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In order to control fishery and attain the selected fishing objectives, man can intervene directly only in two ways:

  1. by controlling the total effort;

  2. by changing the distribution of that effort and the different age classes and species making up the stock.

3.1 Selectivity of the Fishery

3.1.1 Age and size of catches

We know that by changing the average age of the catch (and especially the age after which a specie begins to be fished) it is possible to improve the yield of a stock for a given level of effort to some extent and, consequently, to proportionately increase its yield in weight, yield and economic profitability of the fishery (Figure 8). This is the justification for regulations and gear selectivity, i.e., mesh size of trawls or of gillnets, escape hatch of pots, etc. But this method does not constitute the only form of intervention. One could prohibit fishing in areas and seasons in which there is an abundance of too small individuals. Such regulations could be combined with measures designed to prohibit the landing and marketing of sizes below a certain limit.

Although the extent of the improvements which can be achieved in this way is limited (in general hardly more than 10 to 20 percent, especially in multispecies fisheries where it is not possible to fish each specie with the optimum mesh size), they are still not negligible. In fact, they are achieved without any increase in the fishing cost except that caused by application of the regulations. Nevertheless, several fishing methods are not very selective (e.g. seine net fishing). This seriously reduces the possibilities of applying that regulation method.

Figure 8

Figure 8 Effect of changing the age of first catch (or mesh size) on production (upper curves) and yield (lower curves):

  1. first catch, small size
  2. first catch, large size

3.1.2 Species

The multispecies fisheries add to this problem that of optimization of distribution of effort on the various species composing the stock. In fact, the problem of the selectivity of a fishery is wider in scope than the common definition, i.e. how, in a space accessible to one or several fleets possibly applying different gear, exerting different efforts on several species and age classes of the stock, can one improve the distribution of the operations of the available fishing capacity so as to maximize the yield of the resource? Here, besides the methods already mentioned in the preceding section, we may add the regulation of development of new gear (e.g. vertical wide opening trawl) so as to increase the fishing of species which are relatively underexploited (Pope, 1980). The simultaneous reduction of the global costs of fishing is also part of this problem insofar as it determines the development of stocks not yet exploited for economic purposes.

However, applied by itself, selectivity cannot counteract the tendency of fishermen to acquire additional fishing inputs nor, therefore, prevent the dissipation of economic benefits including those resulting from adoption of a regulation on mesh size (section 2.3.2; Figure 6). Consequently, in fisheries management the regulation of selectivity can only be a useful complementary measure, but in no case can it be a substitute for control of the fishing rate.

3.2 Regulations of the Fishing Rate

Control of the fishing rate poses considerable problems of a political, theoretical and operational order. At the technical level the basic difficulty lies in the fact that control of the fishing rate actually corresponds to that overfishing mortality1. Now, this aspect cannot be measured either directly or indirectly, in other words in actual time. One can follow its evolution by observing other factors which are more or less directly linked to it, such as total catches, the biomass, fishing effort, or catch capacities. Conversely, one can try to control fishing mortality by establishing catch quotas or blocking fishing effort or, better still, catch capacities.

Unfortunately there is no strict relationship between fishing mortality and each of these controllable factors when taken individually. In each relationship several other aspects intervene, some of them depending on the fishermen, others on nature. If they are not fully mastered, these factors, which are complementary to that being controlled, will cause enough distortions in the management schemes to bring about their partial failure. The risk is all the more serious in that the conversions between the controllable factors and fishing mortality can only be established after a variable, but considerable, period of observation and analysis. It is therefore, important to anticipate the possible distortions and their magnitude, and all the more so inasmuch as the times between the follow-up of the fisheries and application of suitable corrections to the management schemes will be considerable.

The purpose of the next section is to review the main causes of the specific distortions characterizing the main relations used to control fishing mortality. In this way we shall try to identify their respective advantages and shortcomings in the light of the conditions imposed by the main types of fisheries. In fact, the value of the available methods will very according to the characteristics of the fisheries, the resources available for management, the efforts which their value justifies, or the legal framework in which they operate. In doing this we shall consider how useful it is to simultaneously:

  1. regulate the fishing rate so as to keep the stock at a high level of production;

  2. reduce the production costs involved in achieving the established management objective so as to maximize the net profits, whatever the nature of the objective which has been set; and lastly

  3. facilitate the application of the regulations, particularly by reducing the motives fishermen may have for evading the law, since problems and costs of application have been a major cause of the failure of management schemes so far.

1 Fishing mortality, F, expresses the proportion, in numbers, of individuals removed by fishing, C, in relation to the population being fished, N, during a given period of time, e.g. a year

3.2.1 Catch quotas

This method of regulating the fishing rate is based on the equation:

Y = F . B (1)


Y is the total annual catch
F is the fishing mortality, and
B is the average biomass of the stock.

