SECOND MEETING OF FAO AND NON-FAO REGIONAL FISHERY BODIES
Rome, Italy, 20 and 21 February 2001
SOME EXTERNAL FACTORS THAT MAY IMPACT UPON THE WORK OF REGIONAL FISHERY BODIES AND THE MANAGEMENT OF FISHERIES
I. Examples of major external factors
II. Major external factors affecting the Management of Fisheries
III. Potential role of regional fishery bodies
IV. Suggested action by the meeting
Regional fishery bodies (RFBs) and arrangements are reviewing and adapting, where appropriate, their mandates, structures and strategies in order to better play their increasingly important roles in the process of achieving sustainable fisheries management. These changes should also enable RFBs to better discharge their responsibilities in implementing the recent series of international instruments concerned with fisheries. Furthermore, it is increasingly acknowledged that a number of factors/issues outside the control of these bodies, such as, land-based activities and pollution, species introductions and genetically improved species and the aspects of ecosystem management, climate change and natural disasters, as well as trade globalization, could affect the proper management of fisheries and the present and future work of regional fishery bodies. Cognizant of the above, the First Meeting of Regional Fishery Bodies in 1999 agreed that there was a need to address at subsequent meetings of RFBs these so-called extrinsic/external factors. This document highlights some of these external factors and summarizes the potential roles of regional fishery bodies and arrangements in addressing these factors. It is recognized that not all factors discussed in this paper are necessarily immediately relevant to the different situations/circumstances of the various regional fisheries bodies. The Meeting is invited to review the document and exchange experiences on the roles and strategies regional fishery bodies could play and/or adopt in addressing external factors that may concern them now and in the future.
1. The First Meeting of FAO and Non-FAO Regional Fishery Bodies and Arrangements held in Rome, Italy, in February 19991 reviewed, among other things: major factors affecting the performance of regional fishery bodies, multifaceted approach to fishery status and trends reporting, and RFBs as vehicles for good fisheries governance. The meeting concluded among other things that regional fishery bodies should:
"review and adapt, where appropriate, their mandates, structures and strategies in order to better play their increasingly important roles in the process of achieving sustainable fisheries development and to discharge their responsibilities in implementing the recent series of international instruments concerned with fisheries".
2. In addition the Meeting recommended that: "there was a need to address at subsequent meetings of RFBs such extrinsic factors, outside the control of fisheries management agencies, such as pollution and environmental degradation, the introduction of foreign and transgenic species etc."
3. The purpose of this document is to inform the Meeting on some major external factors that could affect the work of regional fishery bodies and ipso facto fisheries management and eventually the contribution of fisheries to food security, as well as social and economic development in areas covered by RFBs. It is envisaged that the issues raised will stimulate discussion on the extent that RFBs could take these into account within their advisory/regulatory roles.
4. The following external factors are addressed: land-based activities and pollution, species introductions and genetically improved species, global climate change, trade globalization and ecosystem-based management of fisheries.
5. Coastal ecosystems, including estuaries, marshes, shallow bays and wetlands, mangroves, coral reefs and sea-grass beds, play a major role in the life cycle of many economically important fish species by providing breeding, nursery and feeding grounds. About 90 percent of the world marine production originates from coastal ecosystems. However, the 10 percent of total production that is derived from the high seas are mostly high value products such as tuna.
6. The abundance and availability of fishery resources is governed by a variety of environmental factors which include water temperature, salinity, nutrient levels, meteorological conditions, current and flow rates and their short and long-term natural variations. Nutrient levels are generally limited in the oceanic environment outside upwelling areas, and carbon, nitrates and phosphates are mostly supplied through on-shelf turbulence, river outflow and via the atmosphere.
7. Land-based activities pose a range of threats to the marine environment.2 Examples of these are agriculture (including flood control, diversion of rivers, intensive livestock activities, overgrazing, agro-industries), forestry, coastal construction, manufacturing, urban development and tourism. They are major sources of plant nutrients and sediments, and contaminants, fertilizers, pesticides and oils that threaten the health of marine and coastal environments.3 4
8. The potential impacts/effects of poor agricultural practices on nearshore waters is summarized in Table 1.
Table 1. Land based activities and their potential impacts on nearshore waters.
