Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

1. Institutional Framework (Article 10.1)

"States should ensure that an appropriate policy, legal and institutional framework is adopted to achieve the sustainable and integrated use of coastal resources, taking into account the fragility of coastal ecosystems and the finite nature of their natural resources, and the needs of coastal communities." (Article 10.1.1)

13. In considering the integration of fisheries into broader coastal area management, the first requirement is for the State to establish policy, legal and institutional frameworks for the integrated management of coastal areas.

14. Increasingly, the basic policy framework within which coastal area management is discussed is one of ecologically sustainable development. This framework establishes the range of policies which will be considered ecologically sustainable; the management problem is how to decide between them, taking into account local conditions, including social and economic considerations.

15. The fundamental problem in coastal area management is one of resource allocation. Coastal resources are becoming increasingly scarce due to a combination of economic development and increased population in coastal areas. In common with other resources, the scarcity of coastal resources requires that choices be made between different uses. Coastal area management involves establishing a framework within which such choices might be made and the resultant policies implemented.

16. However, the coastal area has a number of features that complicate such choices. First, it is a dynamic system where physical, ecological, social and economic processes interact; coastal management planning needs to take account of these various dynamic processes. Second, the fluid nature of a number of coastal resources complicates the allocation of these resources. Third, the local and regional character of resources may complicate policy co-ordination between different agencies.

17. Where it is possible, the valuation of different development and or conservation options (the issue of valuation is referred to further in 10.2.2 below) provides a sound basis for policy formulation.

18. In ICM a holistic approach is necessary. In the management of coastal resources, care has to be taken to avoid a narrow sectoral approach where this is likely to be inadequate. For instance, artisanal fisheries may be very difficult to manage unless there is economic development on-shore creating alternative employment opportunities. There are many other areas where a co-ordinated approach to policy making is required.

19. To obtain this type of approach, an institutional framework is required which provides the appropriate linkages between national, regional and local authorities. There is a spectrum of approaches adopted by countries to provide such a framework. At the beginning of the spectrum, an existing agency may be given a mandate to initiate cross-sectoral coastal planning but with no additional responsibilities or powers. Although this approach may result in an initiation of cross-sectoral coastal planning, it is likely to be rarely effective in the long term. Further along the spectrum, some countries have adopted an approach under which the different agencies involved in coastal management retain all their responsibilities but co-ordinates their planning and actions through a central body; the mandates of such bodies varies considerably. Finally, countries may adopt a truly integrated approach within which much of the responsibility for planning and the allocation of resources is undertaken by an integrated institution; such an institution may be either an existing organization which has been provided with enhanced powers to mediate or, alternatively, a new institution.

20. In setting up an effective management framework, an institutional analysis is necessary in which, inter alia, the roles and responsibilities of different agencies should be analyzed and, if necessary, revised, so that, on the one hand, overlapping or conflicting jurisdiction is minimized and, on the other, there are no important issues for which there is not a responsible agency. An institutional mechanism for ICM, therefore, will ensure the following: first, that appropriate sectoral responsibilities are defined; second, that appropriate co-ordinating/integrating arrangements are established; and third, that agencies at all levels are kept informed of coastal area policies to ensure coherence in policy implementation.

21. A legislative framework is required which legitimises coastal management institutions and the actions undertaken by them. The exact nature of the legislation in any country is dependent on the coverage and gaps in the existing legislation. Moreover, one country's experience need not be directly transferable to another, even when the countries share similar social, political , economic and cultural backgrounds.