When natural fluctuations of the biomass are either negligible for the accuracy required, or can be accurately estimated when determining quotas, F can be regulated by fixing a catch ceiling.

This method can be applied in different ways. In its simplest form only the total authorized catch is fixed each year. To the extent that the total catch can be recorded both reliably and quickly (so that the fishing season can be closed as soon as the preestablished quota has been reached), this method makes it possible in principle to preserve the stock at the desired production level. On the other hand, it cannot offset the tendency towards a growth in the cost of catch since each participant is always inclined to increase his catch capacities in order to obtain a larger part of the overall quota or merely to maintain his part. The competition which this method of application allows to persist will have the effect of progressively reducing the fishing season to the point where the weight of the investments and fixed costs will cancel out the net profits produced by the fishery. The specialized literature abounds in examples of progressive shortening of the fishing season in fisheries where this system has been applied (Antarctic whales, season reduced from 121 to 64 days in five years; Gulland, 1974; halibut in the North East Pacific, from nine months to four weeks; Crutchfield and Zellner, 1968), the record probably being set by the North East Pacific herring fishery, fished for roe, where the excess catch capacity is such that the fishing season has been cut down to a period of 15 minutes necessary to each ship to make one seine net cast (Newton, personal communication).

To achieve the disastrous economic effects of such competition, we have naturally come to divide the global quota in national quotas (this was the most commonly used system in the framework of the regional commissions responsible for the main Atlantic international fisheries), by plants (when the entire production passes through a limited number of processing points, e.g., pilchards in Namibia and South Africa; Gertenbach, 1973), by fishing vessels, or even by individual fishermen (herring in the Bay of Fundy, Newton, 1980).

In this way competition between the groups to which the individual quotas are allocated is reduced, leaving it up to these groups to adopt measures enabling them to catch their quota in the best conditions. To eliminate all harmful competition which is liable to persist within groups, we are naturally led to divide the overall authorized catch between each of the individual operators. This leads to the system of so-called individual fishing rights (Christy, 1973).

To the extent that the fishery is not disturbed by other secondary phenomena1, the operators in this regulatory framework should themselves try to minimize the costs of extraction of the quota that has been allocated to them and, hence, to maximize the net individual and global profits. If they are satisfied with their share and are guaranteed access to the fishery in equal conditions, we can expect them also to give their support to the application of the system.

1 When there are seasonal variations in the price or in availability of the stock, fishermen may be inclined to overinvest so that they can concentrate their operations in the most favourable periods

This system, meeting the three criteria listed at the end of the preceding section, is intended, in principle, to provide a satisfactory solution to the difficult problem of rational exploitation of shared fishery resources. It is designed to create a situation similar to that which widely prevails in agriculture where the peasants as owners or farmers of a well-defined portion of the resource, themselves undertake the basic business of management. However, the two systems are different inasmuch as in agriculture it is the resource itself which is allocated, whereas in the system of individual quotas it is the production.

Unfortunately, this method encounters serious difficulties in application. One of the main ones derives from the natural fluctuations of the stock biomass. The equation (1) shows that in order to be able to control fishing mortality (F) by regulating catches (Y) it is essential that the stock biomass (B) remains stable or that its variations be known. Where the latter are sizable, they are liable to create high costs or serious distortions when quotas are established. Here two situations must be considered:

(a)   Seasonal variations in short lifespan species (tropical shrimp, cephalopods, etc.) whose fished phase is mainly composed of a single age class.

For these stocks, catching the same quota is likely to cause very different fishing mortalities depending on how close to the recruitment stage the catch is made. In fact, it will consist of a higher or lower number of individuals depending on the age of the catches. If the fishermen are competing for capture of a single global quota they will tend to concentrate their operations ever closer to the recruitment period, thereby causing a continuous increase in the fishing mortality for the same weight fished. This drawback can be offset, but at the price of making the regulations more complicated, e.g., by dividing up the annual quota into quarterly or other parts so as to ensure that fishing operations are suitably spread over the year.

(b)   Interannual fluctuations of biomasses

Several stocks, especially coastal pelagic species, show very wide long-term variations which at present can scarcely be foreseen accurately enough to make full use of the resource. While it is possible to directly measure the size of the stocks by quantitative acoustical surveys, the time periods needed to screen data, analyse the consequences of the quotas that can be considered, and then to select the final quota cannot all be shortened. These periods are all the more critical for coastal pelagic species inasmuch as, due to the shortness of their exploitation phase, the inertia of these stocks is less than, for example, that of many demersal stocks. Thus in the Namibian pilchard fishery, a mere average time of two years between the variations of the biomass and fixing of annual quotas has doubtless led to underfishing in the period of the stock's natural growth and an intensification of overfishing when it was beginning to decline for natural reasons as well. This phenomenon probably contributed to the collapse of the stock which occurred at the end of the 1970's (Troadec, Clark and Gulland, 1980).