Example of environmental change
Potential impact on fisheries
Flood control, diversion of rivers
· Decrease freshwater outflow
· Altered sediment deposition
· Shoreline erosion
Reduced fish yields
· Toxic pollution of estuaries and inshore waters
· Increased fish mortality
Reduced fish yields, human health risk from consuming contaminated fish
Fertilizers, intensive livestock activities
· Increased nutrients leading to eutrophication of lakes and estuaries
May increase fish yields at lower levels; high levels of eutrophication will probably decrease fish yields
· Increased soil erosion, sedimentation, turbidity
· Deposition of soil on flood plains
Sediments overwhelm habitats such as seagrasses and reefs, decreasing their fish yields, and may encourage the growth of toxic algae
· Organic and toxic effluents leading to eutrophication
· Other pollution effects
Reduced fishery yields at high levels, human consumption risk
9. Pollution associated with transport of goods is much more widespread. Concern for oil pollution as a result of transport of hazardous chemicals has not only stimulated but reinforced cooperation among nations on marine pollution control and has led to the elaboration and adoption of a series of protocols under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to mitigate marine pollution.5 Examples of such protocols include:
· The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil (1971)
· The International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Damage (1969)
· The International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Damage (1971)
· The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matters (1972)
· The International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships (1973 amended 1978) ( known more commonly as MARPOL 73/78)
10. Industrial pollutants such as mercury and lead, various organic chemicals used in chemical processing, manufacturing or as fuel and radioactive wastes, constitute a major problem in that many of them are persistent; they are toxic; tend to affect organisms at molecular or reproductive levels and may accumulate in food chains. The environmental effects of many chemicals are not sufficiently understood, particularly long-term effects even at low concentrations.
11. Pollutants may perturb ecosystems, but not all pollution is bad. Low levels of nutrients can increase fishery productivity and even increase diversity by preventing dominance by one or more species. In extreme cases however, perturbations can change ecological communities, decreasing productivity and diversity. The input of nutrients into the sea is said to be on the increase globally and the negative impacts of eutrophication occur with increasing frequency in ever larger areas and a greater number of sites.6
12. A summary of pollutants and their likely ecological/fishery effects is given in Table 2.
Table 2 A summary of pollutants and their likely ecological fishery effects (expanded from Kenchington 1990).7
· May interfere with basic food chain processes by destroying or damaging zooxanthellae in coral, free-living phytoplankton, algal, or seagrass communities.
· May selectively destroy or damage elements of zooplankton or benthic communities; planktonic larvae are particularly vulnerable.
Antifouling paints and agents
· May selectively destroy or damage elements of zooplankton or benthic communities.
Sediments and turbidity
· May smother substrate.
· A wide range of damaging effects depending upon type of hydrocarbon, dilution, weathering, dispersion, emulsification or interaction with seawater or other chemicals.
· Inhibit a wide range of physiological processes and increase vulnerability of affected biota to a range of natural and induced human impacts.
Sewage and fertilisers Nitrogen
· Increased primary production in phytoplankton and benthic algae distorts species interactions, particularly in low natural nitrogen communities e.g. coral reefs.
High or low salinity water (fresh water run-offs, effluents)
· Low salinity water can float on top of the water column, high salinity water sinks, prior to mixing and dispersion.
Heavy metals (Mercury, Cadmium)
· May be accumulated by, and have severe effects upon, filter feeders, and by accumulation up the food chain pass these effects to higher predators.
Surfactants and dispersants
· Most are toxic to marine biota.
· At low levels inhibits external fertilization of some invertebrates, e.g. sea urchins.
· Can be lethal to many species.
13. In addition to ecosystem perturbations, pollution also has potential adverse effects on human health. Bio-accumulation may make fish unfit for human consumption, there could be an increase in the spread of human diseases through sewage, while many marine animals particularly shellfish could be made unsafe for human consumption. For example Ciguateria caused by a dinoflagellate is a widespread cause of food poison from some tropical nearshore and coral reef fish, in particular Lutjanus bohar and barracudas. Although, Ciguateria outbreaks may often have natural causes, they have often followed reef damage through storms and earthquakes. The situations have implications for fisheries management but they could also negatively affect both internal and export fish trade8.
14. Dispersion of species between geographical locations is a natural phenomenon; it is a major process in biological evolution. However, the rate at which species are dispersed among locations is critical. Human activities are increasing the rate of this natural process. As the rate increases, ecological communities will become more similar and diversity may be lost. This is a major problem in some parts of the world.
15. There are four consequences of introducing a new species into an ecological community.
· The new species does not establish itself, and dies out. This has been suggested to be the most common outcome, but has not been well documented and there are areas where species introductions have been very successful.
