Myfish symposium-AR

Background, aims and structure



Targets and limits for long term fisheries management is at the core of fisheries research.  Guidelines for setting targets and limits have varied from the focus on defining targets to obtain the largest sustainable yield formalised in the 1950s, to focusing on defining limits to avoid stock collapse in the 1980’s and 1990s. Recent research has centred on the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management as well as on defining targets to obtain the largest yield while also ensuring sustainability in a changing ecosystem and socioeconomic context.

The original derivation of MSY as a target was based on assumptions of constancy in vital rates such as growth, maturation, natural mortality and stock-recruitment relationships. Fisheries were examined individually, ignoring any interaction in the fishing process and maximising the weight or value of landings. Over time, it became clear that these assumptions are rarely fulfilled and that maximising landings in tonnes or even value is unlikely to ensure the maximum value of fisheries to industry or society in general. This value will be affected not only by variation and trend in the underlying biological processes but also by conditions such as the value of landings, the operational costs of fisheries, the demand for labour and conditions in the surrounding society. This broader definition of what we seek to maximise and sustain has forced fisheries scientists to consider how advice on the setting of targets for ecosystems rather than single species should be formulated, how conflicts between different objectives are identified, illustrated and communicated, how the variability in the systems affects results and how such complicated information is received and implemented in management.


The symposium will provide an opportunity to discuss and review the latest progress on how targets for fisheries management are set, what aspects of yield (such as landings or economic yield) can feasibly be maximized under management, how limits to ecosystem, economic and social sustainability should be defined, the identification of conflicting objectives and trade-offs and suggestions for decision making, the role of targets and limits in a changing world, economically and socially feasible management tools and implementation of fisheries targets and limits in practice. By targeting a global international audience, the symposium will promote the exchange of knowledge on these topics both within ICES and between ICES and other international organizations such as FAO and PICES.


We seek presentations and posters which focus on the role of targets and limits for long term fisheries management in an ecosystem, economic and social context, the identification and effect of trade-offs in management and the necessity to account for the variable ecosystem, economic and social settings of fisheries in the decision making process. We encourage contributions from all geographic areas to enable discussions at a global scale of challenges and questions raised when setting targets and limits for long term fisheries management.

The symposium is organized as a combination of interactive sessions, plenary key note talks and dedicated theme sessions on each of the themes

  • Science and management in a societal setting
  • Identifying ecosystem, economic and social trade-offs and conflicting objectives
  • Approaches to inform on trade-offs and conflicting objectives
  • Ecosystem, economic and social targets and limits in a variable world
  • Practical implementation of ecosystem, economic and social targets and limits using efficient and feasible management tools

The sessions will include invited and contributed presentations of a format reflecting the specific session balance between presentations and interactive participation. Keynote speakers will give talks on the major themes. Keynote talks will be 30 minutes with 10 minutes for questions; all other talks will be 15 minutes with 5 minutes for questions.

Authors will be limited to one oral presentation and one poster as senior author. Presentations must be given by the lead author. Poster sessions will be introduced with a brief description of each poster within the appropriate theme and topic session. The symposium will be conducted in English.


Registration;  Abstract submission;  Practical informationPrint Symposium Brochure


flagsThe research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 /2007-2013) under grant agreement no 289257. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which maybe made of the information contained therein.