Institutional inertia in European fisheries – Insights from the Atlantic horse mackerel case

Esther Schuch*, Silke Gabbert, Andries P. Richter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


© 2021 The Authors Fisheries management has to deal with uncertainty about the genetic composition and the location of fish stocks. If institutions are inert, i.e. unable to adapt to new insights, management may not be effective. This paper analyses fisheries management in Europe which relies on scientific advice feeding into the management decision process. The spatial boundaries of fish stocks define the scientific areas and management areas, which are not necessarily aligned. Even if new scientific information on the stock composition and location leads to changes in scientific areas, the management areas are usually not adjusted. This causes an institutional mismatch which violates the self-imposed good governance principles of the EU. We use the North Sea and the Western horse mackerel stocks to gain some insights in the process of renegotiating new management areas and national fisheries quotas. We find that distributional concerns around allocating quota are a key obstacle for an adjustment of management areas. We suggest to pre-define a transparent mechanism to facilitate adapting management areas to scientific areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104464
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date9 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Climate change
  • Fisheries management
  • Institutional inertia
  • Science-policy interface
  • Value of information


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