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Fisheries development, management, research and operations (including marketing) need to be conducted, taking account of the nature and characteristics of the ecosystems in which they operate in order to minimize negative impacts. Many of the principles and conceptual objectives have already been proposed and agreed upon, particularly the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, constituting a solid institutional foundation for the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF). The challenge is to progress towards operational objectives and guidelines for implementation. This technical paper, prepared as a basis for the development of the FAO EAF guidelines, presents a thorough review of the field.

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