Fisheries are a major source of animal proteins and other essential nutrients for maintaining good health. Given that fisheries exploit the production of wild populations, one of the essential problems to safeguard the fishery sustainability over time is the adoption of management strategies so that catches does not exceed the renewal ability of stocks. In recent years, fisheries management has succeeded in stabilizing and even improving the state of many fisheries resources. This is particularly evident in areas where stocks are exploited in compliance with scientific advice and strong institutional structures are in place. Considering the European fisheries, the new Common Fisheries Policy is aimed at pursuing ecological, social and economic sustainability of fishing activities. This general objective will be achieved by exploiting stocks at rates compatible with the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), adopting the ecosystem and precautionary approach in management, implementing long term management plans, involving stakeholders and reducing unwanted catches. Due to differences in ecological, social and economic characteristic of fisheries occurring in different European Seas (from the Baltic to the Mediterranean Sea), the CFP has established that the general objectives of sustainability should be adapted to the specific features of local fisheries involving the Regional Management Organizations (RMOs). In the case of the Mediterranean Sea the RMO is the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). Improving scientific knowledge on dynamics of commercial stocks and marine ecosystems under the pressures of fishing fleets and global change is a pre-requisite to develop an effective management for sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean.
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