Management practices differ widely across fisheries


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Fisheries management is crucial to ensure that fishing activities are conducted in a way that minimizes detrimental impact on fish stocks and ecosystems. It is also instrumental in achieving the socio-economic objectives governments and stakeholders have for fisheries.


Fisheries management regimes are generally a collection of tools that aim to limit either the way fish are caught (input controls) or the level and type of catch (output controls). Input controls regulate fleet and gear characteristics (e.g. vessel size and power, gear type and configuration), along with how they can be applied (spatial or temporal restrictions). Output controls usually take the form of quotas, typically total allowable catch (TAC) limits which cap the total quantity of an individual stock that can be harvested. Individual or community quotas are sometimes used to augment TACs and they define the conditions under which catch shares can be sold or exchanged (or not). Output controls also include regulations on minimum fish sizes. 


Total Allowable Catches (TACs) play a large role in fisheries management


TACs are believed to be one of the most important tools for ensuring the health of fish stocks. The OECD Review of Fisheries 2022 finds that in 2021, the most frequently used management tools were gear restrictions (used for 87% of stocks), while TACs were the second-most commonly applied tool (76% of stocks).  

Use of management tools in stocks of commercially important species
2019 and 2021

Source: OECD (2022), OECD Review of Fisheries 2022.

In 2020, species covered entirely by TACs produced 12.6 million tonnes of fish, which were worth USD 9.2 billion. This accounted for 81% of the fish volume and 61% of the value of fish for all the species for which OECD collected data.  


This suggests that almost of 40%  (by value) of the fish produced by these fisheries comes from species which are not covered by a TAC, potentially at risk of unsustainable fishing pressure. Therefore, scope remains to better control harvests of even the most commercially important species. Increasing the use of TACs (and other quota mechanisms) can help ensure the economic, social and environmental sustainability in some of the most important fisheries. The relative importance of these fisheries to the national fisheries sectors mean this should be a high priority for fisheries managers and policy makers.

Use of total allowable catch limits in commercially valuable species by volume and value

Source: OECD (2022), OECD Review of Fisheries 2022.

Management differs widely across fisheries and needs strengthening were catch is not capped at sustainable levels


The proportion of landings of commercially valuable species covered by TACs varies widely across countries. 

Use of total allowable catch limits in commercially valuable species across countries in 2021
By volume

Source: OECD data

However, agriculture can also play a key role in reducing global emissions!

On the supply side, countries can increase productivity and efficiency in input use, adopt production techniques reducing emissions, increase soil carbon sequestration, afforestation and restoring degraded lands, and reduce food losses in the field and on the farm.

When it comes to demand, countries can mitigate emissions by providing information and incentives to consumers to shift the emissions intensity of their food choices, and to reduce household food waste.

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