Environmental, Resource and Ecological Economics

MYFISH - Maximising yield of fisheries while balancing ecosystem, economic and social concerns

April 2012 - March 2015

The MSY concept was included as a principle in the 2009 Green Paper on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in accordance with the global imperative to manage fish stocks according to the maximum sustainable yield (MSY). This implies a commitment to direct management of fish stocks towards achieving MSY by 2015. Attaining this goal is complicated by the lack of common agreement on the interpretation of "sustainability" and "yield" and by the effects that achieving MSY for one stock may have on other stocks and broader ecosystem, economic, or social aspects. MYFISH will provide definitions of MSY variants which maximize other measures of "yield" than biomass and which account for the fact that single species rarely exist in isolation. Further, MYFISH will redefine the term "sustainable" to signify that Good Environmental Status (MSFD) is achieved and economically and socially unacceptable situations are avoided, all with acceptable levels of risk. In short, MYFISH aims at integrating the MSY concept with the overarching principals of the CFP: the precautionary and the ecosystem approach. MYFISH will achieve this objective through addressing fisheries in all RAC areas and integrating stakeholders (the fishing industry, NGOs and managers) throughout the project. Existing ecosystem and fisheries models will be modified to perform maximization of stakeholder approved yield measures while ensuring acceptable impact levels on ecosystem, economic and social aspects. Implementation plans are proposed and social aspects addressed through active involvement of stakeholders. Finally, effects of changes in environment, economy and society on MSY variants are considered, aiming at procedures rendering the MSY approach robust to such changes. The expertise of 26 partners from relevant disciplines including fisheries, ecosystem, economic and social science are involved in all aspects of the project. Global experience is engaged from North America and the South Pacific.