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4.3 Management measures

Management measures are the specific elements of fisheries control which are embodied in regulations and which become a focus for surveillance activities. Costeffectiveness needs to be considered for each management measure. The fisheries management plan, operational strategy and the management measures chosen for MCS must be included in the fisheries legislation. This will provide the base for implementation of the fisheries management plan.

One measure to be addressed is the use of mesh size for conservation purposes. It should be noted that this requirement can only be enforced in two methods; inspection prior to going to sea, with the provision that no other gear can be carried on board for that trip; or, inspection at sea which can only provide a snap shot of the fishing operations while the officer is onboard the vessel. The fisher may wish to prosecute a second fishery where a different mesh size is authorized and the earlier noted requirement then becomes an inconvenience. In the case of towed nets, if the fisher is permitted to use strengthening ropes to keep nets together when full of fish, and top and bottom chafers to protect the nets, and then trawls through weeds on the way to the fishing grounds, can small fish really escape from the net? This is further complicated by the fact that many nets are constructed with diamond mesh which has a tendency to close when pressure is applied during towing through the water. Some countries are now requiring square mesh design which stays open during trawling, except under extreme pressure. One can then question the advantages of using mesh size as a conservation tool in the case of towed gear, noting the difficulty of ensuring that it works properly.

The case for gill nets and entangling nets is different and the mesh size can be a significant conservation factor, but in these fisheries there will be little need to carry more than one type, or size of net, to sea; consequently, it will not inconvenience the fisher significantly to have the vessel inspected prior to fishing and ensure only one size net goes to sea for the trip.

The method for measuring a net should be standard, at least by country, and acceptable to the courts where fisheries cases go to court. Assistance of the judiciary to establish these standards would be advisable. Common standards include:

  1. measurement with a standard, graduated wedge or an implement with a standard width,
  2. measurement of the net when wet as it would be while fishing,
  3. measurement of the mesh stretched between opposite corners,
  4. measurement of several (a minimum should be set) adjacent meshes and averaging the result,
  5. measurement in the middle of the net away from any strengthening ropes.

A second management measure is the use of chafers and strengthening ropes. Chafers are attachments to the bottom and top of towed fishing gear to prolong the life of the expensive nets by reducing wear and tear from rubbing on the seabed. These can be made of netting, for top side chafers, or leather strips, for bottom chafers. These attachments are common and necessary fixtures to the gear, but a supplementary result is that they block the mesh and therefore retain all fish caught in the net. It has been found that the method of attachment of this gear does have an impact on the possibility of fish escaping the net. The bottom chafers are usually heavy twine or pieces of leather, especially for bottom trawls where the net is dragging on the seabed. These should only be attached at the tail of the net (the cod end). Topside chafers come in many different shapes and sizes, the main criteria normally established for this attachment being that it is attached only to the cod end of the net and in such a manner that it does not overlap the mesh to restrict the normal openings of the mesh in the cod end. Examples of two chafers are seen in the following figures.

Strengthening ropes are necessary attachments to hold the net together and prevent it from ripping open when it is hauled on deck with a full load of fish. These are ropes which should be attached along the main axis of the net and where attached across the net must be attached in a manner as to ensure they do not reduce the size of the meshes in the net. The following examples illustrates this point.

Strengthening ropes and chafers can only be checked during inspections in port and at sea. On larger vessels operating for days at sea, these can be re-laced to the net at sea and therefore become a management measure which is difficult to control without at-sea inspections or continual monitoring during the fishing operations. In the case of smaller vessels working inshore, port inspection would normally be sufficient as it is impractical to make changes during such a short trip.

Area closures are a management tool recommended to protect spawning areas during known seasons. This tool is also used to separate types of fishing gear whereby one type of gear is permitted, such as set gear, and another is prohibited, such as mobile towed gears. One lesson from the experience of area closures is that closures based on depth of water are unenforceable. More effective is the latitude and longitude designation of the area for such controls. This tool does not require at-sea boardings and inspections unless there is a prohibition of different types of stationary gear, such as traps and nets. The surveillance of area closures can be accomplished by properly equipped aircraft which have photographic and integrated navigational equipment and night flying and surveillance capability. This can minimize the necessity for sea patrols, but the presence of a patrol vessel is still the best deterrent. It has been noted that air patrols, although expensive, cover a vast area and are more cost effective in gaining necessary fisheries management and MCS information than sea patrols.

Some countries use windows as a tool to control fishing in their zone. In this case, areas for authorized fishing are established by latitude and longitude and all other areas are closed to all fishing. These windows can be set for different gears and patrolled by aircraft. Windows or area closures can be used effectively to reduce gear conflicts, especially between offshore commercial and artisanal fishers. On some occasions, countries have set area and time closures to permit different gear types to use the same area, but at different times. Another advantage of windows as a surveillance tool is that sea patrols can then be concentrated on these areas for at-sea inspection for compliance with regulations which are not enforceable by any other means. The disadvantage of windows, is the impact this management strategy may have on the fishers and their reduced ability to chase the fish over their migratory paths. Windows can restrict fishing to the point that fishing opportunities are not viable. It is best to ensure that such a strategy does not overly impede the chance for fishers to access the resource. Stocks with low migratory patterns could be considered for this management measure.

There are various types of catch or quota controls used by governments today. These can be daily, seasonal or trip catches, zonal quotas, vessel quotas and annual quotas. In each case, there is a requirement to be able to verify, on a timely basis, the actual catches of fish by each vessel, species and possibly by area. This becomes a very complex administrative programme which is expensive in terms of finances and human resources. The monitoring and at-sea inspection and enforcement requirements to implement such a system are significant in terms of communication costs to support the necessary processing and analysis of data and verification of data quality. It is commonly accepted that control of the removal of resources from the sea is the most desirable conservation measure. Whether this is done through controls which count each fish or through less complex and less expensive methods, such as control of fishing effort, is a point which can significantly impact on the costeffectiveness of fisheries management and MCS operations. It is accepted that where estimates of stock abundance are accurate, then catch controls would maximize the benefits to the fishers by permitting them the maximum removals, but this is an exercise which, to date, has been found to be very costly.

Trip limits are sometimes used as a measure of fishing control. These limits could include total catches permitted per trip or, more commonly, effort limits. The former requires someone to meet the vessel upon arrival to be present during the weighout of the catch. If a fisheries official is employed to monitor landings for the data system, this strategy would blend in with normal operations. If not, then it would necessitate extra personnel and effort. The disadvantage of trip, or catch, limitations is the temptation to discard all the lesser value, or small fish, prior to landing, thus possibly promoting the dumping of fish. The effort control requires reports of departure and return and a capability to verify these periods through sightings at sea. This is not impossible however, and will be discussed further as a viable, cost effective control mechanism.

