The European Union has declared its intention to move in the direction of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. Their experience with the management of multi-species, mixed fisheries (MSMF) is one area where insight can be gained about what this may mean in practice. The present paper draws on extensive discussions with stakeholders and the observation of a number of fisheries management related meetings to outline the main challenges that MSMF management has presented. It concludes that an ecosystem approach will lead to more situations where it will be difficult to carry out direct technical regulation, to assign individual property rights or even to effectively divide the resources into distinct units. Hence, common property institutions will become more, rather than less, relevant as management approaches in developed country fisheries evolve.
Natures Sciences Societes, 2012, Vol 20, Issue 1, p. 66-74