Management reform of Swedish fisheries

Sweden is a vocal and influential country when it comes to sustainable fishing practices within Europe, and has a rich fishing history. Swedish fishermen are already developing innovative selectivity measures to help meet the challenges of a changing industry, and comply with the phasing in of the EU-wide Discard Ban (or Landing Obligation).

Swedish fishing vessel

Our approach

Going beyond gear innovation, the Swedish fishing industry wanted to develop a new management framework for their demersal fisheries that would go further in helping them reduce discards and meet the Landing Obligation by 2019. Over the past five years, we have worked with four fishermen-led groups, including our key partner the Swedish Fishermen's Producer Organisation, to develop and implement a new management system.

On the water since January 2017, and the result of extensive collaborative working and co-management between fishing bodies and the Swedish Water and Marine Agency (SWaM), the new system is based on individual, transferable quotas. This allows fishermen to cover any over-quota catch by swapping or trading quota using a new, digital tool: FishRight. It also gives fishermen a secure share of quota within the fishery: allowing them to plan ahead and fish when weather or market conditions are best.

Crucially, transfers of quota within the new system are limited on a yearly basis – preventing fishing opportunities from consolidating into the hands of a few businesses. And a pool of quota is ring-fenced and protected for small-scale, coastal fishers – ensuring they don’t have to compete with larger vessels, and protecting vital jobs in local communities.

Our goals

// Continue to support Swedish fishermen and SWaM in reinforcing the excellent foundations of co-management laid over the past few years.

// See Sweden recognised across Europe as a case study for successfully implementing the Landing Obligation.

// See similar rights-based approaches – custom-designed to work for large- and small-scale communities – implemented in other European Member States seeking to reduce discards and improve social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Sweden fish in net