A possible alternative to catch and quota controls is effort control. Where stock assessments are not very precise, there can be a measure of fish removals through effort controls by limiting the fishing time of vessels and fishers in certain areas. This can be implemented by assessing the experience of fishing units and then, based on a conservative assessment of the fishing efficiency of each fishing unit, limiting fishing to the time expected to take a certain amount of fish, with an appropriate safety factor for conservation. This can then be cost effectively checked through air surveillance and verified by port inspections prior to, and upon completion of, fishing in the zone, for the large offshore vessels. Coastal patrols and landing checks are usually sufficient for the artisanal fisheries. The at-sea resources then required can be minimized, thus making the system more cost effective. This is a system which can be implemented to establish some control of effort even where the exact resource status is not known, but where catches appear to be consistent in terms of quantity and size of fish. This would be a temporary measure until appropriate data gathering could be established and data analyzed for more accurate stock assessments. There would also be the need to seek the support of the fishers for information on the current fishery and to gain their support for such controls as a temporary measure where the situation may appear stable, but is actually vulnerable, due to the lack of data.

A growing trend in many countries is to use individual transferable quotas (ITQs) as a management tool. This system is employed for those fisheries where there is limited access to the resource, the numbers and identification of each fisher and gear are known, recorded and have a history. The system then provides for an allocation of fish to each fishing enterprise, or fisher. This is often by species and stock area for a specific period of time. The fisher then has the right to plan the fishery of these allocations during the period to maximize economic benefits. The fisher also has the right to transfer, or sell, the allocation, or portion thereof, to another fisher on a temporary basis. This initiative enhances the benefits to the fishers with respect to their cost effective harvesting and processing of the resource to maximize their economic returns.

The complexity of the system and the requirement for an advanced communications and data network to effectively manage this strategy makes it difficult for developing countries. Experience has demonstrated that this strategy is only appropriate for small island States with small fleets and few fishers, fishing for essentially an export market. These prerequisites are necessary for States to be able to implement the appropriate controls to successfully use this management strategy. It is for these reasons that the ITQ strategy is not recommended for developing countries at this stage of its evolution.

The ITQ system does provide an opportunity for success if there are available resources to successfully use new technology. Such an initiative is being attempted by the FFA at the moment and the successful implementation and enforcement of the vessel monitoring system (VMS) could make this an ideal management tool for the future. The key to the success of the ITQ system could be the VMS system if its eventual cost to countries and fishers is low.

Another management tool is the establishment of minimum or maximum fish sizes. The regulation normally specifies that the capture or landing of a fish of a certain size is not permitted. The intent behind the minimal size of fish is to prevent the harvesting of noncommercial sized, juvenile fish of little market value. This is then expected to assist in stock enhancement, maximizing future benefits to the fishers. The prohibition against large fish is usually intended to preserve the brood stock. Unfortunately, neither of these regulations can be enforced without continual monitoring at sea. The prohibition against landing can easily be subverted by culling the fish and dumping the prohibited sizes. Once the fish is caught, it is usually dead. Dumped fish are not normally recorded as catch; thus the estimates of removals from the stocks are therefore undermined. It is suggested that fishers be encouraged to land all their catches, that these be analyzed against their areas of fishing and if areas need to be closed to protect fisheries, then this be done. This implies that the use of fish sizing would not be a legislated management tool, but an indicator for fisheries managers to close an area where small fish, or large brood stock, are being caught. This suggestion might bear further consideration, especially where fishers are fishing in one area where all fish must be retained and also in another where possession of under-sized fish is an infraction.

The prohibition of certain fish sizes, although it may encourage the fishers to shift fishing zones, also encourages dumping and misreporting. The surveillance costs to enforce these regulations are difficult to justify unless there is a physical presence on the vessel at all times, or a high level of spot checks at sea.

Most states implementing a MCS system employ some sort of vessel movement controls. These are usually in the form of report requirements from the offshore foreign vessels and trip intention reports from the larger domestic vessels which are fishing longer than two or three days at sea. The vessel movement reports for the foreign vessels range from zone entry and exit reports, to port entry and exit reports and area changes.

In the case of domestic vessels, the port departure/entry and area change reports provide the basic movement information for MCS purposes.

All movement reports require the vessel identification which includes the vessel name, call sign and the master's name as well as the fish onboard by species and intended activity. In the case of the foreign vessels, the fish onboard and intended activity are important for surveillance and catch monitoring in the zone. If the vessel has already picked up its fishing license at an earlier date, then the MCS authorities need to decide whether an inspection is necessary and if this will be at sea or if the vessel will be ordered to port. This first zone entry report for foreign vessels draws up the information for the vessel and commences the monitoring exercise, which will continue until the vessel has departed the zone and all reports and documentation have been received.

The zone exit report, which is commonly required by the central fisheries control, before departure from the zone, reiterates the vessel identification information, and the time and position of expected departure from the zone. This report is the final opportunity for the Fisheries Administrator to inspect the vessel by intercepting it at sea or ordering it to port. The matter of permitting multiple exits and entries to the zone for fishing purposes is one with which Fisheries Administrators will have to contend. A vessel could have good reason to exit and enter the zone due to medical reasons or such, or it could be for fishing operations outside the zone, transhipping its catch, changing fishing crews and thus avoiding coastal State regulatory requirements. As all the latter reasons impact on the fishing efficiency of the vessel, the coastal State may wish to include in its legislation and fishing agreements, provisions to capture the information required for conservation purposes. If coastal State fisheries officials are aboard the vessel upon departure from the zone, their authority for fisheries surveillance and enforcement may be challenged. It is best in these sensitive situations to decide early whether the vessel will be permitted to depart the zone; if not, the order to “halt” must be given prior to departure from the zone to establish the parameters for “hot pursuit” (Article 111, Convention on Law of the Sea). The zone exit report thus triggers the action for decisions regarding the control of the vessel prior to its departure from the zone.

Vessel sightings reports are collected to update the fishing vessel monitoring information database. These reports are usually standardized and are completed by all MCS resources and sent to the MCS control centre for collating and updating of current information. The report normally includes vessel identification information, such as the name, vessel marking/call sign, home port and information as to the activity of the vessel. If the vessel is steaming, the report includes its course and speed, if these can be determined. If it is fishing, the course, speed and type of gear it is using are necessary. If photographs can be taken of the fishing activity, including the gear, e.g., lines in the water, etc. these should be taken and labelled with the vessel identification information, position and time of the pictures. The vessel sighting report should also record that photographs were taken, and the numbers on the film. This could all be necessary information for the courts if it were later found that the vessel was not fishing in compliance with its license, or fishing without a license. These are fairly common standard procedures which all MCS personnel should be trained to do on each sighting. Sightings form the key verification of the vessel fishing effort in the zone and can also be used to estimate catches.