· The new species competes for food or habitat with one or more species in the receiving community, and decreases the population size of local species. This may lead to local extinctions.
· The new species is a predator or grazer of one or more species in the community, decreasing their population size. The introduced species may also lead to an increase in some species that were previously being controlled by local species that have been reduced or eliminated by the introduction.
· The new species is a vector for a parasite or disease, which is introduced to resident population. This is a problem that has often been overlooked, but it is increasingly seen as a significant hazard.
16. Other alternatives are possible, but rare. For example, an introduced species may occupy an empty ecological niche or create new niches. However, this outcome is rare in the marine environment.
17. Species have been spread by accident or deliberately. Bilge discharges from ships have been a common source of accidental species introductions and there are now guidelines to shipping for the prevention of this. Deliberate introductions are often of commercial species, which are introduced to support fishing industries and aquaculture.
18. The successful introduction of a new species may influence the balance of the ecological community, and may permanently change its structure. As in the case of pollutants, such disturbance is generally negative, decreasing diversity at least in the short term. Very rapid dispersal of species will make different ecosystems more homogeneous. Where introductions are deliberate and better planned, controlled, monitored and managed, new industries may be supported or existing industries may be made more profitable.
19. In general, species introductions in the marine environment have not had as dramatic an impact as they have on terrestrial or freshwater environments. This is largely because oceans are linked and natural dispersion is commonplace. There are notable exceptions to this such as dispersions across very great distances via different oceanic regimes (e.g. between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans) and to relatively enclosed seas (such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea or the Baltic Sea).
20. The effect on fisheries of species introductions may be positive, but with inevitable environmental/ecological costs that are often not quantifiable at the outset. Often whether an introduction is judged successful or not will depend on the priority placed on development versus conservation. For example, the large predatory Nile perch (Lates nilotica) was first introduced into Lake Victoria in the mid-1950s, and has subsequently supported a large fishery (see Box 1). However, some estimates state that 50 percent or more of the indigenous cichlid species (mainly haplochromines) have been lost from the entire lake. In one study of the Mwanza Gulf in Lake Victoria, as a result of an explosion in Nile perch populations 80 of the 123 species identified in 1979 had completely disappeared by 1990.9
21. In Lake Michigan, the inadvertant introduction of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) by the opening of the St Lawrence River totally overwhelmed the indigenous lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), which was already under enormous commercial fishing pressure. Pacific salmon were introduced to maintain the fisheries. The changes in Lake Michigan's ecosystem have been so great that the food web is now dominated entirely by introduced species, which need continual stocking and manipulation to maintain a productive fishery. In other cases, a deliberate introduction for fisheries has not proved popular to fishers or consumers, such as the introduction of blueline snapper (Lutjanus kasmira) in Hawaii, which was claimed to have replaced many species that were important in previous catches. Kiribati has also experienced a similar situation with the introduction of tilapia in the 1950s.
Box 1: Nile Perch in Lake Victoria
There are some doubts about the date of the original introductions (perhaps as early as 1954 from Lake Albert) but with confirmation on the presence of Nile perch in Lake Victoria in 1960, further deliberate introductions took place, and over the next 25 years Nile perch spread. Initially, catches remained at less than 5 percent of the total catch until the 1980s. During this decade there was a dramatic change in the lake with Nile perch populations increasing rapidly. Nile perch catches increased to around 500 000 per year, representing 60 percent of the total catch. There is now concern that the resource is overfished. In addition, the indigenous tilapias have effectively been replaced by the introduced Nile tilapia. The Lake Victoria fish community was dominated by a large range of closely related fish species of the genus Haplochromis, which had diversified to occupy a wide range of the available ecological niches. However, only about half of the 400 original species have survived and many of these appear under threat. The Nile perch was not the only factor impacting the lake, as overfishing, sedimentation and introduced tilapia also played a role. The change in the lake's ecosystem and its fisheries has also been mirrored by changes in socio-economic patterns of human communities dependent on the lake. These include changes in the distribution of roles in the fishery, scales and patterns of income, quality of fishers' working life, mobility, employment opportunities, and health; some of these changes have been for the better, some for the worse and some have not been evaluated adequately.