"In view of the multiple uses of the coastal area, States should ensure that representatives of the fisheries sector and fishing communities are consulted in the decision-making processes and involved in other activities related to coastal area management planning and development." (Article 10.1.2)

22. Very often, the fisheries sector competes in the coastal area with other sectors for space, both on land and water, both for its directly productive activities - fishing and coastal aquaculture - and for the handling, processing and distribution of production. As a consequence, the authorities in charge of fisheries and the fisheries sector must participate in decisions regarding the development in the area. In this regard, an aspect of the dependence of the sector on the coastal environment, is the significant role of fishermen and fishfarmers as an observers of the coastal environment; fishers and coastal fishfarmers are usually the first to note the impacts of many changes which might occur in the aquatic environment as a result of pollution or other causes

23. A summary of the major impacts on fisheries resulting form activities in other sectors are shown in Box 1.

24. A way in which the adequate representation of fisheries interests can be ensured, is to designate an authority, or authorities, for fisheries which has/have both sectoral and inter-sectoral responsibilities; the stronger is the institutional structure that is adopted for the fisheries sector, the more effectively fisheries interests can be represented.

25. The nature of the sector which makes it especially susceptible to environmental changes resulting from on-shore activities may result in different and conflicting interests with land-based sectors such as the agriculture sector. Moreover, the issues facing capture fisheries, and to a lesser extent aquaculture, are not the same as those facing the agricultural sector. In particular, the agricultural production model - in which increased inputs result in higher production - cannot be applied to the fisheries sector. There may, therefore, be persuasive arguments why a fisheries agency should not be part of another Ministry or Department where there may arise situations of conflicting interest.

Box 1: Some impacts on fisheries resulting from activities in other sectors

Pollution: This may come from land-based sources, e.g., industrial or agricultural waste dumped into rivers and carried to the coastal area, pesticide and fertiliser run-off into rivers, and sewage, or sea-based, e.g., oil spills and ocean dumping of toxic waste. Some pollution may result in an increase of productivity of coastal areas but very often it will result in its decrease. In severe cases there may be a risk to human health, e.g., through the concentration of toxic waste by shellfish. Decreased productivity will adversely affect the financial health of the fisheries sector. The fisheries sector may itself contribute to coastal pollution, e.g., via oil pollution from fishing vessels, effluent from fish processing plants and by intensive aquaculture systems resulting in organic and nutrient enrichment of the seabed and sometimes of the water column. Generally, however, the fisheries sector suffers from rather than causes pollution.

Habitat degradation: This may occur directly, e.g., as a result of mangrove clearance for various activities, coral mining, or indirectly, e.g., by sedimentation of seagrass beds and reefs due to soil run-off associated with, for example, deforestation or poor land-use practice. As with pollution, habitat degradation will affect the financial well-being of the fisheries sector. Some habitat degradation may be related to the fisheries sector itself, for example, fishing with explosives or toxic substances, and mangrove clearance and use of chemicals for aquaculture development.

Spatial conflict: This may occur where coastal fisheries and aquaculture have insecure property rights and are gradually squeezed from their traditional areas by other coastal developments (especially urban sprawl and tourism development).

26. Given the importance of the coastal area to the fisheries sector, it is essential that the designated authorities for fisheries be included in the coastal management planning process. For instance, the fisheries authorities should be included in the review process for environmental impact assessment where projects have a potential impact on coastal waters; they should be involved when permits for construction are being issued for the coastal area, and consulted on possible fisheries impacts; they should be involved in the drafting of laws and regulations with respect to the coastal area; and they should be involved in the spatial planning process where this may impinge upon fisheries interests, e.g., port development; most importantly, they should be included in an integrated coastal management planning process.

27. In many cases, coastal fisheries may be most easily managed at a local level within an overall framework established at national or regional level. In many countries, therefore, fisheries authorities will be most effective in inter-agency negotiations if an appropriate framework of national, regional and local authorities is established to ensure that fisheries management can be implemented at the appropriate level.

28. As with coastal management generally, an important function of the fisheries authorities is to ensure that all levels of administration are sufficiently well informed and motivated so that common goals are pursued. The various levels of management constitute what is termed here the "fisheries authorities". The authority held at each level will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

29. It is important also that the fisheries authorities should establish mechanisms to work with all stakeholders in the fisheries sector so that the sector may be adequately represented in inter-agency discussions where cross-sectoral impacts are being considered. Stakeholders are considered here to be those who are recognized by the government as having an interest in the sector.