Vessel inspections are a key management tool for monitoring and surveillance. Port inspections are considerably easier to conduct than those at sea due to the safety factor of not having to deal with the motion of the sea either on boarding and disembarking, or during the inspection itself. The detail of the vessel inspection, either at-sea or in port, depends on the Fisheries Administrator. Naturally, it will be impossible to see the fishing and processing operations during an in-port inspection, but it should be possible to reconstruct the fishing activities of the vessel since its entry into the fisheries waters of the State. In both cases, one should be able to determine the fishing pattern, catches, and verify the fish onboard the vessel through an inspection. It should also be possible to check the storage and size of the fishing gear, at least that on deck, for compliance with fisheries legislation. The fish onboard the vessel can be determined as precisely as desired if the funds for off loading and reloading are available. This is not normally recommended unless there is sufficient reason to believe there has been a violation. The advantage of at-sea inspections is the monitoring of the handling of the gear, the processing and storage, and verification of the processes for handling waste fish. This can provide information for fisheries management planning and possibly catch and effort information which would be useful in access negotiations with foreign partners. Efficiencies of processing methods and equipment can be monitored and used to validate conversion factors from processed to round weights.

The accuracy of vessel inspections, both in port and at sea, is a crucial component of the surveillance aspect of MCS. It is the initial inspection which verifies the fish onboard the vessel and forms the base data from which final assessment of fish caught in the zone can be determined. The intermediate inspections during the authorized fishing period provide verification of compliance with fisheries legislation and obtain data used in the determination of catch rates and catching efficiency of the fishing unit, processing efficiency and handling of waste product. This is all information which permits analysts to determine with a certain degree of accuracy, the real, round weight removals from the fisheries resources.

The use of fisheries observers is a management strategy that may not be appropriate for all countries. A large measure of the success of observers depends on their professional competence, their personal integrity and, in short, their honesty. An observer programme, to be effective, needs close supervision and appropriate checks and balances to validate the accuracy of the data collected. It can be very difficult to entertain the implementation of an observer programme without a counter-incentive to external financial incentives to turn a blind eye to existing practices. This can be true not only for observers, but all enforcement activities. Some countries have implemented a sharing of proceeds from successful prosecution of offenses. The concern here then becomes the resultant vigilante attitude which sometimes grows with this policy. This can be especially concerning if there is a proclivity for levying administrative penalties without appropriate checks and balances on the validity of the information respecting the alleged violation. Fishing masters may plead guilty to get out of the country and fishing waters, rather than defend themselves in a long drawn out case. The resultant effect eventually leads to reduced fishing in the waters and reduced cash flow from these fishing units.

Fisheries observers, where this management tool can be utilized, can be one of the most cost effective MCS schemes available to the State. There have been several attempts at implementing observer schemes for fisheries MCS. Some of these have achieved less than expected success for several reasons, including the following:

  1. Observers have been employed in a dual role of observer/crew member, thus compromising their role and loyalty to their fisheries duties.

  2. Observers have been paid directly by the vessel master, thus further complicating their conflict of interest position between fisheries and the vessel master.

  3. Observers have been remunerated at such a low level that they are very susceptible to extraneous financial incentives to “turn a blind eye” to certain fisheries practices.

  4. Observers have not been appropriately supervised or trained to execute their duties effectively.

  5. Observers have been given, or perceived themselves as having, enforcement powers, thus complicating their monitoring role and serving to make their reception on board the vessel difficult.

Success in observer programmes seems to have resulted when:

  1. observer services have been funded by the fishing enterprises through the government, or some other coordinating body, such as the private sector;

  2. the observers have been employed solely as observers, that is, monitors for the government (also in gathering much scientific and technical data) and advisors to the vessel masters regarding authorized fisheries activities;

  3. observers have not been granted enforcement powers;

  4. appropriate training and evaluation have been conducted for observers; and

  5. observers have been paid appropriately to negate the incentive of bribes.

  6. observers can effectively watch for compliance with regulations and report possible violations to enforcement authorities, who subsequently endorse.

One of the key management tools available to Fisheries Administrators is the fishing license. This document establishes the legal rights, privileges and obligations of fishers. In the past, countries have set the royalty for fishing on the quota or catches of the vessel. This is more common in the case of international fishing partners than domestic vessels. An unfortunate consequence of this practise is the incentive to misreport catches to avoid license fees. The more successful fee strategy is one based on a fee per vessel with no basis on catches. This could also become a basic nominal fee, but it is suggested that the larger vessels with greater catching capacity should pay higher fees for the license. The need to verify catches for license fees and the incentive to misreport and falsify records is removed by these strategies. The license system, as noted earlier, provides the base data for MCS activities and fisheries management planning. Its use has often been concentrated on international fishers, but noting the extent and impact of national fishers on the resource, it can be a very effective control mechanism for all fishers.

The use of new technology is always an attractive option. There are new satellite capabilities, vessel monitoring systems, new aircraft, radars, infrared equipment and photographic technology and vessels, all which can be attractive to MCS officials. The only caution which can be offered is for Fisheries Administrators to look carefully at the use of the technology in local operating conditions and make the assessment and decision based on these results, with appropriate attention to the cost of procurement and, more important, operations and maintenance costs and the capability to carry these out in the country. New suppliers, if they wish to sell this equipment, should be willing to fund trials in the local environment if they are serious regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of their equipment for the task to be done. It is the supplier who should shoulder the financial responsibility of assessing the appropriateness of the equipment to the situation before attempting to sell this equipment. It remains the responsibility of the Fisheries Administrator to assess the performance. The operations and maintenance training for the equipment should be included in the cost of the equipment and provided by the supplier, if it is accepted.

There has been a growing trend, due to the relatively high cost of MCS operations, to seek “no force” MCS strategies. The intent here is to pick those MCS tools which can exercise sufficient monitoring and surveillance controls over the fisheries resources to meet government needs at the lowest cost possible. The most popular “no force” strategies seem to be the use of a national, or regional register of vessels of good standing. Only vessels on this list would be eligible for licenses to fish in the fisheries waters of concern. Information included in the register includes the identification of the vessel and master and a record of performance and compliance in the fishing sector. In a regional situation, information is shared between parties and decisions can then be made regarding a vessel and master in the entire area. Vessel masters and fishing companies have, over the years of experience in the FFA, been seen to respect this tool, to the point that potential removal of good standing has been enough to ensure compliance or appropriate action in cases of a difference of opinion regarding fisheries MCS activities.

As noted earlier, vessel registration is an area which merits considerable attention in the future for both fisheries control/MCS purposes and also vessel safety requirements which impact on safety-at-sea and protection of the fisheries habitat. At present there are no international conventions or standards for registration of fishing vessels. The potential exists for this to be a credible international management tool for both flag State and port State control mechanisms which could benefit developing countries with information on third party vessels applying for registration in their countries.

Other tools in this category of “no force” mechanisms include the port inspections, flag State responsibility for the actions of its vessels in the zone and observer programmes. Many countries have required a representative from the international fleets which are authorized to fish in their waters to be resident in the State and to be responsible for the actions of the fleet in these waters. This has been found to be effective only if the representative has the appropriate authority over the vessels in the fishing fleet. New tools in this category could include the idea of effort control, vessel monitoring systems and others which would require minimal effort and expenditure from the coastal State for use of its MCS resources.

4.4 Fisheries law

The development of fisheries management plans is, ideally, the result of analyses of biological, social and economic information and appropriate formulation of fisheries management strategies. However, fisheries management needs a legal base from which to implement fisheries operations for the conservative management of fish resources.