Lastly, and this is doubtless the greatest constraint of the quota system when applied to fisheries, the high mobility of fishing operations, the frequent multiplicity of possible landing or trans-shipment points and, even more, the variability of catches make it very difficult, or even impossible at present, to effectively control the whole catches (weight and identification of species) in many fisheries. We shall not deal here with the technical problems of accurate assessment of the quantities fished. This question, although it is sometimes difficult, e.g. in countries which do not have the expertise necessary to develop functional sampling plans, can be solved. The problem of deliberate falsification of declared catch is much more disturbing. In several international fisheries (North Sea, Eastern Central Atlantic, Southeast Atlantic, etc.) where monitoring and control are carried out independently by the national administrations, there is increasing evidence that such practices are becoming more frequent and the falsifications more serious. They are not always due only to isolated fishermen or shipowners; sometimes certain national administrations, caught between the pressures of a profession having to deal with a difficult economic situation because of the lag in adjustment of such capacities to the productivity of the resource on one hand, and the need to defend the interests of the latter in international competition in the other, can be led to join in these practices.

The problem is all the more serious inasmuch as the determination of the fishing mortalities really suffered by the stock and, therefore, the fixing of appropriate quotas depends on knowing the amount of the catch as a whole. The use of catch declarations for the application of management schemes is a cause of false declaration which will not be solved easily as long as fishermen will have no motivation not to evade the restrictions and will not have the conviction, as well as the necessary evidence for it, that their partners are reporting their real catches accurately. It is to be feared that in several fisheries this is simply impossible at present, and that a number of coastal countries are unable to check the accuracy of the reports of their foreign partners (FAO, 1980) any more than that of their own nationals.

Even purely national fisheries do not escape this difficulty any better (Cram, 1981). The recent attempt to apply the system of individual catch rights to the herring fishery of the Bay of Fundy (Canada) is instructive in this connection (Newton, 1980). In view of the very high value of the product caused by the scarcity of herring and related species following the collapse of a large number of world coastal pelagic stocks, it was tempting for some fishermen and fish processors to fish and process quantities larger than the quotas which had been allocated to them. In spite of the fundamental value of the system and the advantage provided by the fact that it was applied to a homogeneous community of fishermen, it was impossible to overcome the practical difficulty of controlling catches. It is possible, but not certain, that this is only a necessary stage to the growth of awareness by the fishermen, who are the ones most concerned, of the conditions required for sound operation of the system.

These undeniable shortcomings should not lead us to reject the system. In the fisheries where the stock is fairly stable and where catches can be controlled1, it is likely to provide a practical method for regulation of fishing effort, e.g. application of this method to the surf clam fishery of the east coast of the United States is currently being planned (Christy, pers. comm.)2.

3.2.2 Regulation of fishing effort and control of catch capacities

Briefly, this method is based on the following equation:

F = nqf = nqpt       (2)


F is the fishing mortality exerted by a vessel,
q, the catch coefficient, i.e. the fishing mortality exerted for each unit of fishing effort,
f the fishing effort exerted by each vessel,
p their individual fishing power,
t their actual fishing time during the period under consideration, and n the number of vessels.

It can be seen that in order to control F it is necessary to control the four factors q, p, t and n or, at least, to be able to allow for their evolution.

This equation illustrates the limitations of regulations based solely on regulation of fishing times (fishing seasons, limited number of fishing days or hours per week or per day). These limits are comparable to those described for overall catch quotas (Section 3.2.1); although reducing the fishing time alone can immediately decrease the effort exerted on a stock (at the price, however, of a relative increase in the fixed costs borne by the fishermen), the improvement will only be temporary since the reduction in fishing time is bound to be offset by a comparable growth in catch capacities. In fact, the control of fishing times can hardly be justified except in the case of management of work time for social purposes or to temporarily gain time when one has not been able to reduce the catch capacities at the desired time since time is limited by nature.

1 Which will be difficult in widely dispersed artisanal fisheries and in those countries, especially developing countries, whose administrative and monitoring capacities are small

2 One can nevertheless point out that, for a sedentary specie of this type, the direct allocation of the resource (see Section 3.2.3) could be more suitable

In principle, it would be sufficient to determine the fishing power of each authorized type of vessel and to limit their number to a level corresponding to the maximum effort sought. This could be done through the issue of fishing licenses (depending on the nature of the fishery and the influence of the different factors in determining the final fishing power) to fishermen, vessels, or for fishing gear (e.g. hooks for longline or trap fishing, length of seine nets, etc.) or a combination of all of them.

