Fisheries Research

Fish - food and livelihood for the growing world population, industrial sector and a finite resource. Within a few decades, industrial fishing has spread from the classic fishing areas in the northern hemisphere to all seas. Many stocks of edible fish are considered overfished and have collapsed. However, the situation is not hopeless. Various countries have now shown that fish stocks can indeed be rebuilt through sustainable fisheries management. Researchers at GEOMAR are therefore looking at fish as a resource from different perspectives. Their common goal is to find new solutions for environmentally sound fisheries management.

What is overfishing?



Good fish - Which fish can you still eat with a clear conscience?

In Northern Europe alone, about 200 fish stocks are commercially exploited, but only a few of them meet the internationally binding criteria for sustainable fishing. GEOMAR has joined forces with the German consumer organizations and some NGOs to jointly publish an annual list of those marine fish that consumers can still eat with a reasonably good conscience.

Here, researchers from GEOMAR take over the scientific assessment of sustainable stock size and sustainable fishing pressure and verify compliance with these criteria. They are guided by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and its implementation in the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. According to this, fish stocks must be larger than a certain minimum size that can produce the maximum sustainable yield. In addition, fishing pressure on a stock must not exceed that which can produce maximum sustainable yield in the long term. Additional criteria, such as low-impact and low-bycatch fishing methods, are assessed by the other partners.

The fish and marine animals on the joint "Good Fish" list meet these criteria, in some cases with conditions that determine whether they remain on the list in the future. This is also intended to improve fisheries management. The list explicitly does not claim to be complete.

Extract from the list "good fish". Plaice, flounder and dab are flatfish that live mainly on the seabed. The stocks in the Baltic Sea are doing well and are fished sustainably if caught with traps and pots.


News about Fisheries Research

Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis)

Overfishing and destruction of the oceans: Only "Good Fish" belongs on the table

Research institutes, environmental associations and consumer organisations publish joint list for conscious fish purchasing


Ecosystem-based fisheries management restores western Baltic fish stocks

First western Baltic Sea ecosystem model shows that ecosystem-based fisheries management increases catches of cod and herring as well as food web resilience to ocean warming

Cod larve. Photo: T. Reusch, GEOMAR.

No offspring for cod and herring

Scientists alerted: Fish stocks in the western Baltic Sea threatened by collapse

A cod. Photo: Nikolas Linke/GEOMAR

Populations of popular food fish are declining globally

New studies also show opportunities for fisheries management through Corona

A young cod. Photo: Fredrik Jutfelt/NTNU

Ocean acidification harms cod larvae more than previously thought

New studies on cod larvae show severe organ damages caused by high CO2 concentrations