4.4.1 National obligations

Convention on Law of the Sea

The legal instruments which form this key legislative base include the fisheries acts and regulations developed pursuant to the planning exercises. These legal documents must, of necessity, for national and international credibility, take into consideration the terms of the Convention on the Law of the Sea, and any bilateral or multilateral treaties or agreements in effect regarding fisheries in the zone of influence and control of a given country.

There are several articles which have great impact on fisheries management in the Convention and these are summarized in Annex I. At the risk of over-simplification, there are several articles under the Convention which attract the attention of each coastal State. There is the definition of the three zones of interest: the territorial seas (most commonly twelve nautical miles from baselines established under various agreed rules around the coast); the contiguous zone (which commonly extends 12 nautical miles beyond the breadth of the territorial seas, e.g., twenty-four miles from the baselines), and the third zone (the exclusive economic zone) which is usually not more than 200 nautical miles seaward of the noted baselines. Some states have extended their territorial seas out to 200 nautical miles, but these are rare and are not consistent with the Convention on the Law of the Sea. A comprehensive listing of limits of territorial seas, fishing zones and exclusive economic zones is included in reference 33, Coastal State requirements for foreign fishing, FAO 21, rev. 4.

International agreements

It must be recognized that both bilateral and multilateral agreements can have a significant effect on fisheries management and MCS systems and strategies. Negotiation for access to fishing grounds of developing countries can be an interesting and very challenging exercise. The coastal State is looking for financial benefits from the negotiations, whereas the international party is looking for access to the fishing zone. This usually results in compromise which in effect will undoubtedly impact on the MCS strategy and the legislation for fisheries management implementation. The fact that it is usually a distant water fishing nation which is seeking fisheries access, possibly having greater experience in the process, with an established pattern for negotiating benefits weighed heavily on their side, can place the developing country in a very disadvantageous position. The coastal State's requirement for foreign currency can also place undue pressures on the negotiating team in favour of the negotiating strategy of the foreign party.

A review of past agreements of distant water fishing nations has demonstrated the advantages to these nations, sometimes at the expense of the developing countries.9 Negotiated international legal agreements take precedence over existing legislation and consequently, fishing vessel licenses for these fleets sometimes have clauses which give them a fishing advantage over other fishers. This is not to say that international fisheries agreements are not beneficial to coastal States, as many countries have received considerable assistance through these processes. Whether states have received full value for the resources they have negotiated away is a matter for conjecture. An example of such negotiations concerns the EEC, especially since expansion of the fishing fleet with Spain and Portugal joining the Community, whereby their aid package was very much linked to fisheries negotiations. For several years, the EEC provided fisheries aid and training for all fisheries components except MCS activities, and there was no explicit recognition of the rights of artisanal fishermen in their agreements. Recent agreements with the Seychelles and Madagascar have been more comprehensive (regarding inspections prior to departure from the zone) but the developing State often does not have the capability and infrastructure to implement the letter of the agreement.

Other distant water fishing nations have refused to recognize regional fisheries agencies and have insisted on bilateral negotiations. This tactic has now been all but broken by the FFA, through the internal regional agreement to insist on minimum terms and conditions for international fisheries agreements. This accomplishment is another achievement of regional cooperation.

4.4.2 Impact of civil and common law systems

One of the common concerns of fisheries personnel lies in the final output of litigation processes. Fisheries Administrators have expressed their concern over the apparent lack of success experienced in this area of MCS operations. There is definitely the need for training in this activity to ensure that evidence is gathered correctly and presented in such a manner to result in successful prosecution of fisheries cases. Another influential factor is the legal system of the States.

The system to gain a conviction for an offence in the civil law states differs from the system in the common law states. While in the civil law system, the administrative procedure for imposing a sanction provides for an appeal before the Minister, this is not always the case in the common law system. In relation to evidence under the common law system, certain technical rules, such as the rule against heresay, restrict the range of evidentiary material that can be introduced. This can cause difficulties for the introduction of certain types of information in the courts, such as that obtained from vessel monitoring systems and legislation may be necessary to accommodate this type of information. On the other hand, in civil law states, a report from an officer (inspector) is accepted as primae facie evidence. Without going into significant detail on the differences between the two systems, this provides and example of the impact of the legal system on the implementation of MCS strategies.

9 Sevaly Sen. (1989) noted the similarity of negotiated agreements from the EEC and their potential negative impact and disregard for artisanal fisheries.

4.4.3 Core components of fisheries legislation

Fisheries legislation is usually comprised of two main instruments;

  1. The primary instrument are the Acts which defines the general parameters, authorities, powers, requirements of the fishery, including the infractions and penalties for each.

  2. The second instruments are the Regulations. The regulations provide much greater detail on the technical aspects of the fisheries, permissions, responsibilities, obligations and infractions of fisheries law.

The Act is a more permanent document and normally requires full Cabinet or Government approval for revision. The regulations, seen as the every day instruments for managing the fishery are usually much easier to amend, either through Cabinet or sometimes Ministerial approval. In either case, it is recommended that the entire law be reviewed regularly to ensure that it reflects the fisheries policies of the government. It is awakward for Fisheries Administrators to lay charges for a fisheries offense and then find that the infraction is one against policy only and the appropriate law to implement the policy has not yet been proclaimed. It should be noted that a review of such cases has revealed occasions where administrative penalties are permitted as part of the legal procedure, to misuse these to secure a guilty plea for an infraction when that infraction is not yet law.

There are several core components which comprise most fisheries laws. The introductory section usually includes a section on definitions. Key definitions address the Minister responsible for fisheries, the Fisheries Administrator, fisheries officers and observers, if necessary. Other definitions which may be linked to other legislation would note the various zones and their limits in the law. Finally, there are definitions of fishers, licences, the act of fishing and vessels which may become especially important in common law courts when prosecuting an offence.

Early in the legislation there is a section on authorities. Fisheries management needs a clarification of the authorities of the ministry responsible for fisheries and its powers over the legislation and implementation of these laws in the offshore, coastal, riverine and lake waters. The authority to present and amend the laws and the scope of the law is usually clarified in this section. This section can also clarify the relationship of other ministries to fisheries on MCS and fisheries matters.

The authority of the Minister is required with respect to powers to enact legislation through regulations to implement fisheries management plans. Here the civil and common laws differ, in civil law the Director General for Fisheries has the authority to issue licenses for fishing activities, cancel or suspend said licenses, appoint persons to positions of responsibility in the Ministry, and to exact administrative penalties for fisheries offenses. In the common law system this authority rests with the Minister, who may delegate this authority. In the case of civil law there is an appeal tribunal usually available to the accused where a serious offence has been committed while in the common law system this option is not always present.

The specific authorities and powers of each key member of the fisheries department, management and field staff, are normally amplified in this section with respect to management authority and punitive responsibility and powers, monitoring and data collection requirements, sampling, inspection, search, seizure, detention, prosecution and confiscation procedures. Further, the law usually formally states the appropriate reception expected for fisheries personnel and observers or others acting under the authority of the government. This latter point is very important for governments which may consider privatizing aspects of their fisheries MCS activities and for certain aspects of monitoring, such as dockside monitoring and observers.

