Lessons for fisheries management from the EU cod recovery plan

S.B.M. Kraak, N. Bailey, M. Cardinale, C. Darby, J.A.A. Oliveira, Margit Eero, N. Graham, S. Holmes, T. Jakobsen, A. Kempf, Eskild Kirkegaard, J. Powell, R.D. Scott, E.J. Simmonds, Clara Ulrich, W. Vanhee, Morten Vinther

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Abstract

The performance of the EU long-term management plan for cod stocks, in force since 2009, is analysed focusing on the human and institutional factors. The plan operates through landings quotas (TACs) and effort restrictions following a Harvest Control Rule, and deploys a novel instrument allowing Member States to 'buy back' or increase fishing effort for fleet segments engaged in cod-avoidance measures. The stipulated fishing mortality reductions have not been achieved. On the positive side, the 'buy-back' instrument has led to increased uptake of selective gear and implementation of permanent and real-time temporary closures. On the negative side, ignoring the dimension of fishers as reactive agents in the design, the impact assessment, and the annual implementation of the measures has contributed to the failure to adequately implement the plan and achieve its objectives. The main problem is that the landings quotas taken in a mixed fishery did not limit catches because fishers were incentivised to continue fishing and discard overquota catch while quota for other species was available. The effort limitations intended to reduce this effect were insufficient to adequately limit fishing mortality in targeted fisheries, although fishers experienced them as prohibiting the full uptake of other quotas. Recommendations for future plans include (i) management through catch rather than landings quotas, (ii) the internalisation of the costs of exceeding quotas, (iii) use of more selective gear types, (iv) the development of appropriate metrics as a basis for regulatory measures and for evaluations, (v) participatory governance, (vi) fishery-based management, (vii) flexibility in fishing strategy at vessel level
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Policy
Volume37
Pages (from-to)200-213
ISSN0308-597X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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