Sustainable use of flatfish resources: addressing the credibility crisis in miced fisheries management

A.D. Rijnsdorp, N. Daan, W. Dekker, J.J. Poos, W.L.T. van Densen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Many flatfish species are caught in mixed demersal trawl fisheries and managed by Total Allowable Catch (TAC). Despite decades of fisheries management, several major stocks are severely depleted. Using the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as an example, the failure of mixed-fisheries management is analysed by focussing on: the management system; the role of science; the role of managers and politicians; the response of fisheries to management. Failure of the CFP management could be ascribed to: incorrect management advice owing to bias in stock assessments; the tendency of politicians to set the TAC well above the recommended level; and non-compliance of the fisheries with the management regulations. We conclude that TAC management, although apparently successful in some single-species fisheries, inevitably leads to unsustainable exploitation of stocks caught in mixed demersal fisheries as it promotes discarding of over-quota catch and misreporting of catches, thereby corrupting the basis of the scientific advice and increasing the risk of stock collapse. This failure in mixed demersal fisheries has resulted in the loss of credibility of both scientists and managers, and has undermined the support of fishermen for management regulations. An approach is developed to convert the TAC system into a system that controls the total allowable effort (TAE). The approach takes account of the differences in catch efficiency between fleets as well as seasonal changes in the distribution of the target species and can also be applied in the recovery plans for rebuilding specific components of the demersal fish community, such as plaice, cod and hake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-125
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • north-sea plaice
  • beam trawl fleet
  • fishing vessels
  • competitive interactions
  • effort allocation
  • science
  • area
  • cod
  • dynamics
  • policy

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