The responsibilities, as well as the authorities, of each of the individual positions is also stated in the legislation. An example is the responsibility for fishers to accommodate and feed observers at the officer level of their vessels, but the law could also note the monitoring and advisory role of observers excluding enforcement powers.

The details of the fisheries management plans are outlined in the law and the obligations of fishers in this respect are then stated. The heavy pressures on most fishing stocks have resulted in the consideration of more stringent conservation measures including not only measures that regulate fishing activity, such as closed seasons and areas and gear types and uses and also, fishing effort. This latter point can change fisheries from open employment opportunities of last resort to a closed fisheries profession through the imposition of a limited entry fishery concept. The terms of entry, the requirements for licensing and criteria for application for such licenses can also form a part of the legislation. With respect to the use of licensing as one of the management tools, the two tiered licensing system (one license for the vessel and gear and another for each fisher) has been most popular and effective to date. This is opposed to licenses for each component, vessel, gear and fisher, or the combination of one license for the fisher which is further limited by a particular vessel and a specific gear type. The license application forms collect the basic information for the MCS database for both fisheries planning and MCS operations. Information on the fisher, vessel, gear, operations planned, social aspects and demography is also collected during this process.

The obligations and requirements for certain management measures are set under the fisher's licenses. They include the requirement for marking of the fishing vessel for ease of identification. This requirement has now been standardized throughout the world as a result of FAO efforts in 1989. Markings are clearly specified as to the size and location on the vessel, reflecting the size and type of vessel. These specifications are attached in Annex A. The vessel marking requirements are now recommended for inclusion in all fisheries legislation. This facilities both the monitoring and surveillance aspects of MCS operations from the air and the sea. Linked with this vessel marking publication is FAO Technical Paper 267 on the Definition and classification of fishery type vessels. Examples are included in Annex A, but it is recommended that all fisheries personnel become familiar with this publication for surveillance recognition of fishing vessels which may operate in their zones.

An increasingly common requirement for fishers is to mark their fishing gear. This has been assisted by the standard definition and classification of fishing gear types (see FAO Technical Paper 222 rev. 1) which should be a document in the library of all Fisheries Administrators. Examples of standard fishing gears are noted in Annex B. The requirement to mark the fishing gear in a clear and obvious location will also facilitate the monitoring and surveillance aspects of MCS activities.

The matter of logbooks has been one of considerable discussion for several years. Logbooks serve many uses, first for information on the fishing operations of the vessel and, second, this information, if in sufficient detail, provides important input into the biological stock assessment component of fisheries management. It is these two aspects of logbooks which create discussion between fisheries managers and scientists, the latter seeking additional detail and knowledge. The MCS requirement for logbooks is for monitoring of the levels and the areas of the catches, which then contributes to future fisheries management planning and also serves as a verification of compliance with the terms of the fishing license. The biological component requires greater detail on the fishing operations which may include, in addition to the aforementioned, the depth of fishing for each set, or haul, length of the gear and/or time of trawling, species breakdown by set, or haul, size of fish and age and temperature of the waters during the set, or haul, at the depth of fishing. The economist would also like to know the processing methods, packaging and labelling, waste factors, and processing of fish offal. Other fishing operations such as transhipment of fish, quantities by species and location and names of the vessels involved in the transfer are also details MCS officials wish to record and analyze. These points are presented to note the complexity of the discussions regarding this topic in the past. This has lead in some situations to two or three logbooks for vessels for fishing, production, and transhipment. In addition to the requirement for this logbook information, it should be remembered that this is one component which is commonly standardized for regional cooperation, if such an initiative is being contemplated. It is obviously necessary to agree on some standards for the collection and recording of the data in a manner which is usable to fisheries staff. Most countries have found it effective to design their own logs and issue them, with instructions, to fishers. It has proven to be less than effective if information that is not needed is collected, and this should be avoided, regardless of the temptation to gather it.

Transhipment has been an issue of some importance to MCS operations. There are several philosophies regarding transhipment, ranging from no permission for transhipment inside the zone to permission for transhipment in the zone, but with prior notification to authorities, and finally, to permission for transhipment, but only in port. Fishing vessels normally resist transhipment in port, due to the bureaucracy involved, as they can be treated in the same manner as normal transport vessels with no recognition that they are in a special category, due to their cargo. When there is no transhipment allowed in the zone, this will inconvenience the fishers, but the impact is also a loss of data on catches taken in the waters of the State, as the vessels will tranship outside the zone where there is usually no requirement for the master of the vessel to permit an inspection. Verification of the catches in the zone will be lost, unless there is a requirement to report the fish onboard on entry and if exit from the zone is not permitted without an inspection. This becomes administratively difficult. Transhipment inside the zone is difficult to monitor and has its level of difficulty with respect to safety-at-sea. The recommended approach is the requirement for all transhipment of fish to be authorized for coastal State ports recognizing that although this may be expensive for the vessel, and hence impact on the revenues expected from the access agreement, it must be balanced against the risks of inaccurate, or inadequate, information on retained catch. The monitoring aspect of port transhipment is safer and much more accurate, thus being a benefit to MCS activities. It is for this reason that countries may wish to review their port State administrative requirements with a view to encourage fishing vessels to tranship their catches in port. The legislation must reflect the decision in this regard.

The matter of reports is key to the successful implementation of MCS strategies and input into fisheries management planning. There are several reports which Fisheries Administrators may wish to consider for their fishers. The requirement of a catch report is most common. This report is sometimes collected by port monitors verbally from domestic artisanal fishers. The fishers on larger vessels are often required by license, and regulations, to complete these reports on a daily basis and return them, at the end of each trip. If the trips extend past one or two weeks, it may be advantageous to receive a summary report of the catches for the week. These reports are usually for a set period and include at a minimum, the name of the vessel, side number, catches by species in round weight, broken down daily over the period of the week. The position of the vessel at a standard time each day is included with this report to give it geographic reference. The report serves as a document verifying the fishing effort of the fishers, the location and timing of this effort for fisheries planning. In addition, it can be used to ensure the vessel is complying with its license in terms of species being caught, effort permitted in the zone and location of the fishery.

If the management strategy is based on effort control using assumed daily catch rates, including a factor for culling, there would then only be a need for a report of the vessel identification and its positions of fishing over the period. The requirement for the return of completed logbooks and a port inspection prior to leaving the zone can be effective methods to verify retained landings, and possibly catches, for future effort control measures as required. This strategy would be strengthened by the legal obligation to tranship fish caught in the zone in local ports. There would then be a requirement for port inspectors, air surveillance and possibly fewer random sea inspections. The use of satellite technology with vessel monitoring equipment could also be effective in this case. The cost effectiveness of reduced sea inspections could be significant. It must be noted that this strategy would only have potential for single species fisheries and could not effectively accommodate multispecies and mixed species fisheries.

