Key points discussed at the Mini-Symposium on Optimization of Sustainable Fisheries in Copenhagen


European Fishmeal is partner in the MSE project and co-hosted a scientific mini-symposium on “Optimizing Sustainable Fishing on Rebuilt Fish Stocks” on 23 November 2022.

The symposium programme is available here. The presentations given can be found here and a short resume of the event is given here.

Fish stocks in the North Atlantic are rebuilding and they compete for food and predate on each other and it is time to revisit what the optimal fishing pressure is. The technical basis is the so-called FMSY reference points and ways of including fish interactions (density dependence) in the current single species approach to management are considered. The so-called Surplus Production Models (SPM) is a focus.

At the Symposium the project leader Dr. Henrik Sparholt presented the main conclusions from the MSE-project:

  1. Currently used Fmsy values are underestimated due to missing 3 out of 4 density dependent factors – this led to underfishing.
  2. Solution: Use another type of models (Surplus Production Models) for calculating Fmsy.


He further presented some urgently needed changes to fisheries management:

  • Scientific institutions are ”super-tankers” – changing current approaches takes about 10 years – you have to reach out to 4000 scientists.
  • Can society or science afford waiting?
  • One solution is to use the new Fmsy values now in combination with the standard hockey-stick Harvest Control Rule.
  • …and use e.g. the new MSE approach to fine-tune the new Fmsy values and to evaluate sophisticated HCRs over the coming 10 years.
  • The real Fmsy (including all DD) are  50% higher than currently used values.
  • With the current Fmsy values we are loosing at least 2-3 million t in foregone catch per year!

The symposium was well attended by scientists, NGOs, fisheries representatives and other interested parties.

A report from the Symposium will be available in December.