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3.1 Options to Regulate Fishing
3.2 Limiting Access
3.3 Management in Partnership

(i) As stated in 1.4, the only mechanism available to maintain the biomass and productivity of a resource at a desirable level, at least in wild capture fisheries, is controlling fishing mortality by regulating the amount of fish caught, when they are caught and the size and age at which they are caught. In regulating fishing mortality there are a number of approaches which can be used, and each one will have different implications and different efficiencies for regulating fishing mortality, impact on fishers, feasibility of monitoring, control and surveillance and other facets of fisheries management. The major options are presented in the following sections.

(ii) In inland fisheries, particularly in rivers and smaller water bodies, it is frequently possible to intensify or enhance fisheries production. This can be achieved by, for example, appropriate and responsible stocking of a water body with supplementary animals of species already present, supplementary fertilization to enhance primary or secondary production without changing ecosystems and biodiversity and elimination of predatory or pest species. These represent steps in a progression from wild, capture fisheries to simple-culture-based fisheries. The principles and approaches to intensification or enhancement of inland fisheries are not discussed further in these Guidelines, but will be addressed in the guidance documentation on fisheries enhancement and aquaculture development.

(iii) In those cases where a stock is fished in areas falling under the jurisdiction of more than one management authority, such as with transboundary or highly migratory stocks, efforts should be made to ensure that management measures are compatible between the different jurisdictions. Failure to observe this may prevent any of the management authorities, or users, from achieving their objectives (7.3.2).

(iv) The total amount or mass of fish caught in a fixed period will depend on the concentration of fish in the fishing area, the amount of fishing effort employed during the period and the fishing efficiency of the gear used. This relationship indicates that there are a number of approaches which can be used to regulate the total catch, and hence the fishing mortality imposed on a stock.

In most instances, fisheries are regulated by a combination of more than one of the above types of control measures.

(v) An overriding consideration, whichever combination of management measures is used, is the decision as to whether access to the resources will be open or limited (see Section 3.2). The concept presented in 1.4 and 1.5.2 that excess effort and fleet capacity should be avoided in a fishery, coupled with the fact that fisheries resources are generally overfished because fishing capacity is in excess of that required in the long-term, implies that a limitation on total effort with access to a fishery may have to be imposed, while ensuring equity in the process.

3.1 Options to Regulate Fishing

3.1.1 Technical measures
3.1.2 Input (effort) control
3.1.3 Output (catch) control
3.1.4 Some general considerations

3.1.1 Technical measures

(i) Gear restrictions affect the type, characteristics, and operation of a fishing gear. Some gears have been prohibited outright to (i) avoid increases in fishing capacity through increased efficiency, (ii) avoid some unwanted impact on non-commercial sizes, species or critical habitats, or, very often, (iii) avoid an injection of new technology which could modify significantly the existing distribution of exploitation rights (particularly when these involve new participants). Regulation of gear characteristics such as minimum mesh size or dimensions of mouth opening of nets or traps is generally introduced to control fishing mortality on some particular component of the resource, such as smaller individuals, for example juveniles of the target species or fish of by-catch species. Gear restrictions may also be designed to reduce the total catch by reducing the potential efficiency of the fisher. For example, prohibition on SCUBA gear in some fisheries for sessile bottom dwelling species has this effect. Gear restrictions have an important role to play in making optimal use of a stock or a resource. However, experience has shown that gear restrictions cannot be used alone to ensure sustainability. In addition, impediments to improved efficiency often increase the cost of fishing relative to other fleets and hence may lead to an increased pressure for higher catches to maintain income levels.

(ii) Gear restrictions tend to be species-specific and, for example, a mesh-size designated to capture mature individuals of a smaller species will still catch immature individuals of a co-occurring larger species. The use of subsidiary devices such as by-catch reduction devices (BRDs), turtle excluder devices (TEDs) and grids can be an integral part of responsible fisheries management where, for example, by-catches of over-exploited or threatened species are occurring or fishing is having a negative impact on aquatic communities, and should be utilized by fisheries management authorities as necessary (7.2.2g)).

(iii) Area and time restrictions can be used to protect a component of a stock or community such as spawning adults or juvenile stages. As with gear restrictions, they have an important role to play but, unlike gear restrictions, can be used to regulate total fishing mortality on a resource. However, a fisheries management authority would have to monitor available effort and specify appropriate closed areas or seasons such that the effort expended in the open windows did not exceed the sustainable levels for the resource or that restrictions in some time-space windows do not simply lead to transfer of excess levels of effort to other areas in excess of that which was desirable. These measures are subject to the same social and economic problems in open access systems as all other control measures.

