The ecosystem approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.
The ecosystem approach places human needs at the centre of biodiversity management. It aims to manage the ecosystem, based on the multiple functions that ecosystems perform and the multiple uses that are made of these functions. The ecosystem approach does not aim for short-term economic gains, but aims to optimize the use of an ecosystem without damaging it. (Source: IUCN).
The ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAF) is a modern, holistic approach that has as its objective the sustainable use of the whole ecosystem, not just the species that are the target of fishers and fishing industries. The ecosystem approach to fisheries is built on the principle that healthy and resilient ecosystems are crucial for maintaining the sustainability of marine fisheries.