The Nile perch introduction to Lake Victoria (and other lakes where they were no indigenous populations, e.g. Lake Kyogo) illustrates a conflict between development and conservation. Nile perch remains an important fishery resource and a valuable export commodity to Israel and Europe. There also has been significant species loss and many of the species were endemic to Lake Victoria. There have also been changes in the traditional human communities around the lake. Although the cichlid species themselves were/are genetically very closely related, biodiversity is also measured by function and form, not just genes. In this case, the Haplochromis community was valuable not only because of the diversity of its adaptations, but also as a potential laboratory for the study of evolution. Such opportunities for knowledge have an unquantifiable value once lost.
22. Although many deliberate introductions are to develop fisheries and to increase the availability of fish for food, accidental introductions may sometimes be damaging. There are many examples of accidental introductions into enclosed seas and lakes that have had negative impacts. An example is the ctenophore, Mnemiopsis leidyi, which increased in the Black Sea from when it was first found in 1982 to average abundances of between 1 and 5 kg wet weight per m2 in 1991-92. It has subsequently decreased by a factor of 4-610. In addition diseases have been inadvertantly introduced into areas where resident species are more susceptible. For example, the European flat oyster, Ostrea edulis, once imported to the western USA became infected with the blood cell parasite Bonamia which was subsequently spread back to Europe where it caused the demise of the majority of the fishery. Pathogens can also impact native species by influencing other species interactions. The introduction of crayfish from North America to Europe also introduced the crayfish plaque. North American species, such as Pacifastacus leniusculus, are resistant carriers that also outcompete native European crayfish due to higher reproductive rates; the plague gave the invaders an additional competitive advantage that lead to vastly reduced numbers of native crayfish in Europe. Salmon illustrate many of the problems and unknowns of species introductions and have been extensively studied. Chinook salmon have been released in many parts of the world, including Japan, Russia and New Zealand, as well as throughout North America. Such releases have not always been successful, and it took a number of releases in New Zealand before a salmon population became self-sustaining by 1925.
23. Release of salmon has in the main been for commercial reasons, to create a fishery or to bolster catches, to support conservation purposes by rebuilding threatened stocks or for countering loss of habitat. The modern role of hatcheries is to assist the rebuilding of stocks while at the same time lessening the genetic and ecological impacts of hatchery releases on wild fish.
24. Hatcheries in the USA are expected to support populations subject to very high fishing mortalities or to act as a substitute for natural spawning areas. Hatcheries reduce larvae and smolt mortality in the hopes of increasing the yield from high value salmon fisheries. However, recognizing the potential conservation value of hatcheries, a number of additional measures have been proposed, including:
· Prohibition of non-indigenous fish stock transfers (i.e. intentional transplantation);
· Audits of hatchery fish for health, genetic, and smolt quality problems;
· Mass marking of hatchery fish for identification;
· Limited release numbers according to the carrying capacity of fresh and saltwater habitats;
· Implementation of parallel captive broodstock techniques to avoid the risk of extinction, and conserve gene pools;
· Reduction of selection for domestication by introducing more natural rearing methods;
· Production of better quality smolts indistinguishable from their wild counterparts;
· Introduction of hatchery techniques, which reduce harmful post-release interactions
· Introduction of hatchery techniques, which reduce harmful post-release interactions between wild and hatchery fish.11
25. The last four of these measures have been the subject of extensive research and are the underlying objectives of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) in Seattle Washington, USA. Several research projects in various aspects of artificial propagation are ongoing to identify and maintain the attributes of wild fish. The widening use of hatcheries for such purposes has led to the elaboration of guidelines on best practices. However, the use of hatcheries as a cost-effective means to support viable fisheries and conservation, especially marine species, is a controversial area where there is much disagreement in the fisheries community.12
26. There is a parallel between the introduction of foreign species and the introduction of genetically improved species. Genetic improvement, i.e. domestication, may or may not enhance the ability of a species to survive in the wild. If it should, however, and the genetically improved species breeds with wild relatives, the genetic makeup of the wild populations will be altered.
27. Recently a genetically modified Atlantic salmon and Pacific salmon were developed with high growth rates specifically for aquaculture. These fish have genes from another species of fish inserted in their genome that makes them grow faster. The salmon are being tested for commercial use and permits are being requested for their eventual distribution to growers. Release of genes into wild populations would have unknown effects. In general, as for the release of exotic species, the risks could only be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but problems caused by species introductions do suggest that genetic modification should be managed carefully. These recent developments for the genetic modification of salmon (transgenic salmon in this case) could serve as signals to all RFBs involved with these species that national actions could affect the wider range of the species. In most cases it is accepted that this development should be limited to salmon aquaculture practices and not for the enhancement of wild stocks.13
28. The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) at its Council's Fourteenth Annual Meeting in June 1997 has prepared general guidelines (see Box 2) for its member countries, recognizing that there are considerable risks to this technology with the possibilities of irreversible genetic changes and ecological interactions.