(iv) Marine protected areas can have a critical role to play in sustainable fishing. Particularly for territorial species or those with relatively stationary life styles, marine protected areas can be used to preserve spawner biomass above the thresholds (based on biological reference points) necessary to ensure sustained recruitment. Marine protected areas can also play an important role in preserving critical habitats or sensitive life stages of species. Fisheries management authorities need to ensure that the location and extent of marine protected areas are based on clearly stipulated objectives, are appropriate for meeting them and are adequately monitored and controlled.

(v) In addition to their role in conserving the resources, area and time restrictions can be used to reduce or eliminate conflict between different components of the fishery system (e.g. artisanal, industrial, and foreign fleets) or between them and other users. By partitioning fishers or other interest groups into appropriate time or space slots according to the nature of their use or fishing practice, encounters between them can be reduced, thus also reducing the likelihood of conflict (7.6.5). Such partition leads, however, to implicit allocations, and conflicts may arise if such allocations are not considered equitable by some users.

(vi) Both gear specifications and area and time restrictions can lead to economic inefficiency and distortions, as they may effectively reduce CPUE below otherwise attainable levels. These measures therefore need to be used as part of an overall strategy developed in consultation with the interest groups. Good scientific information arising from appropriate stock assessment and social and economic studies and projections should be used to guide the choice of technical measures as part of an overall study. Biological reference points, for example in yield-per-recruit analysis, should be considered explicitly where appropriate.

(vii) Minimum size and maturity restrictions can also be used to reduce fishing mortality on life stages of stocks which are considered to require special protection. Where implementation of these regulations (such as on minimum allowable size at landing) requires returning captured individuals to the water, the management authority should determine the survival of returned individuals to ascertain the efficacy of these measures.

3.1.2 Input (effort) control

(i) Input controls can include restrictions on the number of fishing units through limiting the number of licenses or permits issued, restrictions on the amount of time units can spend fishing, such as individual effort quotas, and restrictions on the size of vessels and/or gear.

(ii) Placing an appropriate limit on effort and therefore on fishing mortality is seen as being very important in responsible fisheries and has been discussed under Sections 1.4. and 1.5 Some degree of effort limitation by the management authority is a pre-requisite for responsible fisheries, whatever other control measures are in place. Experience has shown that in the absence of a limit on fleet capacity (and mechanisms to stabilize it and compensate for technological progress), the amountof effort expended by industry cannot be effectively controlled. However, where secure and appropriate access rights are in position, the holders of the rights will tend to regulate their inputs (in terms of capacity and effort) to appropriate levels in their own economic interests. Excess capacity is, in general, associated with open access fisheries and tends to diminish once exclusive rights are well established.

(iii) The greatest problems in using input controls alone to regulate fisheries are associated with problems of determining how much effort is actually represented by each fishing unit. Even discrete fleets within a fishery are characterized by considerable variation in the size of vessel (where vessels are involved), the nature of gear and technical and technological aids used, quality of maintenance of vessel and gear, skipper skills and strategies and other factors. These differences make assessing the effective effort exerted in a fishery very difficult.

(iv) In theory, if sufficient data are available, it is possible to determine the relative efficiency of each vessel and fleet by comparing historical catches per unit of effort in a fleet data base. In practice, however, scarcity of data and continual change, often associated with efficiency increases, make such calibrations difficult. This emphasizes the importance to the management authority of the collection of appropriate data on catch and effort (see Sections 2.3.2 and 2.4.2). Undertaking experiments, particularly over short time and space scales, to compare gear efficiency in cooperation with industry can assist in comparisons of effort units.

(v) If the problems of defining effort, determining the amount of effort appropriate to a given resource and monitoring changes in effective effort can be overcome, there are several advantages to this approach compared to regulation by output control, particularly at a coarse or primary level of control. Effort control may also be desirable to avoid the problems of excess capacity, even where output controls are in place.

3.1.3 Output (catch) control

(i) Output control is a popular management measure for fisheries, particularly for large-scale fisheries, and there is an even greater interest in extending its application, in association with limited entry, with the current wide-spread interest in individual transferable quotas (ITQs).

