The interrelationships between fishing and marine and freshwater ecosystems are complex and often not well understood. This lack of understanding is exacerbated by the sheer complexity of food-chains in these ecosystems. Most concern has been focused on three broad issues:

   1. the issue of unsustainable exploitation of certain fish stocks;

   2. the impacts of fishing activities on non-target species, particularly marine mammals, seabirds and benthic (bottom living) organisms; and

   3. the effect of emissions from aquaculture on marine and freshwater ecosystems.

The interrelationships are complicated by the fact that fishing activities both have an impact on and are impacted by the environment.

This chapter reviews the nature and relative importance of the impacts of fishing and aquaculture on marine and freshwater ecosystems. Those which are of greatest concern are then examined in greater detail, with an assessment of environmental impacts and underlying driving forces. The chapter is concluded with an evaluation of the effectiveness of existing fishing policies.

Box 24A provides definitions of fishing statistics used in this chapter and summarises the availability and quality of fishing data.

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24.1 - Introduction
24.2 - An Overview of Fisheries Resources in Europe

24.2.1 - Marine provinces
24.2.2 - Inland water provinces

24.3 - Environmental Impacts of Fishing

24.3.1 - Impacts associated with harvesting of fish at sea
24.3.2 - Impacts on non-target species at sea
24.3.3 - Impacts of inland fisheries - Commercial fisheries - Recreational fisheries

24.4 - Environmental Impacts of Aquaculture
24.5 - Fisheries Policy
24.6 - Conclusions




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