Small-scale coastal fisheries in European Seas are not what they were: ecological, social and economic change

Nov 7, 2016 | CERES publications, marine fisheries

Coastal, small-scale fisheries (SSF), whether artisanal (professional) or recreational, represent important socioeconomic activities across Europe that are currently undergoing a number of changes. This paper reviews and analyses the drivers of these changes, and makes recommendations for the future management of SSF. From the biological standpoint, the use of fishing gears that actively select certain species, sizes and sexes, the deployment of fishing gears on certain fragile habitats, the loss of fishing gears and the use of non-native species as bait are examples of how SSFs can threaten the sustainability of vulnerable coastal species and habitats. From a socioeconomic perspective, several factors are altering the traditional characteristics of coastal SSF. Among the most important is the growth of recreational fisheries in coastal waters and the disappearance of traditional low technology fisheries or their substitution by more mechanised, technical fisheries, which is leading to a loss of the traditional ecological knowledge held by artisanal fishers. On the other hand, the increasing competition between artisanal and recreational fisheries, and between them and commercial fishing operations, are also altering the classical features of coastal fisheries in some European countries. SSFs must adapt to the requirements of the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), namely management based on Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), multi-annual management plans and ecosystem based principles. It is concluded that it is necessary to integrate different assessment approaches (biological, social and economic), with active participation from stakeholders, governments and relevant research institutions, to better evaluate and manage coastal fisheries.

Lloret J, Cowx IG, Cabral H, Castro M, Font T, Gonçalves JMS, Gordoa A, Hoefnagel E, Matić-Skoko S, Mikkelsen E, Morales-Nin B, Moutopoulos DK, Muñoz M, dos Santos MN, Pintassilgo P, Pita C, Stergiou KI, Ünal V, Veiga P and Erzini K  (2016) 

Marine Policy  DOI 10.1016/j.marpol.2016.11.007

Get involved in CERES  - get deeper insights:


flag_yellow_high KopieThis project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 678193 (CERES, Climate Change and European Aquatic Resources). The content of this website does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s).
March 2016 - February 2020 I  5.6 Mio Euros .


CERES Office Universität Hamburg, Germany
Professor Dr. Myron Peck, scientific coordinator
Anastasia Walter, project manager
Phone      +49 40 42838 9891