(ii) Output or catch control, in theory, allows estimation and implementation of the optimal catch to be taken from a stock by a given harvesting strategy. Given good information on the dynamics of the stock and its response to fishing mortality, the correct catch can, in theory, be estimated to achieve the desired objectives. Catch controls usually involve setting a total allowable catch (TAC) which is then sub-divided into individual quotas by fishing nation (in the case of international fisheries), fleet, fishing company, or fishermen (e.g. in the case of individual quotas).

(iii) In theory, catch control eliminates the need, for control purposes, of estimating the fishing efficiency of all units in the fishery, and of monitoring and responding to changes in fishing efficiency with time, which are features of effort control. However, such assessments will remain necessary, from time to time, to facilitate adjustment of the overall fleet capacity to take into account technological improvements. Without such adjustments, unregulated increases in capacity will increase the incentives for excess fishing and mis-reporting.

(iv) Catch control also has problems in its implementation.

3.1.4 Some general considerations

(i) From the preceding discussion in 3.1, it should be apparent that different methods of control of fishing have different effects, advantages and disadvantages that will make them more or less suitable under different conditions. There is no single correct approach to controlling fishing, and fisheries management authorities will have to select the option or, more usually, combination of options, which best suits the nature of the fishery and the objectives of the interest groups (7.6.4).

(ii) In addition to those considerations which have a direct bearing on the target resource and on the interest groups, fisheries management authorities must be aware of the indirect impacts of fishing and must take steps and select approaches that minimize harmful effects such as waste, discards, catch by lost or abandoned gear, catch of non-target species (by-catch) and other negative impacts on species associated with or dependent on the target species. Particular care must be taken where the affected organisms include endangered species (7.6.9).

(iii) Stock recovery is an obligation under the Code (e.g 6.3; 7.2.1; 7.2.2e); 7.5.5) once there is information suggesting that stock size is at or approaching levels where reproduction may become seriously threatened. At this point, an explicit recovery plan may be called for, during which the attainment of optimal yields defined by other objectives will have to be secondary in order that the stock recovery period is not prolonged indefinitely. Such a recovery plan requires, of course, definition of limit reference points for the overfished or depleted state, a means for monitoring recovery, a recovery trajectory to aim for and a transition to optimal yield fishing strategy once completed. The advantages of using unusually favourable recruitment to hasten recovery rather than to provide 'windfall yield' should be emphasized.

3.2 Limiting Access

3.2.1 Problems associated with open access
3.2.2 Considerations in limiting access

3.2.1 Problems associated with open access

(i) World-wide experiences with fisheries and other free-range resources have shown that open access systems, where anyone who wishes to has a right to exploit the resource, can have severe consequences. In the absence of control, open access systems will invariably lead to over-exploited resources and declining returns for all participants. This has been found to occur in virtually all fisheries under open access, from small-scale artisanal fisheries to large-scale industrial fisheries whether national or international, and has been dubbed the “Tragedy of the Commons”.

(ii) Where there is control of overall exploitation by, for example, an overall TAC, or a limitation on total effort by regulating the length of the closed season, the resource may be protected but serious social and economic distortions commonly still arise. Generally, open access systems are characterized by a race to fish in which all participants strive to catch as much of the resource, with or without regulation, as they can, before their competitors do so.

(iii) Under overall regulation, this race to fish leads to features such as shortened fishing seasons, poor product quality and sporadic availability, excess harvesting and processing capacity and increased costs and related negative social and economic effects. Typically, the very high long-term costs of this situation have been borne by society in terms of subsidies, unemployment schemes, rehabilitation of industries following collapses, subsidies to encourage excess fleet deployment abroad, etc.

(iv) The above considerations have been to a large part responsible for the current world status of fisheries consisting of a high proportion of over-exploited stocks and a generally low (and often negative) profitability. Limited access is widely considered to be essential for efficient and responsible fisheries. Associated with various forms of use rights (and property rights), it has become the norm in most systems regulating utilization of terrestrial resources.

3.2.2 Considerations in limiting access

(i) Use rights regimes can be classified into four basic types:

In practice, in most access rights systems within national fisheries jurisdiction the State retains ownership (state property) of the resource, although in inland fisheries there is a considerable degree of private ownership. Where the State does retain ownership, under certain conditions this may involve payments for granting some form of access or exploitation right to users or access to limited numbers of individual fishers, fishing companies, fishing co-operatives, traditional communities or other identifiable user or user-groups. It should not be assumed, when commencing to regulate a previously unregulated fishery, that traditional access rights have not yet been assigned, and determining the evidence of such traditional rights is essential.

(ii) Despite the range of possibilities in implementing systems of access rights, there are some general principles which are related to granting access. There are four primary considerations in considering the nature of access rights for limited access: the nature of the recipients; the initial method of allocation; whether or not the rights should be transferable; and the duration of the allocated right. These are discussed in the following four paragraphs, essentially in terms of the granting of a right of access, but not ownership, by the State or authority delegated with responsibility by the State.

(iii) The State, regional authority or local authority may allocate an access right to a community, individual or company, or a vessel. In general, the allocation of access rights to a community is done to serve social or political goals such as provision of employment or income, or to maintain human populations in remote areas, although there are no reasons why a community may not prove to be as economically efficient as a private enterprise. Allocation of access rights to individuals or companies, if associated with transferability, is likely to generate higher economic efficiency, although this may be associated with a loss of employment opportunities as economic rationalization is undertaken and may displace ownership from coastal communities. One aim in the allocation of fishing rights to vessels can be to maintain employment opportunities since the quota is associated with the vessel; this prevents fleet reduction for the purposes of economic rationalization but would therefore hinder the reduction of over-capacity where this is a problem.

(iv) Where a State or management authority is moving from a system of open access to one of limited access, the greatest problem is almost certainly in determining which of the previous users should be granted access and which denied access. Approaches to this problem can include a lottery which avoids possible problems of favouritism or unfair decisions but makes no allowance for ensuring that the most responsible and effective users are allowed to continue fishing. An alternative approach is to sell or auction the access rights. Where economic efficiency is the primary goal of the fishery and where considerations of equity are not at issue this may be an appropriate approach. However, if the fishery is made up of people from a wide range of economic standings, this approach will clearly favour the most wealthy. Finally, access can be granted on the basis of a selection of specific criteria, including, for example, a proven history of participation in the fishery, performance, e.g. catch above certain minimum criteria, a history of responsible fishing, of social responsibility, etc. In all cases, equity in allocating rights requires that all current fishers be involved in the process. Particular attention should be given to those with long-standing traditions of fishing, especially, where appropriate, to indigenous people and to those local communities highly dependent on fisheries for their livelihoods (7.6.6).

(v) The issue of whether or not rights should be transferable is also important and has implications for responsible fishing. The first reaction of governments, when seeking to restrict situations of open access, has frequently been to establish non-transferable rights, but experience has shown problems associated with this approach. In general, transferable rights encourage evolution of the fishery (including a change of actors and a rejuvenation of the sector). They also lead to greater economic efficiency as they allow the more efficient fishers to accumulate greater access through the market. They also provide a mechanism for new entrants into the fishery which, under limited access without transferability, is problematic. The disadvantages of transferability are that it can lead to the formation of monopolies. Where social goals are important, such as the provision of employment to communities, transferability can negate progress towards achieving these goals. As with many other disadvantages associated with access rights, legal provisions to avoid or minimize them may be possible.

(vi) The final consideration presented here is that of the duration of rights to be granted. In general terms, the advantage of granting access rights is that they encourage a sense of ownership in the user, which should lead to a greater sense of long-term responsibility to the resources and fishery, leading to more responsible fishing. This is particularly true if the user can transfer the rights (to a resource to which he or she has contributed to improvements) to his or her descendants or capitalize on such improvements upon retirement. These facets are encouraged by a longer duration of the right so that the user is aware that he or she will gain the benefits for responsible action or pay the price for negative actions with regard, particularly, to the health of the resource. Long-term rights also make it easier for holders to gain financing for their ventures. However, particularly in the absence of transferability, long-term rights prevent the introduction of new entrants and mean that poor initial decisions on allocation may be difficult to reverse. Overall though, assigning long-term rights within a system of limited access is generally the preferred option for responsible fishing.

(vii) Clearly, as with control of fishing, it is possible to develop a system of access rights which best meets the specific objectives, including macro-political and macro-economic objectives, for the fishery in question. The final system for a given fishery should be carefully negotiated with likely applicants and derived, as far as possible, by consensus. However carefully the system is designed, it should be anticipated that there will be disputes, and a method of fair appeal should be catered for. Nevertheless, the ultimate advantages to the users, the resources and the State, of a limited access system rather than an open access system will more than justify the difficulties of striving for the former.

3.3 Management in Partnership

(i) Responsible fisheries management implies attempting to accommodate the interests of a wide range of parties who often represent competing, or even conflicting, interests. It also implies the recognition that the efficiency and implementability of the management measures are often highly dependent on the support gained from the interested parties. In many situations it will be necessary to rely on various collaborative arrangements or mechanisms between States and interested parties as an alternative to locating the entire set of management responsibilities totally within government structures (see Section 1.6). However, ultimate responsibility for decision-making regarding rules and management measures usually remains with the management authority.

(ii) Management in partnership encompasses the various arrangements which formally recognize the sharing of fisheries management responsibility and accountability between a fisheries management authority and institutions either public, such as local level government, or private, such as a group of interested parties. Hence, management in partnership is likely to carry with it a decentralized and unstandardized nature. It often reflects a concern for efficiency and equity at the State or management authority level, coupled with proven capacity for self-governance, self-regulation and active participation at the level of the interested parties concerned. The decision to implement approaches for management in partnership and the extent of self-management delegated to the interested parties should be based on both the characteristics of the fishery concerned and the capacity of the decentralised or local institutions to handle the authority delegated. There may also be a need for the fisheries management authority to provide assistance, including administrative support, to the delegated partners.

(iii) In the context of international fisheries, where the interested parties are primarily the member States of an intergovernmental fisheries management institution, the extent to which the management authority may further devolve or share its decision-making power and responsibilities to other groups of interested parties is likely to be more limited. However, various form of arrangements allowing a certain degree of management in partnership may be desirable. It may be, for example, in the interests of responsible fisheries that industry advisors attend meetings of management authorities (7.1.6). Other forms of partnership apply to some arrangements involving a small number of States in the management of a delimited fishery, such as some international lakes or for shared stocks within a bay or a small gulf.

(iv) Arrangements for management in partnership may be particularly valuable in small-scale fisheries, where the management authority is unable to provide cost-effective service. Management in partnership may also be requested by the interest groups when they are paying for the cost of management. Such arrangements encompass a wide range of possible degrees of intervention by the State. On one extreme, such an arrangement may simply formally recognize an existing system of fisheries management at local level, such as a traditional or customary system, and involve no further intervention or support from the State. At the other extreme, the delegation of authority under the partnership arrangement may require full support from the State in the form of financial and logistic support for the process from the formulation to the implementation and monitoring of the management plan. Within this range, various sets of responsibilities, accountabilities and functions could be devolved, including, for example, selecting appropriate management measures, assigning or registering of fishing rights, and the enforcement of local fishing regulations.

(v) Within the fisheries management planning process, the management authority should identify and consider the situations for which management by some form of partnership is likely to be an effective and sustainable policy option. In doing so, care must be taken to evaluate case by case which type of partnership arrangement is likely to yield the desired long-term returns. This decision should be based on criteria such as the potential for:

(vi) However, consideration must also be given to the difficulties which are frequently encountered with management in partnership, particularly at the early stage. Attention will need to be given to, for example:

(vii) As a complex endeavour, establishing and implementing partnership arrangements should, as for other management processes, follow a structured approach involving research, consultation, decision-making and institutional reform. Approaches should be flexible to fit specific situations, countries, fisheries and fishing communities. They should also allow for gradual implementation, possibly driven by the accumulation of formal knowledge by the responsible interest groups on the relevant social, economic and environmental issues.

(viii) For fisheries to be managed at local level, an effective legal instrument will be required to define clearly the respective role and functions of the local authority and management groups concerned (e.g cooperative, user committee, traditional community). This instrument should also clearly demarcate the physical territory or fisheries management unit over which the management group will exercise its management functions. This territory should, as far as possible, coincide with the existing realm of activity of the group concerned.

(ix) Within the management group, it is also important to ensure that the conditions for membership are explicit and that they reflect, as appropriate, the social and economic cohesion of the group. Whenever possible, the management group should not be so large as to unduly hinder consultation and decision-making.

(x) Mechanisms should also be established to verify from time to time that the social and economic benefits derived from utilizing a partnership scheme equal or exceed the costs of investing in related activities and that those costs are equitably supported by the participants in the management scheme. Such mechanisms could be part of a wider coordinating arrangement with representation by the interest groups concerned and representatives of the management authority to monitor the partnership arrangement, assist in resolving conflict and establish rules.

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