In practice, the application of this simple principle runs into various operational difficulties. In fact, the potential fishing power (p) of a fishing unit depends on a large number of physical characteristics of a vessel (tonnage, engine power, fish-finding equipment, etc.) and its fishing gear (trawl, traps, hooks, etc.) as well as the abilities of its crew (FAO, 1976). Now, it is neither possible nor wise to block all the physical characteristics by which a fisherman can improve the fishing power of his boat. First of all, because this would mean foregoing technological improvements and the resulting gains in efficiency. Secondly because, even assuming that this were possible, the fisherman always has the possibility of improving his performances by making better use of the catch methods at his disposal. With a better knowledge of stocks and their movements, of fish behaviour, etc., particularly through an improvement in exchanges of information within the fleet - he can distribute his fishing operations better in time and space and make better use of changes in concentration of the fish. In this way he will exert a higher fishing mortality with the same means and in the same time.

Furthermore, when one or several characteristics of the fishing unit are controlled, the fisherman will try to increase its fishing power by strengthening the remaining free factors (e.g. fish finding equipment). His success will depend on the possibilities that exist for substitution between one or more controlled factors and those left free. Such possibilities will be scarce in a trap fishery where the number and size of the traps will be regulated; they will be considerable in a trawl fishery in which only tonnage or engine power will be blocked.

The schemes to limit fishing effort must therefore recognize:

Therefore the regulation plan should be conceived as a dynamic system, i.e. capable of accommodating the desirable development of the factors determining the total actual effort of vessels, while at the same time controlling the fishing mortality exerted by the one or several fleets being managed as a whole. To achieve this it can be based on the fact that in a well established fishery gains in efficiency are often progressive. In assessing them and following up their subsequent evolution, it should then be possible to offset the effects by acting, for example, on the number of licenses issued, and on certain clauses imposed on them (control of factors determining the fishing power). The plan should foresee, in particular, the possibility of transferring licenses from one category of fishing power to another, or from one fishing method to another (since the method can be applied to heterogeneous fleets). As a general rule it will be preferable to have a system with several categories of fishing power in order to allow the fleet to develop and to avoid a sudden increase of the fleet's fishing power when the system is applied. Such an increase would actually be inevitable in the event of a single limit, since all fishermen are inclined to immediately acquire vessels having a power corresponding to the established limit.

To assess the gains of efficiency in each class of vessel and compare their respective fishing powers it will be necessary to monitor the relative performances of the vessels in the different categories. These assessments could be made on appropriately selected samples. It is not necessary, in fact, to ensure total coverage of the whole fleet in collecting catch and cpue statistics, a requirement which is one of the serious drawbacks of the catch quota system. The overall performance (catch, effort) of the fishery taken as a whole could be extrapolated in proportion to the number of licensed vessels, an aspect easier to control in its entirety than catch because it is made up of larger units which are easier to monitor. In application an effort will be made to anticipate the gains of efficiency (changes of q) in order to offset the inevitable delays between the follow-up of the fishery and the fixing of the maximum catch capacity as well as the distortions which influence their relationship.

The serious drawback of this method lies in the difficulty of effectively controlling those gains of efficiency. While various programmes for limitation of catch capacities have managed to slow down growth of fishing effort considerably, those which have succeeded satisfactorily are still the exception. Although this goal has practically been reached, for example in the Japanese high seas fisheries, it must be recognized that for a long time this was accomplished in a context where the catch capacities that had become excessive in the fully developed fisheries could be transferred to other fisheries (Kasahara, 1964; Asada, 1973). However, the great advantage of this regulation mechanism is that it directly attacks the cause of overfishing itself. In trying to block investments at the fishing gear level, the overall fishing costs are limited while at the same time keeping the catches at the level considered appropriate for the stock.

The system is better adapted, compared to catch quotas, to prevent overfishing in the event of unexpected decreases of the stock's biomass. The equation (2) suggests, and various simulation studies (Walter, 1976) prove that, at least in the case of demersal stocks,1 fishing mortality is kept within narrower limits by blocking catch capacity than by setting limits on the catch. This means that limiting the means of capture is, generally speaking, more reliable from the point of view of conservation of the resource and less demanding as far as its monitoring is concerned. Provided that we have the possibility or the authority necessary for eliminating excess catch capacities, it should be possible to derive substantial profits from them in relation to the research costs necessary for monitoring stocks. Such a characteristic is advantageous in countries having scarce research resources.

Lastly, it can be expected that once the clauses concerning access to the fishery have been adopted (Section 4.1), the fishermen admitted to participate in it will tend in principle to give their support to a system likely to lead to an improvement of their income and to a security and stability they had never known previously. In fact, in several fisheries (sein fisheries in South Africa and Namibia, Gertenbach, 1973; lobster fishery in Western Australia, Meany, 1978) the systems for control of participation were established at the initiative of fishermen's or ship owners' associations themselves.

