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New article produced by BONUS GOHERR discusses ways to increase the contribution of Baltic herring to food security

How to increase the use of forage fish, such as Baltic herring, for human consumption - within the limits of sustainability? A new publication suggests a paradigm shift in fisheries governance - to address catch use.

Food security and safety in fisheries governance – A case study on Baltic herring

Mia Pihlajamäki, Simo Sarkki, and Päivi Haapasaari

Marine Policy 2018, Vol. 97: 211-219


One of the objectives of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is to increase the contribution of fisheries to fish food availability and self-sufficiency. Still, the use of catch is often a secondary concern in fisheries governance and management – or not a concern at all – while the focus is on harvesting. This paper examines how the use of forage fish for human consumption can be increased within the limits of sustainability, using Baltic herring as a case study. Baltic herring contains high levels of dioxins and the human consumption is very low: the catches are mostly used for industrial purposes. The paper uses a participatory backcasting exercise to define a desirable future vision for the use of Baltic herring catch and to develop pathways of actor-specific governance actions to increase the use of the fish as a safe-to-eat food. The results reveal that increasing the contribution of forage fish, such as Baltic herring, to food security entails a paradigm shift in fisheries governance that involves 1) inclusion of well-defined objectives for catch use in the EU CFP and the related regional multiannual plans, 2) broadening the scope of the MSY-driven governance and management to one that addresses catch use, and 3) proactive catch use governance.

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