Welcome to IEEP's Project Mini-Site for INDECO - Development of Indicators of Environmental Performance of the Common Fisheries Policy

Start date - 1 December 2004;
Duration of project - 24 months
Project Coordinator: Indrani Lutchman, IEEP
IEEP European Commission Project Scientific Officer: Jacques Fuchs, Directorate General Fish

Specific Targeted Research Project of the Sixth Research Framework Programme of the EU on 'Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems', under 'Sustainable Management of Europe's Natural Resources'
Contract no.: 513754

The Problem

EU fish stocks have been declining for years. So far, fishery policies have not managed to halt the drop and have not provided enough environmental protection from the associated damage to marine ecosystems. The EUís Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) now provides for the progressive implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. This requires an understanding of the relationships between fishing activities and ecosystems from which indicators can be developed. Well-designed indicators are a recognised means to help assess progress towards policy objectives, as well as providing a basis for adjusting policies and communicating with stakeholders.

Figure 1: Commercial fish stocks outside safe biological limits in the North East Atlantic and Baltic Sea in 2002. Source: ICES, FAO and GFCM, SAC Report 2002 Compiled by ETC Water, in EEA Indicator Factsheet (2004).

The Response

INDECO seeks to ensure a coherent approach to the development of indicators at EU level, in support of environmental integration within the CFP and internationally. It achieves this by:

  • Synthesising existing research and analysis from national, EU and international sources;
  • Using operational models establishing the relationship between fishing activities and changes in the marine environment to underpin some of the ecological indicators;
  • Identifying data gaps and ways of addressing them; and
  • Seeking ways of ensuring that agreed indicators are subsequently used in the policy process.

Bird populations may fall with a decline in fish stocks, or may benefit from discarding. One objective of INDECO is to identify quantitative indicators for the impact of fishing on the ecosystem.

Contribution to policy development

The development of environmental indicators will assist in monitoring EU progress towards integrating environmental protection into fishery management policies set out in COM(2001)162, COM(2001)143, COM(2002)186 and the Council report on environmental integration, submitted to the Gˆteborg Summit, June 2001. INDECO brings together both scientific and EU policy expertise so as to ensure a scientifically robust contribution that is of maximum relevance to EU policy-makers and other end-users.