Towards ecosystem-based fisheries management in Norway – Practical tools for keeping track of relevant issues and prioritising management efforts
The present paper presents the practical implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) in Norway. This involves defining management objectives and developing simple and efficient tools to achieve an overview of management needs and prioritise among these, while integrating broader conservation issues and ensuring stakeholder involvement. A new Marine Resources Act entered into force in Norway in 2009. By integrating conservation and sustainable use as basic principles, the law represents a paradigm shift in the management of Norwegian fisheries. The law indicates which concerns should be addressed, but neither how nor how often evaluations should take place. That is for management to decide. A management principle in the Marine Resources Act confers on the Ministry an obligation to evaluate whether continued fishing at the present scale is justifiable, or whether improved management is required to ensure sustainability. A Stock table, and a table of "Catches of data-poor species" constitute a comprehensive system for monitoring the management principle. Along with a Fisheries table, these tables establish a framework for developing an ecosystem-based fisheries management by providing a basis and tools for prioritising the needs of new and/or revised management measures.