Fishing impact and environmental status in European seas: a diagnosis from stock assessments and ecosystem indicators

Type Article
Date 2016-03
Language English
Author(s) Gascuel Didier1, Coll Marta2, Fox Clive3, Guenette Sylvie4, Guitton Jerome1, Kenny Andrew5, Knittweis Leyla6, Nielsen J. Rasmus7, Piet Gerjan8, Raid Tiit9, Travers-Trolet MorganeORCID10, Shephard Samuel11
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Europeenne Bretagne, Agrocampus Ouest, Ecol & Sante Ecosyst UMR985, 65 Route St Brieuc,CS 84215, F-35042 Rennes, France.
2 : IRD IFREMER UM2, UMR Ecosyst Marins Exploites 212, Ave Jean Monnet,BP 171, F-34203 Sete, France.
3 : Scottish Marine Inst, Scottish Assoc Marine Sci, Oban PA37 1QA, Argyll, Scotland.
4 : Fisheries & Oceans Canada, 531 Brandy Cove, St Andrews, NB E5B 2L9, Canada.
5 : CEFAS Lowestoft Lab, Pakefield Rd, Lowestoft NR33 0HT, Suffolk, England.
6 : Univ Malta, Dept Biol, MSD-2080 Msida, Malta.
7 : Tech Univ Denmark, Natl Inst Aquat Resources, Jaegersborg Alle 1, DK-2900 Charlottenlund, Denmark.
8 : IMARES, Haringkade 1, NL-1970 AB Ijmuiden, Netherlands.
9 : Univ Tartu, Estonian Marine Inst, Maealuse 14, EE-12618 Tallinn, Estonia.
10 : IFREMER, French Res Inst Exploitat Sea, Lab Fishery Resources, 150 Quai Gambetta,BP699, F-62321 Boulogne Sur Mer, France.
11 : Queens Univ Belfast, Sch Biol Sci, 97 Lisburn Rd, Belfast BT9 7BL, Antrim, North Ireland.
Source Fish And Fisheries (1467-2960) (Wiley-blackwell), 2016-03 , Vol. 17 , N. 1 , P. 31-55
DOI 10.1111/faf.12090
WOS© Times Cited 64
Keyword(s) Ecosystem approach to fisheries management, ecosystem indicators, good environmental status, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, stock assessment, trophic level
Abstract Stock-based and ecosystem-based indicators are used to provide a new diagnosis of the fishing impact and environmental status of European seas. In the seven European marine ecosystems covering the Baltic and the North-east Atlantic, (i) trends in landings since 1950 were examined; (ii) syntheses of the status and trends in fish stocks were consolidated at the ecosystem level; and (iii) trends in ecosystem indicators based on landings and surveys were analysed. We show that yields began to decrease everywhere (except in the Baltic) from the mid-1970s, as a result of the over-exploitation of some major stocks. Fishermen adapted by increasing fishing effort and exploiting a wider part of the ecosystems. This was insufficient to compensate for the decrease in abundance of many stocks, and total landings have halved over the last 30 years. The highest fishing impact took place in the late 1990s, with a clear decrease in stock-based and ecosystem indicators. In particular, trophic-based indicators exhibited a continuous decreasing trend in almost all ecosystems. Over the past decade, a decrease in fishing pressure has been observed, the mean fishing mortality rate of assessed stocks being almost halved in all the considered ecosystems, but no clear recovery in the biomass and ecosystem indicators is yet apparent. In addition, the mean recruitment index was shown to decrease by around 50% in all ecosystems (except the Baltic). We conclude that building this kind of diagnosis is a key step on the path to implementing an ecosystem approach to fisheries management
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Gascuel Didier, Coll Marta, Fox Clive, Guenette Sylvie, Guitton Jerome, Kenny Andrew, Knittweis Leyla, Nielsen J. Rasmus, Piet Gerjan, Raid Tiit, Travers-Trolet Morgane, Shephard Samuel (2016). Fishing impact and environmental status in European seas: a diagnosis from stock assessments and ecosystem indicators. Fish And Fisheries, 17(1), 31-55. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :