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This document has been prepared as part of recent initiatives undertaken by the FAO Fisheries Department to address issues related to the management of fishing capacity. An initial step was the organization of a Technical Working Group of the Management of Fishing Capacity. The Technical Working Group met in La Jolla, USA, from 15 to 18 April 1998. It reviewed and advised on various issues related to the measurement, control and reduction of fishing capacity, including technical and policy considerations, as well as specific high seas aspects.

This document contains the three main papers that were used for introducing and discussing key aspects of the measurement and control of fishing capacity during the Technical Working Group meeting. A short note prepared subsequently on the assessment of overcapacity at global level has been included to provide complementary background information.

The contribution of the Technical Working Group laid the basis for subsequent work on the preparation of technical guidelines and the progressive elaboration of an International Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity. This International Plan of Action was adopted by COFI at its Twenty-third Session, in February 1999.

Particular thanks are due to the authors of individual chapters for their contribution. Thanks are also due to the National Marine Fishery Service, USA, and to the Fisheries Agency, Japan, for the support provided in the pursuance of the aforementioned activities.


FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Regional Fishery Officers
Directors of Fisheries

Gréboval D. (ed.)
Managing fishing capacity: selected papers on underlying concepts and issues.
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 386. Rome, FAO. 1999. 206 p.


Excessive fishing capacity is largely responsible for the degradation of marine fisheries resources, for the dissipation of food production potential and for significant economic waste, especially manifest in the form of redundant fishing inputs. The globalization of this phenomenon and the impact of excessive fishing capacity on the biological and economic condition of many fisheries throughout the world have been a matter of increasing concern in recent years. This led FAO to organize a Technical Working Group on the Management of Fishing Capacity in La Jolla, USA, from 15 to 18 April 1998. Selected papers prepared as reference material for this meeting are presented in this FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. Chapter 1 reviews underlying economics and methods of control. Specific aspects of high seas fisheries are addressed in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 explores extensively the many issues raised in measuring fishing capacity and capacity utilization. Chapter 4 briefly discusses the difficulties associated with the assessment of fishing capacity at global level.

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