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Oceans and fisheries

Technical measures

Technical measures are a broad set of rules that govern how, where and when fishers may fish. They are established for all European sea basins, but they differ considerably from one basin to another, in accordance with the regional conditions.


Technical measures may include

  • minimum landing sizes and minimum conservation sizes
  • specifications for design and use of gears
  • minimum mesh sizes for nets
  • requirement of selective gears to reduce unwanted catches
  • closed areas and seasons
  • limitations on by-catches (catches of unwanted or non-target species)
  • measures to minimize the impact of fishing on the marine ecosystems and environment

Technical measures regulation

The technical measures regulation entered into force in 2019. Its goal is to contribute to the objectives of the CFP and to achieve good environmental status, as set out in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the relevant provisions of the Birds and Habitats Directives. The regulation helps to increase the fishing yield, while reducing impacts on marine ecosystems, especially through increased selectivity.

EU countries with a fisheries interest in a given sea basin can agree on regional technical measures, adapted to the specific regional circumstances. Such measures can then be adopted as EU secondary legislation, if confirmed by scientists to be consistent with the objectives of the common fisheries policy.

The technical measures regulation aims to de-centralise the management of technical features to the regional level. It is therefore important to measure progress regularly. The regulation states that the Commission should carry out such assessments every 3 years.