"States should develop, as appropriate, institutional and legal frameworks in order to determine the possible uses of coastal resources and to govern access to them taking into account the rights of coastal fishing communities and their customary practices to the extent compatible with sustainable development." (Article 10.1.3)

30. A major cause of problems in coastal area management is the free and open access to coastal renewable resources. This has long been recognised as a problem in the fisheries sector but also affects many other coastal resources, particularly water, space, and primary productivity.

31. It is important that where there is free and open access to coastal fisheries resources that this regime is replaced as soon as possible by one based on exclusive use rights. There are a number of reason which take into account not only the inefficiencies generated within the sector by open and free access but also because of the interaction with other sectors in the coastal area. If the fisheries sector remains open access then it may be difficult to persuade other agencies and resource users to restrict their activities in favour of fisheries since any incremental benefits will be dissipated in the same way as resource rents. Conversely, as fisheries mover towards an exclusive rights-based regime, it is essential that they can operate in an overall rights-based system of coastal resources development.

32. Fisheries are not the only open access resource in the coastal area. Often access remains free and open to key resources such as mangroves and coral reefs and to the coastal sea as a sink for waste. As a result, other users of the coastal area may have a significant negative effect, not only on the fisheries sector in the form of, for example, habitat destruction, aquatic pollution, but also on other valuable functions of the ecosystems.

33. Two broad approaches exist to deal with sectoral conflict - regulatory and economic. Both approaches may have the same objectives. The difference is the way in which they attempt to achieve their aims. Regulations restrict legally what may be done, whereas economic approaches seek to provide incentives or disincentives to encourage appropriate behaviour. Economic methods have a number of advantages, notably in that they allocate scarce resources efficiently within a market framework. However, they are often difficult to apply and in many situations it is often necessary to adopt a regulatory approach, sometimes complemented by economic policy instruments. A brief overview of regulatory and economic methods is shown in Box 2.

Box 2: Regulatory and economic policy instruments

Regulatory measures control the use of resources through prohibitions or restrictions. They might include, for example, process or product regulation, banning or restricting polluting activities, and restricting production activities, e.g., use of certain fishing gears, fishing practices, season, area, time. The common feature of these regulations is that non-compliance results in penalties.

Often, the main problem in a regulatory approach is that of enforcement. In the absence, in many countries, of adequate means of enforcement, it may be considered to be preferable to not introduce regulation which cannot be enforced. Another problem with regulation is that of ensuring that it remains sufficiently flexible to deal with the range of situations which are likely to occur. One way of dealing with this possible difficulty is to supplement regulation with a process of negotiation and facilitation between interested parties with a view to ensuring the smooth evolution of regulations.

The economic approach might use a number of instruments, e.g., charges (user charges, effluent charges), subsidies, market creation (tradable permits), deposit refund systems, and financial enforcement incentives (non-compliance fees and performance bonds).

The main advantage of economic approaches, if they can be implemented, is that they bring the issue of coastal resource allocation into the same framework which is used to resolve resource allocation issues generally within the economy. Even if the approach can be only partially implemented, it often increases the flexibility of the management system, e.g., it may be easier to revise charges to different users than to change regulations affecting them. A not insignificant advantage of the economic approach is that it can be used to generate funds to offset some of the cost of management.

34. The same solution to the removal of open access is not applicable everywhere, even within the same country. The best solution will be dependent wholly upon the circumstances - the nature of the resource, institutional arrangements, both current and historical, the objectives, and so on. Moreover, the best solution may change over time. Governments, therefore, need to be clear about what they are trying to achieve and to examine a range of possible solutions before deciding on the best choice; there is also a need to remain flexible, so as to be able to respond to changing circumstances.

