Input versus output controls as instruments for fisheries management with a focus on Mediterranean fisheries

Article 4 of EU Regulation 1380/2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) define ‘technical measure’ as “a measure that regulates the composition of catches by species and size and the impacts on components of the ecosystems resulting from fishing activities by establishing conditions for the use and structure of fishing gear and restrictions on access to fishing areas.” Thus, these are a set of rules that govern where, when and how fishing can take place. Most of the fisheries management systems in place worldwide employ technical measures based on control of inputs and outputs. For Europe, the European Commission is reforming the CFP legislative framework and has updated and amended the rules for technical measures (EU Regulation 2019/1241). This is particularly important for management systems in the European parts of the Mediterranean, where input measures play a major role, in contrast to management systems in the North East Atlantic, which uses mainly output measures (catch quota).

We discuss here the main advantages and disadvantages of these instruments with a particular focus on the European part of the Mediterranean Sea, our main aim being to foster a debate on the best measures for fisheries management.