The requirement for periodic position reports from all fishing vessels during their fishing activities has become a standard practice. The rationale for this is twofold; one, for verification of compliance with legislation and licensing provisions, and two, for input into research programs on stock assessment. There are other key reports for surveillance purposes, including reports on entering and leaving the zone and, in some cases, when changing subzones within the fishing waters of a country, or possibly, when changing a fishery. The entry report, with vessel identification, its position in latitude and longitude on entry, with the breakdown of fish species on board, provides the first check of the vessel and the fish being brought into the waters. This can be verified through estimates if the vessel is required to visit the port to pick up its license and receive a briefing before commencing fishing operations.

Many countries require the vessel to report prior to departure from the zone and the intended departure point. This then permits planning for post harvesting inspections at sea if this is a management decision. Other management strategies follow the domestic principle whereby the vessels are required to come to port on completion of fishing in the zone. This latter serves many purposes. On the domestic side, certification of the fish caught and retained is easily obtained from weigh outs of the fish off loaded. This assumes there has been no transhipment of fish at sea, an operation difficult to monitor without regular air surveillance. With regard to international fisheries, the final port visit permits verification, through estimates, of the fish onboard and, taking into consideration authorized fish transhipment, will provide an estimate of the fish caught in the zone as a check on the reports from the vessel and later, the logbooks. Finally, many fisheries agreements require the off loading of a percentage of fish caught in local ports for domestic consumption or to support local fish processing infrastructure. This final port visit is the time to obtain this fish. It must be realized that DWFN vessels will often prefer to pay a penalty rather than off load fish as it is viewed as an expensive undertaking and an unnecessary tax by the government.

It has been previously noted, that there is often a requirement for fisheries personnel to be onboard fishing vessels. It has been found from past experience that government officials are not always regarded with favour when they visit the vessel, especially if it is for a prolonged period. This is particularly the case if the vessel is required to carry fisheries observers. It is for this reason that it is recommended that legislation note the conditions of treatment of officials expected by the State, for example, simply stating that all government officials are expected to receive living conditions at the status of the ship's own officers. On the other hand, government officials must remember their obligations in that they, and their vessels, should be properly identified and marked at all times. Further, they should conduct their activities in such a manner as to minimize the interference with the fishing operations of the vessel as this is a negative cost factor for the fisher.

Finally, the legislation, fisheries agreements and licenses may, due to the requirements stated above, necessitate the vessel and fishers to carry certain documents and equipment to meet the terms and conditions to fish in the waters of the State. If this is the case, it is best stated as a legal requirement in teh laws or regulations. One such example is the carriage of the licensing and report documents for verification by fisheries officials as requested. Earlier, it was stated that a fisheries management scheme based on quota management is very difficult to monitor accurately, without timely and accurate reports of catches by species and area and the capability to verify these data. The South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency has made great strides in this direction with the pending implementation of an automated vessel monitoring system for the large offshore vessels operating in that area. Each vessel will be required to carry and operate an integrated satellite communications and Global Positioning System (GPS). This system will be able to be interrogated from the central regional fisheries surveillance centre. The position information will come automatically from the system, but the catch information will be entered into the system by the vessel. Future options may include methods, through integrated log sensors, to automate this aspect as well. The potential to tamper with the transponder is also an issue which will need to be addressed both in the design and the legislation for the application of this technology. The point is that the success of this initiative can revolutionize surveillance and reduce costs dramatically in the future, with port inspections and port State controls then assuming greater significance. The equipment for this monitoring and surveillance is a requirement by fisheries law and hence becomes a cost of fishing for the vessel operator, not the coastal State. Air surveillance, although still necessary to identify unlicensed fishers, can be more effectively targeted to radar targets which do not respond to identification queries from the transponders.

The legislation, usually reinforced through the tool of the fishing license and surveillance activities, states the authorized and/or unauthorized fishing activities for the State's fishing waters. Examples include the use of fishing gear by type, fishery and area, mesh sizes, chafers for gear, operating areas by species, periods of permitted fishing, transhipment, port entry and exit requirements and other such requirements. The law may state these authorities in a negative manner as well. These would then become unauthorized activities, examples being, trawling inside the artisanal fishing zone, running over other fishing gear, and setting fish attraction devices (FADS) too close to other gear.

A common final section in fisheries legislation, specified in the Act, is a clarification of the infractions under the law and the penalties for each infraction, or group of infractions. This section is very important to the success of fisheries MCS operations and the entire fisheries management process, for it is from this section that the full force of the fisheries process gains its credibility and its possible deterrent effect.

The Act will normally categorize infractions and penalties according to severity of the activity. Most legislation provides for automatic forfeiture of illegal gear and fish taken during the fishing operation on a finding of guilt for the offender. Seriousness of offence varies from state to state, but legislation usually includes among the offenses the following: assault on a fisheries official, unauthorized fishing, fishing contrary to license terms and conditions and infractions of the fishing regulations.

The penalties section has caused considerable discussion, especially with respect to the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Convention prohibits automatic confiscation of a fishing vessel and gear on the alleged commission of an offense, but could be interpreted as permitting this penalty on conviction. More serious discussions have resulted from the prohibition of imprisonment for violations of the fisheries legislation within the EEZ (Article 73 para 3). Some coastal States have ignored this clause in their legislation and have indeed imprisoned both national and international fishers for violations of fisheries legislation. More common, however, is the quick release of the vessel and crew following submission of an appropriate bond to the government.

Further under the penalties section is the difference in the onus of proof under the civil and common law systems. The latter lays greater pressures on the prosecution to prove the details and guilt surrounding the offense, while the former accepts as fact reports from enforcement officers. There has been, on occasion, an attempt to place in legislation the “reverse onus of proof” principle, the concept that the accused is guilty until proven innocent, or the onus falls on this accused to prove innocence. There has been an interesting negative reaction of the judiciary resulting from the use of this concept in many common law courts. The judiciary tends to view the concept as a excuse by the prosecution for not being able to prove its case and possibly be contrary to one's express or implied legal rights. This rather interesting negative response places even greater pressure on legislation drafters to ensure the law is enforceable. In some countries, the acceptance of carefully drafted, primae facie presumptions has been effective in alleviating the difficulty experienced with “reverse onus”. The level of penalties is also another issue of some concern in developing States. It is common to forfeit any fish illegally caught and illegal fishing gear, the latter to ensure it is not used elsewhere. The determination of the disposal of the vessel in the case of conviction varies considerably between countries. The level of fines is the key point of interest. There is a tendency for fisheries laws to discriminate between national and international fishers. This can, in itself, create difficulties in the courts. It is sometimes best, and often recommended, that financial penalties for offenses be standard for the offense despite the offender. The level of deterrence can be determined by the judiciary in noting the economic impact of the level of the penalty on the violator. This implies that fines would be standard, but they would be worded in a manner whereby the judiciary would have the flexibility of determining the penalty within a large enough bracket which could serve as a deterrent to all fishers using the zone.

