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Fisheries & Marine protection and restoration

The fishing sector is very diverse as it ranges from small-scale vessels (under 12 meters) to large-scale industrial fishing vessels (over 24 meters). Their fishing techniques vary greatly, as well as their possible interactions with marine ecosystems. Industrial bottom trawlers notably face criticism on account of their potential ecological impact. Common reported effects on marine wildlife include the overexploitation of fished species, the destruction of the seabed, the accidental catches of sensitive and protected species, as well as the overall high carbon footprint and CO2 emissions.

The rise in environmental consciousness in recent years has resulted in calls for greater protection of the marine environment and the re-modelling of the fishing sector in a way that better preserves and respects marine resources. 

The “marine protection and restoration” sector is considered here in the broad sense, including both the protection of species and ecosystems as well as area-based initiatives. This fiche sets out the different interactions to be considered between the fishing sector and the marine protection and restoration sector, by detailing how this activity can affect marine wildlife, how its impacts can be avoided or reduced, and what possible synergistic relationships can be fostered between the two sectors. 

Related challenges

Related enablers


DISCLAIMER: This page is based on the previous existing section “MSP Sectors and Conflicts” presented on the European MSP Platform, and where you can find the related fiche here.

Other references:


[6] Jones, J.S.P., Lieberknecht, L.M., Qiu. W., (2016). Marine spatial planning in reality: Introduction to case studies and discussion of findings. Marine Policy, 71, pp 256-264. Available at: 

[7] Grieve, C., (2009). Environmental and Social Criteria for Allocating Access to Fisheries Resources. Available at:

[8] Coomber, F.G., D’Incà, M., Rosso, M., Tepsich, P., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., and Moulins, A., (2016). Description of the vessel traffic within the north Pelagos Sanctuary: inputs for marine spatial planning and management implications within an existing international Marine Protected Area. Marine Policy 69, pp.102-113.

[9] Blau, J. and Green, L., (2015). Assessing the impact of a new approach to ocean management: Evidence to date from give oceans plans. Marine Policy 56, pp. 1-8

[10] Dehens, L. A. & Fanning, L.M., (2018). What counts in making marine protected areas (MPAs) count? The role of legitimacy in MPA success in Canada. Ecological Indicators 86, pp. 45-57.

[11] EU marGnet Project.

[13]Nguyen, L & Brouwer, R (2022). Fishing for Litter: Creating an Economic Market for Marine Plastics in a Sustainable Fisheries Model. Front. Mar. Sci., Sec. Marine Pollution, Vol. 9.

[14] European Parliament resolution on the impact on fisheries of marine litter (2019/2160(INI)). Available at

[15] Dahlgren, C. & Tewfik, A. (2015). Benefits of No-take Zones for Belize and the Wider Caribbean Region. Proceedings of the 67th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute November 3 - 7, 2014 Christ Church, Barbados, pp. 264-271.

[16] DISPLACE project. Available at:

[17]Nguyen, L & Brouwer, R (2022). Fishing for Litter: Creating an Economic Market for Marine Plastics in a Sustainable Fisheries Model. Front. Mar. Sci., Sec. Marine Pollution, Vol. 9.

Existing co-existence and multi-use initiatives