Box 2. NASCO Guidelines for Action on Transgenic Salmon
THE PARTIES to NASCO are aware of the development of transgenic salmon (i.e. salmon that contain genes from another organism). While there may be benefits from the introduction of such salmon if, for example, they could not interbreed with wild stocks the Council recognizes that there are also risks, which may lead to irreversible genetic changes and ecological interactions.
The Council considers that there is an urgent need to take steps to ensure the protection of the wild stocks and has therefore agreed to cooperate to develop means so that transgenic salmon cannot impact upon wild salmon stocks. The following specific steps are agreed.
The Parties will:
a) advise the NASCO Council of any proposal to permit the rearing of transgenic salmonids and provide details of the proposed method of containment and other measures to safeguard the wild stocks;
b) take all possible actions to ensure that the use of transgenic salmon, in any part of the NASCO Convention Area, is confined to secure, self-contained, land-based facilities;
c) take into account the ongoing work by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to develop a Protocol on Biosafety;
d) inform their salmon producers of the potentially serious risks to wild stocks of this development and consult with the salmon farming industry on this matter through the new Liaison Group established between NASCO and the international salmon farming industry;
e) take steps, as appropriate, to improve knowledge on the potential impacts of transgenic fish on the wild stocks and their habitat;
f) examine the trade implications associated with transgenic salmon in accordance with World Trade Organization Agreements and other instruments of international law.
The Council will:
ask the newly established Working Group on the Precautionary Approach to consider specifically the risks and conservation benefits from transgenic salmon as part of its response on introductions and transfers.
29. The ocean affects the rate of climate change and is in turn affected by it as well. Global warming due to the greenhouse effect could alter inputs of salt water, fresh water, oxygen, nutrients and pollutants with potentially large consequences for marine ecosystems and species. Changes in currents would also influence the recruitment of organisms in coastal and offshore waters. There is also the possibility that increased carbon sequestration on land could affect productivity in the oceans, as high levels of carbon dioxide could lead to possible increases in photosynthesis and perhaps increased production. The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)14 phenomenon in 1957/58 and 1982/83 in the Pacific Ocean, changed the physical structure of the upwelling along the western coast of South America, profoundly affecting the species composition in time and space, which was reflected in very poor catches and an eventual collapse of the anchovy fishery there. A similar situation occurred in 1972/73. It has been reported that most of the decline in the world's marine fishery landings in 1998 can be attributed to changes in the Southeast Pacific, which was severely affected by El Niño. Total capture fish production from this area dropped from 17.1 million in 1996 to 14.4 million in 1997 and to further 8 million in 1998.15 The same event also had measurable affects in terms of distributions and catch rates in the tuna fisheries in the central and western Pacific.
30. Coral reefs support more than 25 percent of the fishery production in many small island developing States, for the most part poor countries. However coral reefs around the world are being threatened by factors16 that are thought to be due to a combination of subtle climatic changes reflected in the intensity and duration of ENSO events and human impact. As corals are the building blocks of most coral reefs and, as such, define the ecological community of the reef, including the fish population, a coral reef severely affected by bleaching or other factors will go through community change (e.g. more soft corals and algae, greater sedimentation rates, different fish species). This, in turn, will be reflected in the composition of fish catches and the value of catches and adversely affect the food security of local dependent human populations.
31. Fisheries and coastal aquaculture in some regions of the world are known to suffer greatly from the effects of hurricanes, cyclones and earthquakes, particularly those that generate tsunamis, and especially in the most vulnerable tropical small-scale fisheries, and in flood prone regions and small island States. Apart from the human and economic dimension of such disasters, hurricanes affect habitat, which may further exacerbate environmental stress, leading to a reduction of stock size and/or a shift in distribution. Unfortunately, the long-term effects of natural disasters may be unknown, particularly with regard to nearshore population recruitment, and precautionary management controls are not likely to be popular.