The education of the judiciary to meet the above noted objectives can often be influenced through a request for assistance from the judiciary at training sessions for fisheries personnel, and round table discussions of the effectiveness of annual operations, as well as seeking advice with respect to the writing and application of the fisheries law. It must be recognized that fishers, will ignore what they believe to be unnecessary legislation. The support of the judiciary in these cases can be noted by the size of the fines levied for these offenses.

National police, and possibly other agencies, such as natural resources, etc., often have an important role to play in fisheries MCS. In several countries, these agencies are the implementing arm of the MCS strategy. The cooperation of these agencies and their personnel, whether directly involved in MCS for fisheries or not, is important for cost effective intra-government operations. It has been seen in the past that, in several cases, individuals who habitually violate the law are often multi-purpose offenders in that they are sought by more than one agency. Inter-agency co-operation is most cost effective in these cases. Also for consideration in developing countries is the potential benefit which can accrue from providing the powers of fisheries enforcement to other enforcement agencies. This then expands the potential surveillance force of the country. The contact these agencies have at the community level, if utilized appropriately, can assist in establishing the linkages required for successful operations.

There is however, an obligation which follows this delegation of powers which is often forgotten. It is the obligation to the fishers that the individuals surveying them and enforcing the laws have the appropriate training and knowledge of these laws. It can prove detrimental to the credibility of fisheries if enforcement personnel do not have the training and knowledge of fisheries laws and law enforcement procedures. If the training is not possible, it is best not to delegate the powers for fisheries enforcement too broadly.

The port authorities have a considerable impact on the fishing operations of both national and international fleets. The actual, and potential, control and benefits this agency could provide for fisheries and vice versa are significant. Recognizing that fish is a perishable product and the needs of fishing vessels are somewhat urgent, the liaison between agencies can facilitate the exercise of the port requirements and the fisheries inspections and briefings in a timely manner to expedite the process for the fishers. This would minimize their concerns regarding port visits and potentially enhance port and fisheries capability and possibly the economy of the port. Port authority powers over vessels can also assist in the surveillance component of fisheries management if this is required for inspections or other enforcement procedures, including detention of the vessel. It is suggested that, although port authorities have other priorities, good liaison could result in support for fisheries operations.

4.5 Consultation and liaison

Success of fisheries MCS operations in almost all cases has been due to the liaison between parties with a vested interest in the fishing industry. Clear delineation and acceptance of roles, responsibilities and obligations has made the process easier for all concerned. The harvesting of any natural resource by strong, independent business persons has always been a challenge and nowhere is this more evident than in fisheries. Successful MCS operations have reflected the absolute requirement for all participants and individuals with input into the process to understand and accept the management plans.

4.5.1 Fishing industry inputs

The purpose of rational, sustainable fisheries management, and subsequent MCS activities in support of this concept, is for the sole purpose of providing continuing benefits to the fishers of current and future generations. It would seem apparent then, that key to any discussions regarding the fishing industry would be the fishers themselves. Unfortunately, there is often little input from these, the grassroots clients and beneficiaries of the fishery. It is no surprise that, after many years of neglect and little input into fisheries management fishers are suspicious of government officials. Fishers prosecute the resource for financial gain and they do this armed with the combined knowledge of generations of practical knowledge passed down through families and the folklore in the communities. There is a need for respect and partnership of government officials and the fishers themselves in the development and implementation of fisheries management plans in the future.

This linkage with the fishers can often be assisted through liaison with fisher groups, unions, or cooperatives, where these are in existence. Where these are not in place the community organizations themselves can serve as a good link to the fishers and their families. When the fishers become confident that the intent of the government is really in their best interests, the government will have a very influential and powerful ally in implementing its plans.

Fishers who are organized appear to be more successful in ensuring their input into fisheries management plans. Most governments have extension officers of some departments to liaise with communities. These individuals can greatly assist in this process of establishing links with the communities for fisheries matters. Trust and cooperation are key to this process. Government initiatives to assist fishers in communities to organize themselves for fish trade purposes may also be viewed positively and contribute to this overall exercise of fisheries management.

The input of bigger fishing enterprises with contacts on the international market for fishing vessels, joint agreements and trade are also very important in this exercise. There is a caution from years of practical experience, however, in placing too great an importance on one sector of the fishery, while neglecting the impact other sectors have on the industry (usually at the expense of the artisanal, domestic fishers). The larger fishing enterprises should be encouraged to provide their input, and in fact will probably do so without urging due to their investment in the industry. The challenge will be determining the balance between interests of large fishing industry interests and the more scattered local artisanal fishers.

4.5.2 Inter-ministerial liaison

The large number of ministries interested in the ocean sector and particularly fisheries creates the potential of administrative complexity. A listing of these ministries may assist in focusing on their respective roles and input that the Fisheries Administrator can expect from government partners. These include the Ministry of Justice with its judiciary, municipal and federal police agencies, port authorities, national defense, customs, immigration, health, foreign affairs and the fisheries department itself.

If one breaks down the interests, it can assist the Fisheries Administrator in the determination of the points of contact and timing for each party in the MCS process. The Ministry of Justice and the judiciary need to understand the fisheries management objectives, policies and importance of the resources and habitat to the State. Second, they need to have a good understanding of the intent behind the fisheries management plans and the MCS procedures to reflect these in the fisheries legislation. It is worth fostering the relationship between fisheries and the judiciary to obtain their assistance with fisheries legislation and its implementation.

The cooperation of the federal and municipal police agencies is an essential component of MCS. These agencies are often the operating arm of the surveillance component. Whether or not this is so, the cooperation of all enforcement agencies through shared databases and shared resources has proven very cost effective in the past. Where priorities can be arranged to coincide, it is always effective to join forces for enforcement purposes. Another consideration for fisheries with respect to other enforcement agencies is a delegation of powers and authorities for enforcement to the field personnel of these agencies. There is an obligation to the fishers resulting from this possible delegation of powers, however, and that is the assurance of appropriate training in fisheries enforcement, laws and procedures for these enforcement officials. The federal and municipal police agencies have contacts which can also be very useful in establishing the appropriate links with fishers to involve them in fisheries management and implementation planning exercises.

The Port Authorities can be of considerable assistance in fisheries MCS, both for monitoring and surveillance activities. Port State control is becoming a more popular initiative and a multidisciplinary port authority can facilitate coastal State port inspections, briefings, and transhipment of fish with a minimum of bureaucracy and maximum of control at low costs. The Port Authority can also assist in obtaining information regarding the vessel and its operations and can benefit from the sharing of the fisheries database with respect to vessel movement in the zone. Sharing of resources for monitoring and enforcement purposes could also be considered here as being potentially cost effective.

The Ministry of National Defense is very interested in fisheries operations under its sovereignty and State security mandates. There have been cases where military resources, having been seconded to fisheries and under fisheries control, have proven effective for MCS activities. The United Kingdom fisheries services operated in this fashion for several years in England and Wales. In Scotland an executive agency under the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Scotland (DAFS) operates the government owned patrol and research fleet. This latter option has been found to be cost effective.