35. One aspect of open access is that resource users have been unable to gain recognition by the State of their rights over resources. Frequently, this has resulted in traditional and customary fishers and fishfarmers being disadvantaged when other resource users become dominant. An illustration is shown in Box 3. Where legal regimes are sufficiently flexible to recognize and integrate local customary perceptions of rights and duties, States might find it desirable to give a de facto recognition of resource rights. Where the legal regime does not permit this approach, States might wish to amend their legislation accordingly. At the same time, the fisheries authorities should establish conditions which require that fishers and fishfarmers recognize and respect the ecological constraint imposed by the coastal environment.

Box 3: Rights of traditional and customary fishers and fishfarmers to an acceptable environmental quality

Where markets for environmental goods within the coastal area, e.g., the natural productivity of coral reefs, have not existed, fishers using those reefs have been unable to secure the rights necessary for their future well-being and are vulnerable to their productivity being threatened by other users, e.g., tourism, coral mining. Small-scale coastal aquaculture has also long been a traditional and sustainable practice in many countries which may be displaced by industrial operations.

36. Such measures would protect the environment and give traditional and customary resource users the right to a certain level of environmental quality as part of their livelihood.

37. Traditional or customary resource users may have developed access arrangements in response to seasonal changes which affect the availability of fish or determine the timing of major agricultural operations, such as sowing and harvesting. Management plans formulated by planners for any one resource that fail to take account of such strategies may have serious economic and social consequences.

"States should facilitate the adoption of fishing practices to avoid conflict among different fisheries resource users as well as with other users of the marine environment." (Article 10.1.4)

38. Conflicts may arise between fishers from different places wishing to fish in the same area, between fishers using different gears, between commercial fishermen and sport fishermen, between artisanal and industrial fishers, between fishers and fishfarmers and between these and tourism operators, all competing for space and resources, and in many more situations.

39. Conflicts within the fisheries sector itself might be dealt with by area allocations resulting in clear resource allocations (where a resource occupies a particular area) or in reduction of conflict between groups (when a resource moves between areas) e.g., trawling zones, pot areas, etc., by controls on inputs, such as gear limitations or by time, or by output controls, such as quotas. Authorities should also consider the establishment of fishers' and fishfarmers' committees, by fishery area or by fishery, as appropriate, where such problems should be discussed and, if possible, resolved.

40. Inter-sectoral conflict is typically more difficult to resolve than intra-sectoral disputes, although the solutions may be similar. Fisheries authorities should represent the interests of the fisheries sector in negotiations with other agencies to ensure that other sectors respect the interests of fishers and aquaculturists. When required, the fisheries authorities and fishermen should have the possibility to have recourse to law to protect their interests.

41. Zoning is a common approach in the resolution of inter-sectoral differences involving fisheries, especially using a mixture of time and area restrictions. Economic measures may also have a role.

"States should promote the establishment of procedures and mechanisms at the appropriate administrative level to settle conflicts which arise within the fisheries sector and between them and other users of the coastal area." (Article 10.1.5)

42. Potential conflict should be anticipated and pre-empted when possible. Fisheries sector development and management plans are frequently drawn up from the perspective only of the fisheries sector or even for only one stock. The fisheries management authority should consider explicitly to what extent interactions with other fisheries or sectors are likely to occur. Where they are considered of potential or actual importance, such interactions should be considered within the plans, and action to deal with potential conflict should be taken.

43. In coastal area management, one of the most important institutional and legal functions is to ensure that there is a mechanism for conflict resolution. As coastal resources become increasingly scarce, there is a need to consider how to resolve competing claims, both existing and future, between sectors. Even if the fisheries authorities are consulted on planning issues, conflicts may still arise, providing a need for a mechanism for their resolution.

44. It will be necessary that the fisheries authorities adopt an active role in the identification of the scale of any problem which affects the aquatic environment and its source. An appropriate monitoring system is essential for this task. This is considered further in section 10.2.4 below. Also, when fisheries authorities work closely with fishers and fishfarmers, they are able to more quickly identify changes in ecological conditions, even if it may prove more difficult to identify those responsible.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page