Climate-related impacts on the range and distribution of commercial fish stocks are likely to intensify in the future and will increasingly challenge fisheries management arrangements.
As stocks shift, ‘winners and losers’ are created amongst coastal states, risking break-down of agreements between coastal states and unilateral quota setting that may result in over-fishing.
Furthermore, political pressures, such as Brexit, are converging under these changing environmental conditions to create an increasingly challenging picture for fisheries governance in the region.
Ultimately, governance needs to be developed to ensure that the benefits of being part of an agreement outweigh the risks — or penalties — of withdrawing from such an agreement. Existing fisheries governance arrangements in the North East Atlantic region and case studies from around the world, point towards the key features that are required for an adaptive, flexible fisheries governance framework that can respond to climate-related impacts:
There are opportunities to apply these principles in the North East Atlantic region, building on strengths within the current landscape and strengthening them to respond to these upcoming challenges. With the UK’s impending exit from the EU, the UK Government has the potential to become a new and significant player in the region, providing an opportunity for re-imagining the fisheries governance framework.
The North East Atlantic region has the incentive, scientific knowledge and capability to successfully address these issues and with the right level of cooperation, willingness and ambition, could set a benchmark for fisheries governance in Europe and around the world.
Prepared by Suzannah Walmsley, Fisheries Specialist
(Fisheries and Aquaculture)
+44 (0) 2380 711 858