Although in theory this distinction may not be peculiar to one or the other of the systems examined, we find that in practice the limitation of catch capacities has often been applied to large groups which include several stocks and, perhaps different gear (Japanese tuna fishing, salmon fishing in British Columbia, etc.) in the same management. For example, the licensing system through which Japan administers all its worldwide deep sea fisheries only identified 17 management units at the beginning of the 1970's (Asada, 1973). Contrary to this strategy of concentrating intervention on the means of capture, it has been more frequent to attempt, by the use of quotas, to transpose in management the results of assessments covering stock units smaller than those fished. This practice has two major drawbacks:

1 In the case of many coastal pelagic stocks we find an increase of their catchability when the size of the stock decreases: this drop in total abundance is manifested not only by a decrease of density but also by a reduction of its area of distribution or in the number of banks composing it (Saville, 1980)

  1. It does not always take due account of the incompatibility (which can be attributed to the impossibility of fully exploiting stocks fished during the same fishing operations) of quotas set independently for the different stock unit and, more generally, of the constraints appearing at the level of fleets and their operations.

  2. It assumes the existence of administrative capabilities able to handle a group of small management units, whereas such capability is lacking in the majority of countries.

Relatively too much attention has been paid, therefore, to accuracy and detail and not enough to the practicability of measures and their ultimate efficiency. However, the preparation of a catch capacity control scheme should preferably proceed from the whole to the particular and not the contrary, and should successively consider:

  1. the identification of large fisheries which can be administered separately;

  2. the assessment and comparison of the factors influencing fishing power (number and characteristics of gear; some ship characteristics; tonnage, engine power, etc.; number of fishermen; etc.);

  3. the selection, based on those factors, of the elements (vessels, gear, fishermen) and the grid of categories on which the licensing system intended to limit individual and global fishing effort will be established;

  4. eventual establishment of the limits to be imposed on the fishery as a whole and on the categories of boats composing it, with regard to the exploitable stocks and fishing zones. This can be done through clauses attached to each license which will define, in particular:

The clauses concerning authorized fishing zones and seasons will serve to fix both the resources allocated to each fishery or vessel category and to reduce the conflicts, especially between gear, likely to arise between the different fleets. Thus one would start with a simple overall scheme which one would progressively perfect on the basis of the experience acquired from its application and additional studies.

These advantages should not lead us to underestimate the difficulties of applying this fishing control mechanism. These difficulties (particularly political reluctance as well as the costs of application of the system) will need to be assessed accurately and compared to the benefits to be expected. One will then be able to deal first of all with the regulation of the fisheries likely to produce the largest net benefits.

In analysing these difficulties we must distinguish between those which are specific to the method itself and those which are inherent in regulation of the fishing rate in general. Any management scheme must recognize that the limited character of the resource implies that of its exploitation and, therefore, the regulation of participation in it. The control of access to it will raise the problem of distribution of the net benefits which will be derived from the regulation of fishing. This question will be discussed in Chapter 4; it raises problems which are highly complex at the political and social level, independently of the mechanisms selected to regulate effort.

Management plans explicitly recognizing that a properly administered fishery (as well as the concessions temporarily allocated for extensive aquaculture) will produce an economic added value, and that beyond an acceptable level of development it is advisable to prevent the reinvestment of that added value in the fishery, and that this added value should return to the owner of the resource (the State, as the representative of society, or the fishermen; see Chapter 4) are still the exception to the rule. This situation can probably be explained by the fact that, since without management the fisheries provide only a marginal income to the fishermen, the question of removing the added value and, more simply, even the recognition of its existence, for a long time appeared to be politically premature and academic.

1 However, the application of such measures is likely to encounter the same difficulties as those previously described for catch quotas

However the question is important for the success of the plans itself. First of all, because the clauses on access to the fishery will directly affect the possibility of access by certain socio-professional groups and, therefore, the distribution of incomes among the present or potential operators. These consequences cannot reasonably be opposed to the principle of regulation of access to a fishery. In fact, the evolution of the latter, whether it occurs without management measures or results from incentives adopted in the context of development plans, will have entirely comparable effects on the participation in the fisheries: thus, for example, the development of a trawler fishery could injure artisanal fishery. Secondly, because the assignment of the yield or taxation of it by the State can serve as a basis for the mechanism determining access to the fishery (see Chapter 4). Lastly because, as has been pointed out above, management must prevent the reinvestment of the added value once the level of development corresponding to the selected management objective has been attained; by taxing the added value, the authority responsible for management will make its task much easier; otherwise, the pressures for overequipment and overcapitalization will only be stronger.

The real difficulty of this fishery regulation mechanism lies in maintaining permanent control over gains in efficiency, whether due to technological innovations or improvement of fishing tactics, i.e. in the regular administration of transfers of licenses within the same management unit, from one size category of boat to another and, eventually, from one fishing method to another. More research and experience (which could be acquired from the execution of pilot projects) are needed here. It is important to recognize this dynamic, providing flexible management systems which leave to the fleet its ability to adapt and develop while at the same time being able to control the total effort it exerts. This means that there must be an authority having decision-making powers and the support of the main parties involved in order to withdraw catch capacities which have become excessive. So far these conditions have only been found in a small number of national fisheries (South Africa, Australia, Canada, USA, Japan, Namibia, etc.) (Pearse, 1979; Rettig and Ginter, 1978).