32. Technological advances in communication and transportation are changing the world to a global system, with fisheries both representative of this change, and significantly impacted by it.17 One of the outcomes of globalization trends that might impact on the activities of regional fishery bodies is trade. Globalization in fish trade is one area which regional fishery bodies do not seem to have dealt with extensively to the present. The FAO Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR) at its First Session in November 1997 considered the Implications of Globalization on Trade and Distribution of Benefits an important area of work for FAO. The Committee established an ad hoc Working Party to formulate a targeted research agenda to address such issues as barriers to trade, the distribution of benefits from trade, trade and food security. The preliminary findings of the Working Party, obtained through an E-mail Conference is provided to this Meeting as Document RFB/II/2001/Inf.6.
33. The market demand for certain marine products such as reef-building and precious corals, shells, live reef fish and shark fins, is on the increase, stimulated by the trade in special marine products. In many places this is leading to severe overfishing and the serious destruction of habitats by, for instance, the excessive removal of corals for the curio trade and physical damage to the reef structure inflicted in the collection of live reef fish. In some cases, the increase in live fish trade has led to the introduction of alien species. It is conceivable that RFBs may be drawn into trade issues, directly or indirectly, through issues related to endangered species (e.g. through CITES) and involvement in responsible trade certification.
34. In the face of increased political pressures developing in support of sustainability, it is likely that increasingly stringent controls on trade may be placed where sources do not meet the sustainability or precautionary requirements to which these countries adhere. In these circumstances, sanctions including the imposition of simple import bans or other non-tariff barriers may be applied by importing countries. This may limit trade from areas subject to regional fishery bodies jurisdictions and indirectly members contributions to the bodies and perhaps the bodies ability to carry out management measures. 18
· Manage marine living resources sustainably for human nutritional, economic and social goals;
· Protect and conserve the marine environment;
· Use preventive, precautionary and anticipatory planning and management implementation;
· Protect and maintain the relationships and dependencies among species; conserve genetic, species and ecosystem biodiversity.25
37. The external factors that derive from ecosystem-based management of fisheries can be addressed from two perspectives: (i) impact of fisheries on ecosystems and (ii) the impact of other sectors on fisheries, as well as the impact of climate change and ozone depletion on fisheries and ecosystem monitoring.
(i) Impact of fisheries on ecosystems
38. The impact of fisheries on the ecosystem are principally due to inappropriate fishing methods and techniques such as the use of non-selective fishing gear, driftnets, explosives and poisons, ghost fishing or other fishing practices that contribute to mortality in non-target components in the community. Other considerations are marine litter, habitat disruption from trawling and dredging as well as badly managed aquaculture resulting in the loss of key habitats such as mangroves.
39. Fishing in deeper waters, in depths below 500m as is the case for the orange roughy,26 is of particular concern. The concern stems from the past level of depletion of biomass in some orange roughy fisheries.
40. The impact of fisheries on the ecosystem has been addressed from several perspectives by some regional fishery bodies. Some RFBs, such as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), link this to the protection of species and habitat, impact of gear and/or non-target, associated and dependent species (NADS) such as seabirds and marine mammals as well as the impact of aquaculture.27
(ii) Ecosystem management effects or impact of other sectors on fisheries
41. Assessment and management of the impact of non-fishery activities on the ecosystem is important to ecosystem-based fisheries management.28 UNEP through its Regional Seas Conventions (RSCs) 29 carries out a series of activities, all of which are relevant to the ecosystem-based management of fisheries. These activities include: monitoring and assessment of land-based pollution, protected areas, endangered species, biodiversity, integrated coastal management, intensive monitoring of marine environmental quality and assessments on impacts of climate change and land-based pollution on the coastal/marine environment. Although the majority of the RSCs specify the concerns for the status of marine living resources and emphasize the need for their protection, none of the conventions deals in a major way with the protection or management of fisheries resources. It should also be noted that some of the initiatives undertaken by RSCs for example the creation of Protected Areas and Marine Reserves, could unduly place resources out of the reach of the population in need for such resources.
42. Regional fishery bodies have not generally considered the impacts of ecosystem management on fisheries. However a number of RFBs have initiated work on the impacts of other sectors on fisheries and some of these together with specific examples for past, ongoing or planned regional activities by RSCs that are directly or indirectly relevant to the management of fishery resources are provided in document: RFB/2/2001/7.
