Using the Celtic Sea and the North Sea as case studies, the fleet-based approach is shown to be the pathway to implement an effective ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) in European seas. First, a diagnostic on the health of each ecosystem is proposed based on the reconstruction of long time-series of catch, the analysis of mean indicators or stocks trajectories derived from ICES stock assessment results, and the analysis of ecosystem indicators. Then, a fleet-based synthesis is presented using indicators of both the ecological impact and the economic performances of the major fleets operating within each ecosystem. In particular, assessment diagrams show whether each fleet segment, on average, sustainably exploits the stocks. Although results are preliminary due to the poor quality of available data, the analysis shows that simple indicators can be estimated and clearly highlight contrasts between fleet segments. Such an approach contributes to the evolution from a stock-based to a fleet-based management, which reflects the ecological, economical and social pillars of the sustainable development of fisheries.
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