assessments and scientific research surveys to calculate indicator metrics for each criterion within each stock time-series. A stock achieved GES, when each indicator for each criterion had a good status. Of 43 assessed fish stock suggested by the EU Data Collection framework, 63% (27) achieved GES. Though the MSFD explicitly demands that all exploited fish stocks achieve GES, this demand may be challenged by reality, because the status of exploited stocks depends not only on fishing impacts, but also on environmental conditions and ecological interactions. Therefore an alternative approach based on binomial distributions is presented to define limits for GES at the descriptor level. The implications and pitfalls of the applied assessment methods are discussed

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Probst, Wolfgang Nikolaus / Kloppmann, Matthias H. F. / Kraus, Gerd: Indicator-based status assessment of commercial fish species in the North Sea according to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). 2013.

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