43. The international community exercises de facto recognition of a form of monopoly of countries over the exploitation of certain fish stocks and sea-beds by granting exclusive harvesting rights to members of regional fishery bodies and arrangements charged with their management. Furthermore, the convergence of fisheries management with ecosystem management is a reality. The review reported in document RFB/2/2001/ 7 30 indicates that there is a strong relationship and mutual relevance of the work carried out by RFBs and RSCs31 especially in areas relating to biodiversity of species, habitat, marine environment quality, climate change, land based pollution of the marine environment, and in the monitoring and assessment which applies to these areas. With increasing development/establishment of new information technology and systems which offer integrated ecosystem assessment, it is conceivable that regional fishery bodies as custodians of a given stock or fisheries in a mandated area could build on their strengths and successes to date and begin to explore the extent to which they could take external factors into account in their advisory/regulatory functions.
44. In this regard, RFBs could address the issue by: (i) contributing to regional monitoring and analysis of data and information and also exchange data and information with international organizations such as Regional Seas Conventions in their specific area or region; (ii) exercising greater involvement in a range of control issues related to regional fisheries and environmental management.
45. The requirements for and commitments to long-term sustainable use of the environment are gathering pace and radical changes to the way the oceans are managed are being put in place, at the forefront of which are the geographical bodies, particularly RFBs and RSCs32, 33 that now almost completely cover the oceans and for many lakes (see map). This coverage of all international and shared waters, either directly or indirectly through the use of compatible measures34, offers an initial step built on international law to meet these requirements and commitments. This is particularly significant because in almost all regions intensive monitoring of the quality of the marine environment is carried out, in many instances under the aegis of RSCs and the results are transformed into periodic reports on the state of the marine environment.35 These reports, but in particular the data collected, could provide good background information that may be taken into account by RFBs in ecosystem-based management of fisheries, and thus indirectly address some of the external factors. It could therefore be advantageous if RFBs liaise and share information with other international bodies and programmes, particularly RSCs, which may have information on external factors that would contribute to their analysis and decision-making.36
46. Regional fishery bodies are reviewing their mandates in the context of the provisions of recent international instruments. A number of RFBs are taking into account the precautionary approach in their work or intend to do so in the near future. The precautionary approach applies not only to fish stock management for which many reference points and indicators are available and are being developed. The precautionary approach also concerns general ecosystem issues, including species and trophic structure, environmental health and alternate use issues. Knowledge of the effects of these issues is extremely important because uncertainty in their effects triggers the obligation to apply greater precaution, which ultimately leads to some reduction in fishing opportunities. Several RFBs have not focused on the impact of human activities on the marine ecosystem and the fisheries resources due largely to absence of mandate, capacity and the increased costs implied in ecosystem management. In the event the absence of mandate can be corrected, cooperation between bodies working in the same area/region could be a practical, cost-effective way to address these issues without overburdening each body and without changing drastically existing programmes.
47. Regional fishery bodies could also organize joint technical meetings on subjects of mutual interest with other organizations, such as RSCs, or design and implement joint programmes with sister organizations in their geographical area taking into account their respective mandates, objectives and scope. However, for this to materialize RFBs would need to include ecosystem objectives in parallel with their current conservation objectives of fisheries management. The new objectives should, as appropriate, give emphasis to among others, addressing biodiversity, habitat productivity and marine environmental quality.
48. There is evidence that the international community is willing to address in a practical manner the concept of ecosystem-based management of fisheries. In March 1999, ICES convened an "International Symposium on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing".37 In 2001 the FAO will organize in cooperation with the Government of Iceland and with co-sponsorship by the Government of Norway a Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Ecosystem. This Conference is to be held in October 2001 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Conference is expected to review the best available scientific knowledge on the subject, identify means by which ecosystem considerations can be included in fisheries management, and identify future challenges and relevant strategies on how to implement the ecosystem provisions of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in practical terms. The primary target audience is the decision- and policy- makers in fisheries and ocean management within national and international institutions, including regional fishery bodies and arrangements. The meeting will be informed of the details concerning this Conference during the session.
Report of the Meeting of FAO and Non-FAO Regional Fishery Bodies or Arrangements, Para.45, FAO Fisheries Report No. 597, FIPL/R597
This fact led over 100 countries to sign the 1995 Global Programme of Action to prevent pollution of the marine environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA/LBA). The implementation of the Programme is coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). For further details see http://www/gpa.unep.org.
Report of the Twenty-eighth Session of GESAMP. GESAMP Reports and Studies No. 66. GESAMP/MEA are preparing a study which focuses on problems of ocean environment (A Sea of Troubles). A draft was produced in April 2000 which is not yet citable.
GESAMP recognizes that pollution is neither the only nor necessarily the most severe environmental threat to the health of oceans or aquatic resources. Widespread intensive habitat modification as a result of agriculture and land use practices are more damaging to the environment.
