Working with ICES, the EU projects Myfish, Euro-Basin, and DEVOTES held a workshop in Charlottenlund, Denmark 3-5 April, to investigate how the concept of Good Environmental Status (GES) can be applied to the pelagic ecosystem and fisheries that exploit pelagic fish.
With most of the current paradigm with regards to Good Environmental Status (the targeted outcomes of the EU's Marine Strategy Framework Directive) for fisheries having been based on demersal fish, pelagic fisheries and fish were considered as operationally and biologically different. The management objectives for pelagic systems have been identified through a participatory process hosted by Myfish which included industry, management, scientist, and NGO representatives. These objectives were then used to identify the appropriate driver, pressure, and state indicators building on the work in Euro-Basin.
In the joint workshop, the links between objectives and indicators were explored for a range of examples highlighting the importance of the biology and the interaction between the pelagic ecosystem and humans. The workshop concluded that considering Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) targets alone will not fulfil GES objectives with regards to, for example, the genetic, phenotypic, and behavioural dimensions. The MSY approach also does not specifically consider habitat and bycatch concerns.
The workshop will produce a paper entitled 'Identifying pelagic ecosystem indicators for management'.