It must be stressed however, that MCS for fisheries is a civil police action, consequently, the use of the military as the executive power of the State is not really appropriate for direct involvement in this task.

The military can however, in the course of their regular duties, assist in fisheries matters. The national defense departments of Australia and New Zealand have proven to be very effective in their air surveillance role for FFA over the years and have become an integral component of their system. On a smaller scale, sub-regional or regional organizations may be able to secure resources for similar services, or purchase their own aircraft and use seconded military personnel for flights and maintenance. The sea component of the military has not yet been found to operate efficiently or cost effectively in a support role for fisheries in most MCS situations, due to the cost and bureaucracy of these heavily manned military resources. These high level military resources have been used by states in the apprehension of foreign vessels, but it has been expensive and control of the operation has been lost to fisheries personnel in this “civil police action”. Only secondary tasking of resources from the military should be contemplated for fisheries MCS activities. The use of the military sea component is ineffective and inappropriate for MCS activities respecting domestic vessels and is difficult for foreign vessels. The sharing of the fisheries database with the military might also assist them in their priority sovereignty mandate.

Customs and Immigration are being considered together due to their similar interests of control of goods and persons into, and out of, the State. Again cooperation for surveillance services and sharing of resources can be cost effective, but only when priorities coincide. The American situation, where the U.S. Coast Guard enforces customs, immigration and fisheries legislation, creates difficulties, as the drug situation in the U.S. demands the resources on a priority basis. Fisheries thus have a low enforcement profile during these periods of drug interdiction. This drug interdiction requirement also influences the design of the vessels, which are usually inappropriate for fisheries where sea-keeping is a priority. One advantage of cooperation with these agencies is the sharing of surveillance information and secondary tasking for possible back-up support for surveillance activities. The sea aspects of these two departments are not complementary to fisheries and would most likely place fisheries personnel in a more hostile environment than would be appropriate for their normal function. Both of these agencies will also have an interest in fishing vessels during their port visits. Coordination with fisheries could facilitate these operations for the benefit of all parties.

The Ministry of Health usually has an interest in fishing vessels and the fishery for two main reasons; first, for international fishers, the state of health of their vessels and crew when they enter port and, second, for the standard of the product that is landed for domestic consumption and possible export. The Fisheries Administrator can gain assistance from these officials regarding fish product inspection concerns by cooperating on these matters.

Foreign Affairs has a considerable interest in fisheries, especially where it involves international fishing partners and negotiations. It is usually foreign affairs which takes a lead role in these negotiations and the challenge for Fisheries Administrators, as noted earlier, is to ensure that the bottom line for fisheries management and MCS control is not compromised in negotiations. Key to the negotiations is the principle of lowest cost, effective MCS to conserve the stocks. Any negotiated change that increases the costs of MCS should result only if there is a corresponding increase in benefits, preferably financial, from the international party to offset the increased costs for implementing MCS. An example is the case where the international fishing partner wants to have only one vessel with the fleet commander come to port to pick up the licenses for the full fleet. The coastal State thereby loses the opportunity to verify the fish onboard each vessel for later calculation of the total fish caught in the zone. The offsetting agreement could be that the fleet commander's vessel would carry observers, paid by the international fleet, to the other vessels, where these representatives would estimate fish onboard prior to the vessels commencing fishing in the zone. An alternative would be an agreement for a fisheries officer to be transported by the fleet vessel to each other vessel, and then returned to port. A final alternative in this case could be an agreement for a grant of the equivalent funding to permit the patrol vessel to deliver the licenses to the vessels. In all cases, the vessels should not fish until the fish onboard have been verified by a fisheries official, or representative. These alternatives preserve the principle and importance of the first verification of fish onboard the vessel prior to its operations in the country's zone.

It is important that each of the MCS activities is clearly understood by the foreign affairs negotiator. There may be a tendency on the part of the international partner to attempt to negotiate other options which decrease the effectiveness of fisheries MCS.

The Fisheries Units themselves, especially in the remoter areas of the country, need to be kept abreast of the fisheries MCS strategy. The heart of successful MCS operations in the field is the communications system. A telecommunications network is almost essential for MCS operations in the current fishing environment. Lack of information creates insecurity, concern and difficulties in supporting government policies and explaining these to the fishers. It is necessary for a credible relationship with the fishers that all the field units are fully aware of the policies and the rationale behind these decisions. On the other hand, it is also important that fisheries officials in headquarters also realize the benefits of the information which can be provided by their field units for all aspects of fisheries management and MCS operations.

It was stated at the beginning of the paper that fisheries management and successful MCS operations include gathering and analysis of biological, social and economic data, decisions regarding the overall fisheries management strategy, then the legislation to form the base for implementation of this plan and, finally, the MCS operations. This requires multidisciplinary management and input from several sources in a fisheries department. This is one of the greatest internal challenges that Fisheries Administrators will face. Each section and each individual has an important part to play in the fisheries management exercise. The team-building effort required to gel these diverse components into one team for the MCS exercise is considerable.

4.6 MCS plans

MCS plays key roles in monitoring and data collection, forming the legislative base for successful implementation and is the action arm of the policy. This makes it apparent that MCS must be an integral part of planning from the very commencement of fisheries management planning. Once it is determined which control mechanisms (effort, catch, quota, area, fish and mesh sizes, or a combination of these) will be utilized for fisheries management, then the MCS officials can assist in planning an enforceable fisheries management plan for both the domestic and international fleets. MCS plans should be developed consecutively for each fishery, or group of fisheries. This will permit analysis of the legislation required and its enforceability. The assessment of MCS resources to be deployed can also be determined and all parties then can realize the pressures being placed on this infrastructure. The final package will, when assessed, show the actual potential of meeting these requirements.

The international fishing plan, if international fishing is to be permitted, can follow a similar exercise, with one major additional input, the results of negotiations. Many factors for the negotiations have already been noted, the most important being the maintenance of control of the fishery in a non-discriminatory manner for both fishing fleets, national and international. The rule of keeping MCS simple and exacting benefits and remuneration for any divergence from this principle to recover the additional costs to the State is one to keep in the fore during negotiations. It is strongly recommended that senior MCS personnel be included in the fisheries negotiations to assist the chief negotiator in the technical aspects of the MCS portion of the agreement. This can prevent difficulties in enforcement and misunderstandings in the implementation of the agreement. The impact of the negotiations then needs to be reflected in the fisheries legislation and in the MCS plan. The analysis and determination of the resource requirements and strategies to implement the agreement with an acceptable assurance of compliance is the following step in this process. Senior fisheries managers should then look at the total picture for MCS requirements for both the domestic and international fisheries and establish priorities on the use of the resources to permit MCS annual planning. In this manner, all senior fisheries decision makers, up to and including the Minister, can be briefed by the Fisheries Administrator as to the expected deployment of MCS resources and the assessment of risk and consequences of the implementation plan. It must be accepted that there will not be enough MCS resources to fully address all aspects of the implementation of the fisheries management plans.

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