Fish communities form a major element of marine biodiversity and are a key feature in marine foodwebs. Fisheries can thus have a major impact on marine biodiversity.
The last OSPAR Quality Status Report (QSR 2010) highlighted, among other issues, that depletion of key predator and prey species and disruption of the marine foodweb were worrying ecosystem effects of fishing. The current indicators look at changes in population abundance of sensitive species, size composition, species composition, and the average trophic level of predators.
The current assessments indicate that fisheries management is beginning to have a positive impact on fish communities but show different responses at smaller geographic scales. The assessments indicate that deterioration has been halted and, in some areas, that fish communities are showing signs of recovery.
Trends in the proportion of large fish in the demersal fish community suggest recovery may continue in most of the areas assessed as long as current pressures do not increase.
OSPAR recognises the competence of national, international and European Union authorities to regulate fisheries and informs these fisheries authorities on any issue of concern it may have with respect to fisheries and the ecosystem.
OSPAR’s strategic objective with respect to biodiversity and ecosystems is to halt and prevent by 2020 further loss of biodiversity in the OSPAR Maritime Area, to protect and conserve ecosystems and to restore, where practicable, marine areas which have been adversely affected.
D1: Biological Diversity