In theory the independence and authority of the central administration will be greater vis-à-vis foreign fleets1. In such cases the national administration has considerable leeway for mobilizing each year the desired number of vessels with appropriate characteristics to attain the established management objective (Doucet, Pearse and Troadec, 1981). This can be achieved, for example, through auction systems enabling the administration to bring the most efficient foreign fleets into competition with one another and therefore likely to submit the most attractive bids and produce the highest income. At present the countries with abundant resources seem to be in a strong position in the negotiation of cooperation agreements, given the excess catch capacities of countries operating long-range action fleets. It is possible that the favourable position of the former may decline once the latter have eliminated these excess capacities. However, there are few fisheries which have recognized the advantages of maximizing such income, whatever the form (in cash or kind) in which it is received and the need, in order to obtain it, to operate at the level of the total fishing effort. This formula for the administration of foreign participation is still far from fully exploited by those countries whose first management objective is the maximization of the net economic income and which do not yet have sufficient catch capacity of their own.

1 However, the signing of fishery agreements frequently introduces considerations extraneous to the fishery sector. Thus in recent agreements advantages which are political or economic, but affect sectors outside fishery, have been obtained by certain coastal countries in exchange for access to exploitation of their resources

National fisheries are still far from being able to offer the same mobility either for investments (vessels) or labour (fishermen). So the danger of over-equipment and overexploitation is even greater. So long as the national fisheries as a whole have possibilities for expansion, transfer from one over-crowded management unit to another which is still in an expansion phase can be applied. For example, Japan was able to redeploy its excess catch capacities and harmonize the development of its deep seas fisheries after the Second World War in this way (Kasahara, 1964; Asada, 1973). When such possibilities are exhausted there arises the thorny problem of withdrawing the catch capacities corresponding to steady gains of efficiency. Although this observation does not provide any solution, it will be noted that the question will arise just as acutely in an unmanaged fishery but that in a well-run fishery the recourse to subsidies to allow the withdrawal of excess capacities will be fully justified by the prospects such subsidies offer for maintaining the fishery in sound economic condition. Furthermore, the cost of such necessary withdrawal programmes should be able to be covered by the added value produced by the fishery. In fact, such measures (buying back licences in order to withdraw excess catch capacities) have already been adopted unilaterally by the profession in a number of Japanese fisheries, demonstrating the value of management for the profession as a whole.

One may wonder why there has not been more frequent recourse to the system of regulation of effort and control of catch capacities, and why the quota system has been mostly applied in international fisheries. It has often been argued that the catch represented a common measure of participation in the fishery; in this sense it would, therefore, be less controversial and so more acceptable to all the partners than fishing effort. However, experience has shown that the possibilities of under-declaration of catches were likely to introduce distortions at least comparable to those attaching to the difficulties of assessing fishing effort. The real reason appears to lie elsewhere: in the international fisheries the parties have never agreed, even implicitly, on long-term schemes for distribution of the resources and participation in their exploitation. In these conditions, i.e., in a competition intended, in principle, to remain open, the means of catch represented the main instrument for countries to defend their rights over the share which they considered should or could be their due. So it was out of the question for the countries to obstruct this mechanism. The respective attitudes of the coastal countries and those operating deep sea fleets, expressed during scientific meetings organized by ICNAF to compare the merits of the two systems, is significant in this respect (ICNAF, 1973). The researchers of the coastal countries advocated regulation of fishing through that of effort; those of the countries operating long-range fleets proved to be in favour of control of catches.

Under the old regime it was tempting therefore, for the partners who were more efficient or better established in the fishery to argue in favour of the advantages of the global quota, justifying it by the shared nature of the resource and the factor of progress represented by competition. At that time the system of a single quota or country quota represented, in comparison with that of limitation of effort and catch capacity, the maximum of what was politically acceptable. Consequently management could not go beyond the simple conservation of resources and, at best, direct sharing of the accepted total catch according to formulas which could be revised each year (Troadec, in preparation). If this explanation was justified, it can be supposed that the legal status of shared fisheries (fisheries based on shared stocks, e.g., those under the responsibility of the European Economic Community) will lead to the adoption of systems providing for the limitation and division of catch capacities by country.

