How much fish can besafely caught? A Greens/EFA public hearing Sebastián Losada, Greenpeace International European Parliament , Brussels, 3 May 2011
Managing the exploitation of afish population sustainably determining how much fish can be safely taken from a population over a period of time taking into account the impacts on the ecosystem; establishing how such fish should be taken and by whom; ensuring that an agreed set of rules are complied with.
State of the stockstargeted by EU fleets Source: EC, Consultation on Fish Opportunities for 2010
How did we get there? Climate changeDestructive and wastefulfishing practices Acidification Pollution OvercapacityIUU fishing Habitat loss Subsidies Lack of awareness Flawed science?
How much fish can be safely caught?Limitations to the answer Ecosystem context vs single species approaches; Methodology tailored to data-rich situations, not always(actually rarely) the case; Progress in stock assessment techniques but how to deal withuncertainties; Some problems include: unreliability of data, failure toincorporate all sources of uncertainty into assessments andmanagement advice; failure to quantify the ability ofassessment and management approaches to meetmanagement goals.
How much fish can be safely caught?Are we asking the right questions?The question needs to be answered by the scientificcommunity, but scientists work is placed within a concretemanagement frameworkIs how to maximize catches the right question?Or is it rather how to ensure low levels of risk and maximizeecosystem resilience?
Maximum Sustainable Yield Difficulties in moving towards other approaches... MSY is difficult to avoid (widely endorsed); Limit rather than target. Still then, too much focus on target toolittle on robustness; Bmsy is typically 20-30% of the unfished biomass.
Two areas of progressAccuracy (stock assessments which faithfully representreality)Robustness (stock assessments which if followed minimisethe risk of failure)
GP Submission CFP reform 1992 No explicit account is taken of uncertainty of scientific assessments. It is necessary to develop, test and adopt a management procedure for each fishery which has been demonstrated to work in the face of these various types of uncertainty. The uncertainty must be explicitly taken into consideration so as to maximise the probability that fish stocks and the environment remain healthy and productive.
Some questions we need to answer What are the best tools to implement the precautionary andecosystem based approaches? How do we incorporateuncertainty?; How to make sure that there is no political interference in thework of scientists; How do we make sure scientists are asked the rightquestions? What level of risk is acceptable?
High risk should not be an option We need to make sure that high risk scenarios are not chosen; Society needs to be aware; Robustness of advice is key; Politicians have a key role to play: they need to make sure the right questions are asked.
De-linking science from politics Council Decision 2004 TACs 2011 TACs increase of 0.1% to 4.9% 1.9% of all TACs 3.6% of all TACs increase of 5% to 9.9% 1.9% of all TACs 5.7% of all TACs increase of 10% to 19.9% 5.7% of all TACs 30% of all TACs increase of 20% to 39.9% 9.5% of all TACs 1.4% of all TACs increase of > 40% 12% of all TACs 2.9% of all TACs So there is improvement, but... this can also place scientists under greater pressure!
The example of bluefin tuna BFT subject to unusual public scrutiny; Great pressure on the stock assessment process; BFT-E, the stock assessment chooses a high recruitmentscenario BFT-W, the stock is collapsed or at MSY?
Final remarks Where are we at? We need stock recovery; For many years we have taken risks leading us to this situation; We need to change the framework. Scientists need to be asked the right questions; We want advice consistent with a low risk strategy (and high probability of rebuilding to begin with).