However, pollution by oil is today seen less as a global and more as a local problem even in the case of accidental spills.
Document UNEP/GC.20/19/Add.1, Twentieth Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, 1-5 February 1999.
Reference: Kenchington, R.A. 1990.Managing marine environments. Taylor and Francis, New York. 248p
Hector M. Lupin, "Fish Quality and Safety". State of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2000 (in press).
References: Pitcher, T. J. and P. J. B. Hart. (Editors) 1995. The impact of species change in African Lakes. Chapman and Hall. The Fish and Fisheries Series Vol. 17.
Leppakoski, E., and Mihnea, P. E. 1996. Enclosed seas under man-induced change: a comparison between the Baltic and Black Seas. Ambio 25(6): 380-389p.
Modified slightly from Fagg, T.A., and C. E.Nash. (editors) 1999. A conceptual framework for conservation hatchery strategies for Pacific salmonids. U.S. Dept. Commer, NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-NWFSC-38, 46p.
Hilborn, R. and J. Winton. 1993. Learning to enhance salmon production: lessons from the salmon enhancement program. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50: 2043-2056.
A number of Organizations and regional fishery bodies including FAO, ICES/EIFAC have published Guidelines on species introductions and use of genetically modified organisms. See for example Bartley, D.M. and D. Minchin. 1997. Precautionary Approach to Species Introductions. Sweden/FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No 350/2: 159 - 189p.
The oceans' current systems are known to drive the productive upwellings along the western coastlines of continents. A shift in the intensity and direction of currents can have profound consequences for the depth, temperature and location for upwelling, resulting in changes in the associated ecology of the upwelling.
The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2000. (in press)
The factors may include, inter-alia, overfishing, coral development, runoff from agriculture and logging, high-impact tourism.
Technological advances have significantly contributed to improvements in monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) in areas covered by some regional fishery bodies.
In 1999 the EC for example imposed a ban, on fish imports from Lake Victoria, a region that is the geographical coverage of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO).
A more comprehensive treatment of this subject is provided in Document FI:RFB/2/2001/7 "Ecosystem-based Management of Fisheries: Opportunities and Challenges for coordination between Regional Fishery Bodies and Regional Seas Conventions".
Belsky, M. 1990. Interrelationships of Law in Management of Large Marine Ecosystems. In Sherman, K. and B.D. Cold (Eds.), Large Marine Ecosystems Processes and Yields. "American Association for the Advancement of Science": 224-234p.
Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Conventions of the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.
Article 10.1.1 of the Code calls for the integration of fisheries into coastal area management, including the fragility of coastal ecosystem.
The IPOAs are on the management of fishing capacity, the reduction of incidental catch of seabirds in longline fisheries and for the conservation and management of sharks. An IPOA, on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is being elaborated.
ICES convened a Symposium in March 1999 on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing. The papers at this symposium are published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science "Ecosystem Effects of Fishing" Vol.57 no.3 June, 2000.
These need to be translated into practical objectives, which can be defined in parallel with presently used conservation objectives of fishery management plans. The objectives should focus on the maintenance of biodiversity, habitat productivity and marine environmental quality as conditions for the long-term sustainable development of fisheries.
Orange roughy is a long-lived, slow-growing top predator of continental slope ecosystem and a fish with excellent taste and high concentration of healthy fatty acids.
For a more detailed treatment of the subject see note 19 supra.
These impacts were presented in tables 1 and 2 of this document.
At present there are 11 major regional seas conventions in force and two additional conventions are being negotiated.
See footnote 17 supra.
There are presently 27 active RFBs and negotiations are ongoing for the establishment of an RFB in the South West Indian Ocean to cover non-tuna species. In September 2000, the Convention for the Establishment of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Central and Western Pacific Ocean was adopted. In November 2000 the convention establishing the Southeast Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) was finalized for signature in early 2001.
See footnote 32 supra.
See footnote 28 supra.
Code of Conduct, Article 6.12.
For example the Report of the Twenty-eighth Session of GESAMP, GESAMP Reports and Studies No. 66. See http://gesamp.imo.org/ocean.htm.
The pioneering work by a number of RFBs outlined in Document FI:RFB/2001/ is proof that this is an area where RFBs can make even greater contribution in ensuring not only a healthier aquatic environment but in maintaining, and if possible increasing the productive capacity of the oceans to meet human nutritional needs as well as the objectives of social and economic development.
See footnote 22 supra.