The language of fishery management advice offered by ICES
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Since the establishment of the Exclusive Economic Zones in the mid 1970s, several exploited fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic have been managed by total allowable catch (TAC). The advice on annual levels of TAC, as offered by ICES, has been given on certain assumptions as to what the objectives of the fishery management agencies might be. These objectives have seldom been stated explicitly by fishery management agencies, and the language of the advice has been subject to alternative interpretations. In particular, some terms, e.g. “safe biological limits” have given rise to disputes and doubts about their usefulness and true meaning. In this paper, we discuss the language of ICES’ advice, and offer some suggestions on how to improve communication between ICES and the relevant fishery management bodies, NGOs, and the public.
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