3.2.3 Allocation of the resource (biomass)

We have seen (in Section 3.2) that the application of the individual catch quota system to fisheries encountered difficulties. But the advantage of the concept, i.e., that of putting the operator in a position which will encourage him to minimize the costs of his exploitation himself, remains. Where the resource (biomass) itself can be shared between the operators, they should also be able to provide themselves for most of the management and, at the same time, the development of the fishery. This solution has the great merit of considerably reducing the cost and complexity of monitoring for the central authority. Unfortunately, in fisheries the applicability of this method is reduced by the mobility of the species which hinders the allocation of specific portions of stocks directly to the fishermen. There are some stocks, however, above all those whose fished phase is sedentary or scarcely mobile, which afford this possibility. After regulation of the catches and direct limitation of fishing effort, this section briefly describes that third form of management.

The degree to which the stock is sedentary during the fishing phase will directly determine the possibility of dividing up the resource and the responsibility for its exploitation among the fishermen, either individually or in small groups (villages, cooperatives, professional groups, etc.). For the system to be viable, i.e., in order that each fisherman or group of fishermen can be directly concerned with the sound exploitation of his lot, it is necessary that within each lot the exploitation procedures should directly affect the corresponding lot of the resource and its future yields and have relatively little influence on the stock and catches of the neighbouring lots. When these conditions exist, the resource can be divided. This approach is, or was, current practice in several traditional fisheries. In Japan such a system and the allocation of exclusive fishing rights in particular sectors for catch of the more mobile species and for extensive aquaculture are the basis of coastal fisheries management (Herrington, 1971; Asada, 1973). In Brittany (France) the cutting of seaweed was allocated, under customary law, by groups of rocks (Arzel, in preparation). More recently but in the same spirit, the allocation of exclusive fishing rights has been adopted in Italy to control the clam (“vongole”) fishery (D. Levi, pers. com.). In Sweden, the rights to fish natural oyster banks were traditionally attached to the landholding on the adjacent coast (Lindquist, pers. com.).

In order to allocate exclusive fishing rights over sections of the resource, the stock need not necessarily be strictly sedentary or sessile. It is enough that the exchanges between the sections be sufficiently small so that the future catches of each fisherman or group of operators making up an exploitation unit should be influenced more by the forms of his own activity than by the exploitation in the neighbouring lots.

In this connection, the example of the management scheme developed by the Maine (USA) lobster fishermen themselves (Acheson, 1975) is instructive. They unofficially, but efficiently, control access to their fishery and have allocated the resource to themselves by dividing among themselves the fishing zone among the villages on the coast. In each village the access to the fishery is strictly controlled by the community itself. At present there are two predominant systems of territorial division: the traditional system by which the fishing territories of each village are strictly limited without much overlapping; the recent tendency, by which the limits are becoming more spread out offshore and some overlapping of fishing operations conducted by each village is accepted on the periphery of the territories. It is instructive to compare the fishing regimes prevailing under each of the two systems and their consequences. We find that, by comparison with what occurs in the more penetrable territories, in the strictly delimited fiefs the fishermen have frequently reduced their individual fishing time by themselves (number of sea trips per year), without it affecting their catches. Furthermore, the comparison of the length frequency histograms of catches taken in the two types of territory show that the stock in the strictly delimited sectors is older on the average, which is an indicator of less intensive exploitation.

Thus the fishermen were able by themselves to:

To be able to apply this method it is therefore, not necessary that the resource be strictly sedentary. However, the more mobile the species in its fished phase and the larger the area of distribution of the stock, the wider will be the exploitation units that can be managed separately and the higher will be the number of corresponding groups of fishermen. This enlargement of the units will work against the exercise of self-discipline and community behaviour in each group; as the latter increase, the individual motives for competition and discrepancies between individual interests and the common good will emerge. However, even for species which can only be managed as large groups (e.g., small pelagic species), the possibilities of developing responsibility - especially the delegation of a part of the management function afforded by the assignment of the resource to a group of operators should not be neglected.

The distribution, mix and migration patterns of species will thus influence the size of the fishermen's communities able to collectively undertake the management of the stocks concerned, and the extent and terms of the conflicts of interest liable to oppose them to one another. These questions will be analysed in Section 4.2; in fact, given approximately the same scale, the influence of the mobility of stocks on competition between fishermen and the usefulness and conditions of their cooperation arise in the same terms in national fisheries as in those affecting stocks which the countries share.

The regimes under which exclusive fishing rights are assigned (for fishing mobile species) to particular operators (fishermen or communities) in certain fishing zones are often classified under this management system. In this case the rights concern the use of a fixed number of gear (fixed nets, beach nets, rafts to attract tuna, etc.) with specific characteristics. From the administrative standpoint, the system shows marked similarities with that of direct allocation of the resource. The allocation of such exclusive fishing rights in certain demarcated zones is also likely to regulate the fishing rate, result in net profits, and involve the fishermen in management. However, from the point of view of management theory, this system is similar to the system for licensing and regulation of fishing effort described in the previous section. Because of the mobility of the species, there is not, and indeed there cannot be, an allocation of the resource itself nor direct participation of the fishermen in the adjustment of the means and costs of exploitation to the productivity of the resource. The authority responsible for management will always have to fix and administer the number, density, distribution, and the characteristics determining the fishing power of the authorized gear so that the total catch capacities do not go beyond the maximum limit necessary to reach the selected fishing rate.

