Original publication: October 2015
Authors: Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Germany: Daniel Stepputtis, Christopher Zimmermann, Uwe Krumme, Christian von Dorrien
Short link to this post: http://bit.ly/2Los54P

This document was prepared for the workshop of the PECH Secretariat held on 13 October 2015 in Brussels – “New Technical Measures Framework for The New Common Fisheries Policy” .

The set of documents prepared for the workshop includes the following papers:
I – Lessons from the Past for the Future of Technical Measures ;
II – Technical Measures in the Baltic Sea – An Alternative to Over-Regulation and the Brace-and-Belt Approach ;
III – Technical Measures in the Atlantic and the North Sea – Working with Stakeholders Towards Meaningful Revision ;
IV – Fishing Management Based on Technical Measures – The Need of a New Framework for the Mediterranean Sea


Technical measures provide a qualitative framework of management tools to meet management objectives. The existing set of technical measures for marine fisheries in the European Union is a heterogeneous system of provisions. They are frequently inconsistent, sometimes even contradictory, and have often been criticised as overprescriptive and too complex. The efficiency of technical measures in achieving the management goals has rarely been tested.

In the follow-up to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform, the European Commission is gradually issuing new legislative proposals aiming at aligning the partly outdated EU Regulations from before 2013. One of the major post-reform projects is the general overhaul of the set of existing rules for technical measures (“new rules“).

In this report, we interpreted technical measures in a wider sense, accounting for the overlapping and interacting character of many measures. The main technical measures applicable to Baltic Sea fisheries were reviewed and categorized into:

i) Gear and catch measures,
ii) Temporal and spatial closures,
iii) Species’ size limits,
iv) Mitigation of ecosystem impacts,
v) Compliance and control measures.

Based on the review, we assessed which of the rules for technical measures in the Baltic Sea should be

(i) maintained (e.g. closures and pingers to avoid harbour porpoise bycatch, maximum immersion time of passive gears),
(ii) removed (e.g. all gear and catch composition measures, minimum sizes in their current meaning),
(iii) altered (e.g. evaluate efficiency of spawning and nursery closures and adapt where necessary; mitigation measures to prevent by-catches of marine mammals; control and enforcement needs to cover the entire fleet, including small vessels), or
(iv) developed further (e.g. electronic monitoring systems, recreational fisheries). This assumes that enforcement and compliance is reasonable.

We highlight that the relatively simple structure of the Baltic Sea ecosystem and its fisheries may be an ideal area to test novel management approaches, including a more progressive or even radical approach to the deregulation possible after the implementation of the landing obligation (proof of concept). Lessons learnt could be used to see where amendments to the rules are required to make the CFP reform work, i.e. if the new rules do not work in the Baltic Sea, they are unlikely to work elsewhere.

The CFP reform should be used to deregulate and make a visible move towards a result-based management. All rules should be evaluated periodically and removed if they have not proven to be effective. The focus should always be on creating the right incentives but minimise disruption of the fishery.
Special care should be taken to avoid the introduction of new rules while keeping the old ones (“belt-and-braces” approach). Several current measures are in direct conflict with the new management approach and need to be removed immediately. Control and enforcement is crucial for the success of the CFP reform, and sticking to old control approaches is not advisable.

The question which of the new or amended rules should then be part of a wider EU framework and which should be area specific can only be answered after a decision is made on whether the Baltic Sea could lead the way to a result-based management, or whether consistency of rules across the different seas has priority. In the first case, most of the rules would be specific to the Baltic Sea, while in the latter more rules could be part of an EU framework. We recommend the first option (most rules Baltic specific) and thus an approach where an EU framework only sets the wider possibilities (e.g. principles and a very general set of technical measures) which would then be refined according to the needs of the region. A similar regionalisation approach has been applied for the implementation of the landing obligation and is planned for the new data collection framework. A tailored regional set of rules would also ensure that these are parsimonious – and thus easier to understand, enforce and obey.

Link to the full study: http://bit.ly/563-403

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Map 1: The Baltic Sea and adjacent waters with limits of ICES Sub-Divisions (SD) indicated

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