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Some examples are given below which draw freely on reports on the mode of operation of a number of management bodies, as given in Anon (1992), Horwood and Griffith (1992), and from personal experience. No attempt is made to suggest that their modality of operation is always that briefly summarized here, no evaluation of the performance of these bodies is offered. The only objective evaluation of the performance of a management body must rest on the evidence of the state of resources under their jurisdiction.

Fisheries Management in northern European Community waters

An outline of the procedure followed by the European Community (EC) for resources within its Common Fishing Zone in the North Atlantic is given in Anon (1992), in which advice from ICES is incorporated. This, subject to correction, appears to incorporate the following flow of advice and decision-making:

Assessments made by national staff are reconciled in ICES working groups, and later in the Advisory Committee on Fishery Management (ACFM); both made up of resource scientists where EC staff sit as observers. A range of options for TACs is then presented to the Scientific and Technical Committee for Fisheries (STCF) made up of EC staff and national resource advisors. Here the debate widens to consider other technical (e.g. fishing gear) and economic issues. The reports of the ACFM and STCF are reviewed by EC staff, and initial proposals for TACs are discussed with senior representatives on member country administrations. At the Council of Ministers, national shares are agreed on, preferential treatment may be accorded for socioeconomic reasons, and some quota swapping may occur. The national shares agreed to are subsequently allocated to stakeholders in the national fisheries concerned. In a sense, although more complex, the above sequence follows the Standard Management Format with, however, the possibility of multiple reviews at different levels in the management decision tree.

Evolution of the management framework for domestic Canadian east coast fisheries.

In the 1970s, the management process began with the regular re-analysis of the current state of the stocks by individual scientists in federal fisheries laboratories, who used commercial statistics, biological samples and survey data to assess the state of stocks. Scientists were assigned responsibilities for assessment of the resource in question, and came under the supervision of the Regional Directors of fisheries research. A panel of government scientists (The Canadian Atlantic Fisheries Scientific and Advisory Committee) provided the first review process of these assessments of individual stocks. CAFSAC was structured as a series of sub-committees dealing with specific resources or problem areas, and met at least once annually to review assessments prepared by scientists. These were further reviewed and approved by a CAFSAC steering committee made up of the chairmen of individual sub-committees in the Regional Directors and others.

Government-industry groups, such as the east-west groundfish committee with membership of industry and participation of government fishery scientists, economists and fishery protection officers was responsible for reviewing the assessment recommendations, and advised on allocation of catches/access rights to the various fleets. The Minister of Fisheries had the responsibility for the final proposals emerging from this process. On occasions when problems arose, it had sometimes been the practice of a Minister to appoint a special Board of Enquiry or ad hoc Governmental Commission to review a particular area of controversy; this ad hoc group usually consisted of one or more distinguished individuals from outside the Federal Fisheries Service. More recently, CAFSAC has been terminated and the Minister has set up a Fishery Resource Conservation Council (Anon 1993) to take on a special role in overviewing the assessment process. This appears to be a move away from the Standard Format in the direction hypothesised in section 4.2.1.

The Regional Management Councils in the United States

Here the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (The Magnuson Act), lays out a procedure for managing fish stocks within the US Fishery Conservation Zone. Regional Management Councils, dominated by representatives from the fishing industry and fishermen, with government technical assistance, take management decisions under the guidance of an agreed management plan for the fishery. The Plan which includes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is drafted by experts, specifies who are the stakeholders in the fishery, and is supposed to cover all important aspects required for long-range fishery management, such as biological, fishery, sociological, legal and economic information, and is agreed to in advance by stakeholders (Costello and Pulos 1979). The Plan provides a clear definition of overfishing (e.g. a target harvest rate or stock level) and rebuilding programmes for stocks that are currently overfished. One must suppose that the Plan, once approved, is in some sense, a dominant document, in deference to which the Council voluntarily constrains the management options available to it (Fig 3).

In some cases, the success of this management procedure has been hampered in the past (see e.g. Gimbel 1994), by open access conditions, although some management plans (e.g. those for Atlantic Surf Clams) are now employing closed lists of fishermen or vessels to limit access. As noted, the management plan is intended to constrain short-term management measures taken by the Fishery Management Authority; in this case the Council, so that long term management goals are not compromised. The fact that this management procedure has not always worked, e.g. for groundfish resources in the Northwest Atlantic (FAO 1992a; 1993), may be in part due to a lack of an essential tool, notably measures to control or regulate fishing effort or access.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) Revised Management Procedure

Scientific advice within the IWC had early on proceeded beyond simply passing updated assessments of stock status to decision makers. The Commission had realized that in order to evaluate the performance of the fishery under conditions of uncertainty, not only the stock status but the management procedure itself must be included in the model of the ‘fishery’. This was embodied in the ‘Revised Management Procedure’ (RMP). The Commission reformulated its main objectives as follows (Kirkwood 1993, Donovon 1993):

-   The highest continuing yield from the stock,

-   Stability of catch limits, for the orderly development of the whaling industry,

-   An acceptable risk that a stock not be depleted below some chosen level so that the risk of extinction is not seriously increased by exploitation.

