Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

A new ecosystem training course to improve management of fisheries in the Asia-Pacific Region

A new ecosystem training course to improve management of fisheries in the Asia-Pacific Region

Honolulu, United States and Bangkok, Thailand, 10 Jun 2014 -- A training course which contributes to more practical and effective management of fisheries in Asia and the Pacific was launched today by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Essential Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) training course recognizes that traditional stock-based fisheries management approaches have often been ineffective in the complex fisheries of the Asia-Pacific region.

The ecosystem approach offers a practical and effective means to manage fisheries more holistically. It represents a move away from fisheries management that focuses on target species, towards systems and decision-making processes that balance environmental, human and social well-being within improved governance frameworks.

“Many countries and organizations in the region recognize that the ecosystem approach offers the most practical and effective way to manage complex fisheries. However, progress in developing ecosystem-based management plans has been slow, mainly due to a lack of experience and capacity amongst fisheries staff. The Essential EAFM training course has been designed to address these capacity development needs and provides the practical skills, tools and resources to do so,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.   The five-day course is not only targeted at mid-level fisheries and coastal resource managers but also  environmental, economic development and planning staff in recognition that many of the challenges and issues that threaten sustainable fishing fall outside of the mandate of fisheries management agencies.

“The Essential EAFM training course is a long overdue contribution to support fisheries and ecosystem managers in performing their functions.” said Jason S. Link, Senior Scientist for Ecosystem Management at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service. “This regional course will be invaluable for fishery management training and we believe it will become a standard practitioners’ guide in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in fisheries institutions around the world.”   The Essential EAFM course begins with explanations of why a new approach is required to address the many threats and issues facing capture fisheries.  Participants then develop professional planning skills for more effective decision-making. By working through the entire planning process, participants are equipped with an array of tools to develop fisheries management plans that address current demands for food security and livelihoods while protecting marine resources for the future.

Although the training material focuses on Asian coastal marine capture fisheries, the course can be applied to any fisheries system. “By changing the focus and examples, the Essential EAFM course can be easily modified to apply to other marine and inland fisheries and even aquaculture. The principles and the approach to management planning are the same,” said Chris O’Brien, Regional Coordinator of FAO’s Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project (BOBLME).

The course was jointly developed by specialists in fisheries, conservation, resource management and education and training from the BOBLME project, the U.S. Coral Triangle Support Partnership, NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC), and IMA International.   The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center is becoming a regional hub for the Essential EAFM course, training the current and next generation of fisheries managers by delivering the course in fisheries institutions and university faculties throughout the region.

To download the training course materials and for more information All the training course materials are available free of charge and can be found by searching for E-EAFM or simply contact:

They can be directly downloaded from collaborating partner websites at:


  • FAO: Chris O'Brien,
    Regional Coordinator BOBLME Project,
    Tel: +66 84 439 5210
  • NOAA: Dr Rusty Brainard,
    Division Chief, Coral Reef Ecosystem Division,
    Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center,
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Tel: + 1 808 3483760