This document is an abridged version of the FAO Fisheries Technical Guidelines No. 4, Suppl. 2, entitled Fisheries management. 2. The ecosystem approach to fisheries. It is intended to provide a more concise and less technical outline of the purpose and meaning of the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) and guidance as to how to implement the approach. Although the principles of an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) are not new, there is very little practical experience in their implementation. Translating high-level policy goals on EAF into operational objectives and actions is now the key challenge to sustainable fisheries.This booklet provides an overview of EAF, for marine capture fisheries, and its benefits. It considers what is required to implement EAF and the range of management measures available. It provides an overview of the management process, outlines any outstanding research requirements, and lists the main threats to the implementation of EAF.