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© Kay Panten
Institute of

SF Sea Fisheries


Scientific advice in support of the common fisheries policy

Challenges for EU fisheries policy
© Thünen-Institut
EU fisheries policy faces a number of challenges such as the regulation of fishing opportunities or bycatch, the consideration of conservation issues, or the increased use of marine space

Framework Contract for the Studies providing scientific advice in support of the Common Fisheries Policy in EU waters 

In implementing the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EU Commission obtains scientific advice and awards individual specific contracts (studies). For this purpose, the EU Commission has concluded a framework contract with two large project consortia, covering topics for the Baltic and North Sea and the North Atlantic (SANoBA), but also other EU waters in the North-East Atlantic and outer regions such as Madeira or the Azores (SAF EU).


Background and Objective

The EU-Commission is responsible for the implementation of the EU Common Fisheries Policy and in need of scientific advice. The aim of this framework contract is to cover and report on specific research questions which cannot be covered by the International Council for the Explorations of the Sea (ICES) and the Scientific, technical and economic committee for fisheries (STECF).

The results of the specific studies shall support the implementation of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for the following fields of expertise:

 -  aspects of fish stocks, their exploitation and their management

- aspects of an ecosystem-based approach with ecological studies on ecosystem structures and functions, the reduction of human impacts such as fisheries or the protection of essential habitats

- socio-economic aspects of fisheries descriptions and characteristics and their contribution to a “Blue Economy”.

The provision of advice and the research findings are an important contribution to the official reports of the EU Commission to the European Parliament and the Council for achieving the objectives of the CFP.

Target Group

Policy, Science, Public


Study 1 takes stock of the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in the European Union (EU) in the North Sea, Baltic Sea, in Western Waters and outermost regions. It is based on a systematic mapping of ecosystem measures implemented in selected EU fisheries.

Methods used are secondary analyses of scientific and grey literature, document analysis, field research - in particular interviews and focus groups with relevant stakeholders from administration, industry, environmental NGOs and science) and a workshop with stakeholders.

The aim of this study is to address the gap to the current state of implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in EU waters.

Study 2 will identify measures to implement the landing obligation (Art. 15 of the Basic Regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)) and analyze their success in terms of reducing discards. It is based on a systematic mapping of the implemented management measures for the landing obligation.

This study will therefore identify fisheries and species affected by the landing obligation at first. In a second step, the effects of the measures will be analyzed and thirdly, an overview of the control measures will be provided. The Thünen Institute is especially responsible for the German data and will contribute information on the implementation of the landing obligation in Germany.

The overall aim of this study is to evaluate the implementation of the landing obligation and to examine whether there are differences between fisheries and different views on implementation among EU member states.

In Study 3 we will identify and analyse the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Germany and the other member states of the EU. For this we work together with fisheries research institutes and conduct stakeholder interviews and review available information.

In this study we will identify in a first step the changes in fishing activity, the behaviour on board, changes in markets and governmental interventions. In a second step we will analyse possible risks and the duration of impacts for the companies and their resilience against the impacts. The Thünen Institute is coordinating this study.

Overall objective of the study is to close information gaps and provide suggestions for possible reactions to comparable situations in the future.

Our Research Questions

The current specific studies within the framework contract are so far covering the follow topics:

  • Which EU fisheries management practices and measures have been implemented today or in the past that can be understood as ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management or display elements that can be characterised as EAFM?”
  • How has the Landing Obligation been implemented and how do the exemptions influence the bycatch and discard rates?
  • What are the short, medium and long-term economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the German fishing and aquaculture sectors?

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • European Union (EU)
    (international, öffentlich)


1.2020 - 12.2022

More Information

Project status: ongoing

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