Glossary

Bycatch: so called non target species (including fish, turtles, marine mammals, seabirds as well as undersized fish) that are caught incidentally.

CFP (Common Fisheries Policy): The Common Fisheries Policy is the European Union’s way of organising how EU fishing activities should take place – who can fish where, how, when. The CFP is currently being reformed, and the new policy is planned to enter into force in 2013.

Comitology: Fisheries management implementation by the Commission and committees of Member State representatives, according to powers conferred to it by the European Parliament and the Council, but without these bodies being involved in the decision making.

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora): international agreement between governments aiming to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Demersal species: fish that live near or on the seabed (the bottom). Demersal fish include species such as haddock,  cod and flatfish.

Discards: fish or other marine organisms thrown back into the sea after they are caught ( see bycatch). The discarded fish and other animals almost never survive.

Ecosystem approach: in fisheries management this involves a consideration of all the physical, chemical and biological variables within an ecosystem, taking account of their complex interactions. Also known as ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) and ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM).

EMFF (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund): The proposed new fund for 2014-2020, allocating subsidies to fisheries and maritime activities. The EMFF was proposed by the European Commission 2 December 2011 and is part of the CFP reform.

European Fisheries Fund (EFF): the EU programme to allocate subsidies to the fisheries sector to support the objectives of the CFP. The EFF runs from 2007 to 2013 and has total budget of 3.8 billion euros. It replaced the previous Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG)

Fisheries Partnership Agreements (FPAs): bilateral agreements between the EU and third countries, often developing states, where the EU pays for fishing rights. A percentage of the agreement is intended to finance the development of sustainable fishing in the third country.

Fishing effort: the amount of time or fishing power used to harvest fish. Fishing power can be expressed in terms of gear size and quantity, boat size, horsepower, fuel consumption, manpower etc.

Habitats (and Species) Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna): requires EU member states to protect certain rare, threatened or typical habitats or species, as listed in Directive Annexes. The habitats include among others sandbanks, lagoons and reefs. The species include among others atlantic salmon, bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise, common and grey seals, lampreys, otters and sturgeon.

Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ): a form of fishery management in which quotas are allocated to individual fishermen or vessels. The quotas can be sold to others.

Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP):  EU policy launched in 2007, aiming to encompass all elements of marine activity and provide a management framework for a holistic and integrated approach to address economic and sustainable development of EU seas, including transport, competitiveness and research.

Limit Reference Points: biological or fishery management indicators that define the point beyond which the state of a fishery or a resource is not considered desirable. The reference points used in EU fisheries management include:

  • Bpa – point below which the estimated stock size (b= biomass) should not fall according to the precautionary approach (=pa) reference.
  • Blim - the estimated last limit (=lim) below which the  fish stock should not fall, to not risk stock collapse.
  • Flim – the level of fishing mortality (=f) over which there is an unacceptably high risk that stocks will collapse
  • Fpa – a level of fishing mortality (f) that should not be surpassed according to the precautionary approach (=pa)

Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy): the aim of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive is to protect more effectively the marine environment across Europe. Member States must take measures to achieve good environmental status of the EU’s marine waters by 2020.

Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY): the largest catch that can be taken from a fish stock year after year without harming its capacity to regenerate for the future.

Overfished: the state of a stock when it has reached a limit set by management, below which the population may fall to a level too low to ensure reproduction at a rate sufficient to maintain it.

Pelagic species: fish that live in mid water or close to the surface. Pelagic fish include species such as herring and anchovy.

Precautionary approach
: the principle of taking action based on the possibility of environmental damage, even before there is conclusive evidence damage will occur. In fisheries management due regard must be given to the uncertainties involved in fish stock assessment and management, and appropriate mesasures must be taken to avoid stocks falling below limit reference points.

Regional Advisory Council (RAC): one of seven bodies composed of fishing stakeholders set up to to advise European Commission on fisheries management. Five RACs cover geographical regionals, one the long distance fleet and one EU pelagic species.

Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO): the affiliation of different fishing nations which co-ordinate efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in regions of the high seas.

Relative Stability: in the CFP, the principle by which the EU Member States are allocated a fixed share of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for a given fish stock, based on their fleet’s past record of fishing activity.

Sustainable fisheries: fishing activities that do not cause undesirable changes in the biological and economic productivity, biological diversity, or ecosystem structure.

Total Allowable Catch (TAC): The total amount of fish allowed to be caught from a particular stock over a specified period of time. The TAC´s are negotiated by the European Council once a year, or fixed for several years by long-term managment plans that are agreed upon by Council. The EU parliament does not have co-decision on TAC´s.