The allocation of public land in concessions for extensive coastal aquaculture, e.g., shellfish farming or cage production, can perhaps be an intermediate case. In general, at least as much as the site (which is fixed), it is the environment (which is mobile) on which the stock depends (provided to it by the exploiter) for its development; the environment may constitute the basic part of the shared resource. It will then need to be managed by a central authority. Although the sites can usually be allocated to individual operators, the intervention of this authority will still be necessary to determine the density and optimum conditions for use of the sea space and for the preservation of the productivity of this sector (control of pollution, optimal density and distribution of cages and shellfish farming concessions, etc.).

The last point to be considered in the setting up and management of systems for leasing the resource is the determination of the suitable fishing rate and the ability of operators to set in appropriately themselves. For some stocks such as algae, the frequency, intensity and methods of cutting (to ensure good regrowth of the algae) may have been established by experience (Arzel, in preparation). An optimum exploitation rate could then be applied independently by the fishermen. For others, the rate of fishing mortality (F = Y/B, equation (1)) is more complex, just as it will be more difficult to fix the procedures for attaining it. Scientific support will be needed to determine these conditions (individual catch quota, age and species selection) of optimum exploitation. Such support will become a normal necessity if the biomass is likely to vary appreciably under the influence of natural factors and the need for yearly adjustment of the regulations.

The management of fishing and extensive aquaculture (originally intended to remain concentrated in the coastal areas) should gradually depend more and more on the allocation of exclusive (but not necessarily permanent) rights to individual fishermen or groups of fishermen over specific geographic sectors. Such assignment can be achieved in different ways, e.g., allocation of the resource itself, fishing licences, fish farming concessions, catch quotas. Since the different types of utilization and exploitation of the biological production of this area are partly contradictory (trawling, artisanal fishing with fixed gear, fish farming concessions, etc., are irreconcilable), the management of extensive fisheries and aquaculture will necessarily have to be integrated. Their application should be handled by the same administration. For the same reasons, basic studies on the methods of allocating resources and the regulation of exploitation of the live material in the coastal sea space, would gain from being conducted simultaneously by the same research institution.

3.2.4 Economic mechanisms for the control of fishing

We have already seen (Section 2.1.2) that all effective control of fishing leads to the production of a net economic yield attached to the intrinsic value of the resource, i.e., of a plus-value being added to the ordinary return on the capital and labour needed for its exploitation. This relationship can be applied conversely, e.g., the fishing rate to which a fishery is subjected can be indirectly controlled by directly removing the added value. In theory, if one removes the income corresponding to the desired fishing rate, the fishery will become stabilized at this level since the overall production costs (including the removal of the added value) will then be equal to the value of the catch.

In practice, it is difficult to employ such a mechanism directly on a national unmanaged fishery in order to improve it. Economically and politically, the temporary increase in costs and the simultaneous reduction of employment which is involved in the reduction of effort necessary to that improvement will not be acceptable to the fishermen. On the other hand, one can envisage setting up such a system by covering the excess costs imposed on the fishermen during the reconstruction phase of the fishery. Once the fishery has been brought back to the desirable level of exploitation this intervention mechanism will take full effect.

The added value can be removed:

In the first case, after having determined the optimum level of catch one could either fix the fee giving the right to fish each section of the total catch at an amount corresponding to the estimated amount of the added-value, or else, by a bidding system, allow the total amount of the fees to become established at the level of the earnings. The latter formula, which is more flexible, seems in principle well adapted to handle the participation of foreign vessels; if there is enough competition the more efficient ships will be in a position to make the most attractive offers. This method should make it possible to increase the income not only by regulating fishing effort, but also by mobilizing the vessels which are the most efficient and therefore, most likely to make the catches established at the lowest cost.

From a psychological point of view, it is much more difficult to collect the addedvalue from the fishermen after they have made their catch. Nevertheless it can be collected if the fishermen are not actually paid the income. In the planned economy countries, the State can regulate the fishing rate by control of the unit prices paid to the fishermen. In this way a resource rent is extracted; it will be expressed in the form of a low-cost protein supply to the population. Christy et al. (1981) give a good example of taxation imposed indirectly on the skipjack tuna fishery in the Maldives which, together with tourism, constitutes the main resource of the country. Most of the production is exported. The Government handles the marketing. By applying the official rate in local currency at the time of purchase, the Government only pays the fishermen about half of the actual export price. It is thus able to directly collect the added value which it uses in practice to subsidize the import products of prime necessity (cereals, babyfood, marine engines for fishery, etc.); in the other direction, this is done by applying, the official rate of local currency in calculating the local selling price of imported products.

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