Introduction to fisheries management advantages, difficulties and mechanisms


J-P. Troadec
Fishery Policy and Planning Division
Fishery Development Planning Service

Reprinted 1992

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ISBN 92-5-101238-5

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Preparation of this document

The extension of national jurisdiction gives coastal states the possibility of gradually eliminating the economic waste and overfishing that inevitably occurs when access to resources is uncontrolled. In the future, more attention should be paid to identifying and analysing national contexts and to executing development plans more in keeping with specific national interests.

To assist administrators and those responsible for the development of national fisheries, the FAO Fishery Policy and Planning Division has decided to prepare a series of technical papers on Fisheries Management Methods.

The present document reviews and expands in further detail a paper presented at the Workshop on the management of national fishery development plans organized by the Sea Fish Industry Authority at Hull (Great Britain) in July 1981.


I wish to express thanks particularly to my colleagues Dr F. Christy and Dr C. Newton for the fruitful discussions we have had on the first version of this document and their contributions to the final preparation of the manuscript. They will recognize a number of their remarks in these pages, as well as some of the ideas we explored together. I should also like to express thanks to Drs J. Caddy, J. Carroz, S. Garcia, J.A. Gulland, A. Lindquist, C. Nédélec, T. Panayotou, F. Poinsard and G. Sharp for their very useful comments.

New address of the author

J.-P. Troadec
Directeur de l'Institut scientifique et technique
des pêches maritimes
B.P. 1049
44037 Nantes (France)

Distribution:For bibliographic purposes this document should be cited as follows:
FAO Fisheries Department
Regional Fisheries Officers
Regional Projects
Selector SM
Troadec, J-P., Introduction to fisheries 1983 management: advantages, difficulties and mechanisms. FAO Fish.Tech.Pap., (224) : 57 p.
The introduction is a reminder that the extension of national jurisdiction over world fisheries has three major consequences: the immediate transfer of the production of deep sea fleets to control by coastal states, the possibility of reducing economic waste and overfishing which are the inevitable results if competition for resources is not regulated, and a shift of approach to pay more attention to specific local conditions and perspectives, and national fisheries development methods in the past.
The first section reviews the consequences, at the biological, economic and social levels, resulting from two fundamental aspects of fishery resources:
  (a) because of their natural and biological character their output is limited: the maximum catch level can only be attained and maintained if the total number and composition (size and species) of catches are kept within certain limits; and
 (b)their mobility makes their exploitation by the private sector difficult, if not impossible; consequently, without the intervention of a central authority and the emergence of a consensus, the fishermen are drawn into fierce competition which is ultimately harmful to the profitability of the exploitation as a whole.
It shows that the different benefits (economic, social, nutritional, recreational, etc.) which fishery can produce are not usually compatible since they correspond to different levels of fishing. For good fisheries management it is essential therefore, that the objectives sought and their order of priority be clearly defined.
The second section analyses the main methods that can be contemplated to maintain fishing at the level corresponding to the objective selected: limitation of catches, limitation of fishing effort or, better, means of capture, distribution of the stock itself among the fishermen, and taxation. Their respective advantages can be compared by reference to three basic criteria: conservation of the resource at a high level of production; reduction of the resulting superfluous costs so as to maximize net profits, and easing the application of schemes by involving fishermen in the rationalization of their exploitation.
The final section deals with the question of the distribution among fishermen of the wealth derived from the fishery. The importance of regular access to fisheries, and hence to sharing the profits, stems directly from the need to control the exploitation level. Aspects of this question are analysed successively at the national, and then the international (shared stocks) level. The segregation of fishing activities by exclusive economic zones, as well as a different distribution of the activities of fleets within areas under national jurisdiction, changes the terms of their competition and expands their scope; the keenness and character of such competition depends on the various stock distribution, mixture and migration patterns.
The paper concludes that under the old system of open competition it was very difficult for countries to go beyond mere conservation of resources. In fact, at least in the international fisheries, the countries' catch capacity was the chief instrument by which they could hope to preserve their rights over the resource. The influence of international fisheries on management practices can explain why the principles of free access and non-inter-vention of state authorities to control access to resources should have prevailed so frequently in the management of national fisheries. The extension of national jurisdiction now enables countries to consider the generalization of new fisheries development and management strategies and methods.

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2.1 Basic Concepts

2.1.1 Biological aspects

2.1.2 Economic aspects

2.1.3 Social aspects

2.2 More Complex Situations

2.2.1 Sequential fisheries

2.2.2 Multispecies fisheries

2.3 Application of These Concepts and Examples of Conflicts Between Various Possible Development and Management Objectives

2.3.1 Increase of fishing effort

2.3.2 The consequences of innovations, subsidies and changes in fishing costs and the value of yields

2.4 Clarification of Objectives

2.5 Development and Management


3.1 Selectivity of the Fishery

3.1.1 Age and size of catches

3.1.2 Species

3.2 Regulations of the Fishing Rate

3.2.1 Catch quotas

3.2.2 Regulation of fishing effort and control of catch capacities

3.2.3 Allocation of the resource (biomass)

3.2.4 Economic mechanisms for the control of fishing


4.1 National Fisheries

4.1.1 Resource distribution within the same fishery

4.1.2 Competition amongst different fleets for the same stocks

4.2 The Particular Case of Shared Stocks

4.2.1 Base data which may be useful in drawing up of concerted schemes for exploitation and management of shared stocks

4.2.2 Patterns of distribution and migration, and management of shared stocks

4.2.3 Fisheries management and regional cooperation



APPENDIX Stages in Fishery Management and Requirements in the Field of Regional Cooperation