Sustainable Fisheries | WWF

Sustainable Fisheries

The last Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform provided a framework for Multi-Annual Plans (MAPs) for all commercial fisheries in the EU, as well as a regionalised approach to fisheries management.

Despite a wide range of tools available to improve EU fishing operations, the implementation of the CFP is facing significant resistance from the fishing sector and Member States.

We have evidence of the landing obligation not being implemented effectively. In some regions the implementation is delayed (e.g. Mediterranean fisheries continue to be overfished), and where MAPs are already in place, their purpose is being watered down.

Iconic species like the Mediterranean bluefin tuna and Atlantic cod have been overexploited for decades. 9 out of 10 stocks will be at unsustainable levels by 2022 if nothing happens. This poses  risk  that the EU won’t achieve the 2019 and 2020 goals and implement the policy targets. 

Key players help in implementing the new CFP through the European Commission funded Advisory Councils. These councils provide a regional forum for industry, science and stakeholders responsible for management of marine environments throughout the EU, for the EU fleet abroad, and for market policies related to fish. WWF is an active members of Advisory Councils.


Samantha Burgess
Head, European Marine Policy
+32 2 743 88 00

Ignacio Fresco Vanzini
Public Affairs Officer, Marine Policy
+32 2 743 88 00

Janica Borg
MPA and MSP policy coordinator
+32 2 743 88 00

Anne-Cécile Dragon
Fisheries Policy Officer
+32 2 743 88 00​


	© Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF
MSY or Maximum Sustainable Yield is the largest yield or catch that can be taken from a fish stock each year without deteriorating the productivity of the stock.

TACs or Total Allowable Catches are negotiated each year by the EU fisheries ministers and determine quota for the amount of fish that can be landed.

Discards are fish thrown back into the sea, mostly dying or dead, because they are undersize, undesirable for the market or because fishermen don’t have quota for them.

EBFM or Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management is an approach that assesses and limits the impact of fishing on marine species and the environment.

RBM or Rights Based Management is a tool that allocates the privilege to fish to an individual or group.