SMEEF (Strategy for Managing the Environmental Effects of Fishing)
Using resources wisely is a delicate balancing act. It means meeting today's needs without compromising those of tomorrow. We want to leave future generations with at least as many options for using marine resources as we ourselves enjoy.
The catches in most of our major fisheries are set close to the maximum sustainable level. But we know it is not enough to just manage catches sustainably. We must also consider the effects fishing has on the wider environment - fish and other creatures caught or killed during fishing, habitat damage, and the flow-on effects of all these things on marine ecosystems.
To manage fishing's "footprint" on other species, and on our marine habitats and ecosystems, we must set limits around what level of effect is acceptable, and what is not.
In 2005, the Ministry of Fisheries set out a Strategy for Managing the Environmental Effects of Fishing (SMEEF), which describes how such limits will be set.
Three key factors will be considered when setting environmental limits:
- weighing up whether effects on species or habitats are sustainable in the long-term
- what society feels is the right balance between use and protection
- what the needs of future generations might be.