Commercially, the most important types of fisheries in the Wadden Sea are blue mussel and shrimp fisheries.  Because these fisheries normally operate within 12 nautical miles of the coast, they are regulated at the national level. Already in 1991, common trilateral policy objectives for fisheries were adopted at the Esbjerg Governmental Wadden Sea Conference, and are part of the Wadden Sea Plan. The objectives include the obligation to reduce the impacts on the bottom flora and fauna and to reserve food for birds.

With the establishment of Natura 2000 areas in the Wadden Sea it has become necessary to review the current national and trilateral fisheries policies.  In order to make a consistent implementation of the Natura 2000 objectives possible, the 2010 Governmental Wadden Sea Conference decided that Wadden Sea wide principles for the further development of sustainable fisheries should be developed in close cooperation with the fisheries sector and green NGOs.

In 2014 at the 12th Wadden Sea Conference a  set of  principles for sustainable fisheries was adopted on the basis of which a dialogue with stakeholders will be held with the aim of implementing the principles.