To meet these objectives in a risk-averse manner, the Commission adopted a procedure, the catch limit algorithm (CLA), which specifies the way in which catch limits are set from the required information. The CLA recognises that there may a wide range of estimates for stock status, and seeks to assess the likelihood of the various values. The stability of catches is addressed by setting catch levels for five-year periods. As new information is acquired, in particular sight or visual surveys of abundance (given that the harvesting of most whole stocks is under moratorium), population estimates are revised. The CLA, plus several other rules, e.g. regarding stock boundary delimitation, allocation of catches, timing of reviews, form the Revised Management Procedure (RMP), which the Scientific Committee recommended to the IWC in 1993.

The philosophy underlying this approach appears to be that the net performance of an assessment model, a set of management measures, the efficiency of surveillance and enforcement, and (presumably) the management structure, can be determined in combination by Bayesian trials. The RMP is also aimed at reducing the subjectivity, and thus the potential for political interference, in the management procedure.

This example is used to make the point that the ‘rules’ embedded within an obligatory resource and management procedure, if applied in a real world situation, would presumably constrain managers to ecologically acceptable responses that are compatible with a predetermined level of risk. The RMP acts as an overall constraint on year to year, short-term management measures.

The RMP historically anticipates the use of risk-averse strategies elsewhere, but still retained the ‘deterministic’ structure of management advice (Kirkwood 1993). What were in effect, Limit Reference Points (LRPs) were specified, and an attempt was made to generate a single numerical value for allowable catch that was ‘precautionary’. Kirkwood also notes that although this semi-automatic procedure for computing allowable catches worked for a few years, there were problems in achieving agreement on the MSY and on current and initial stock levels. A significant disadvantage of such a procedure, is that it does not accommodate unexpected events. Clearly, when there are ‘surprises’ due to unusual environmental or fishery-driven events, a simulation-based, ‘automatic management procedure’, or set of rules, cannot be effective without a review committee to oversee its function.

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) system for dolphin by-catch in the purse seine fishery of the Eastern Pacific Ocean

The IATTC Secretariat regularly assesses the tuna stocks of the Eastern Central Pacific, but the total tuna quota is no longer a function of potential yield estimates, but is now largely an indirect consequence of a global quota on incidental dolphins kills during ‘dolphin sets’ on tuna schools associated with these mammals.

An Intergovernmental Agreement was established by the Signatory Nations of IATTC who meet annually to decide on global dolphin bycatch quotas, and on infractions and sanctions to be taken against those exceeding these quotas; and to appoint members of an International Review Panel (IRP). Member nations send the IATTC Secretariat and the IRP, a list of vessels which require dolphin quotas. The IRP is drawn from non-member nations of IATTC, and is made up of a specified mix of national directors of marine institutes, fishing industry and environmental community representatives. The IRP meets 3–4 times a year, and from a list of qualified skippers, decides which boats qualify for a specified individual limit to dolphin kills as a by-catch to surface tuna sets. A dolphin kill record is reported to the respective fishing nations by on-board observers. Sanctions are applied against boats infringing these quotas after legal/administrative process.

The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

The CCAMLR Convention acts as the controlling or dominant structure, limiting those options legally available to the Commission. Article II of the Convention spells out a number of criteria that must be respected in setting fisheries regulations, as seen in the following excerpts:

“Any harvesting and associated activities in the area to which this Convention applies shall be conducted in accordance with..… the following principles of conservation:

a)   prevention of the decrease in the size of any harvested population to levels below those which ensure its stable recruitment. For this purpose its size should not be allowed to fall below a level close to that which ensures the greatest net annual recruitment;

b)   maintenance of the ecological relationships between harvested, dependent and related populations…….and the restoration of depleted populations to the levels defined in sub-paragraph (a) above; and

c)   prevention of changes or minimization of the risk of changes in the marine ecosystem which are not potentially reversible over two or three decades, taking into account the state of available knowledge of the direct and indirect impact of harvesting……with the aim of making possible the sustained conservation of Antarctic marine living resources”.

In the case of krill, the intention is to keep the biomass at a higher level than would be the case if safe single species harvesting of krill alone were the objective, in order to provide for the needs of predators with restricted forage ranges, and to focus on avoiding the lower end of the range of likely future biomasses (CCAMLR 1993). We see here therefore, the Convention spelling out limits to management action. Again, unexpected ‘surprises’ may occur which were not anticipated in formulating the Convention, and these could only be allowed for at the risk of making the Convention rather restrictive on resource harvesting.

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