ICES and Fisheries Management - All down the drain?
More than 110 years ago the International Council of the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) was established to develop marine science to better understand what makes fish grow and how the recruitment of the stocks functions. Soon the management of the stocks became an additional task and with it the invention of total allowable catches and quota.
Since then ICES provides advice to the governments, which however was often overruled by TACs set far too high. As a result, in the 1990s the stocks in the North Atlantic region declined further and ran into highly critical states of overfishing. As a consequence, within the past two decades precautionary management principles were implemented and their effects are impressive: a great number of stocks in the North Atlantic are in the process of speedy recovery.
For ICES however, there is more to the job than giving advice: a great number of environmental, societal and economic aspects have come into the focus of ICES work and are increasingly becoming a part of the fisheries management and advice as well. This is what is understood as "integration“ and is at present the greatest challenge of ICES.