The FishRights99 Conference, Use of Property Rights in Fisheries Management, was held from 11 to 19 November 1999 in Fremantle, Western Australia in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Thanks to the efforts of the 352 participants from 49 countries, the conference was a marvellous success. I believe that we all learned more about the spectrum of rights-based management strategies and how these strategies may be used, and I am convinced that this knowledge will help us to better meet our obligations as stewards of the fish resources, part of the common heritage of mankind.
I believe the conference provided the perfect opportunity to address a challenge facing us all - the sharing or allocating of our finite fisheries resources through means that are equitable, socially acceptable, and efficient. As the executive director of Fisheries Western Australia (FWA), one of Australias larger fisheries management agencies, I am constantly aware of the importance of developing management mechanisms to ensure that the exploitation of our marine resources is ecologically sustainable and accommodates the increasing resource demands from increasing diverse stakeholders. Issues of security, durability, exclusivity, and transferability are at the heart of our daily fisheries management activities, regardless of whether we are managing few or many fishermen, regardless of whether their harvest is of a few or many species and regardless of whether this occurs in low or high-valued fisheries.
The conference benefited from financial support of many organizations, including: The Government of Western Australia, Primary Industries and Resources, The Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, Pearl Producers Association, NSW Fisheries, Agriculture Fisheries Forestry, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, M G Kailis Group, Western Australia Fishing Industry Council Inc., Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Austral Fisheries Pty, Lobster Australia (Kailis and France), Queensland Fisheries Management Authority, Nor-West Seafoods Pty Ltd, The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council and Sealanes Food Services. A number of national governments also contributed to the success of the conference by sponsoring speakers. These included: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ministry of Fisheries, Iceland, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, Netherlands, the Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand, Sea Fisheries, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa. Other sponsoring agencies were The World Bank and the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resource Management.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all have contributed to the success of the conference. Special mention goes to those who supported and drove the content and quality of the conference through their roles on the Organizing Committee: Mr Peter Millington (FWA), Chair; Mr Ulf Wijkström (FAO); Dr Gary Morgan (PISA); Dr Jim Penn (FWA); Mr Guy Leyland (Western Australian Fishing Industry Council); Mr George Kailis (M G Kailis Pty Ltd); and the Program Co-Chairs, Drs Rebecca Metzner (FWA) and Ross Shotton (FAO). Furthermore, it is only with the support of the FAO and the dedication of Dr Ross Shotton that we have these proceedings volumes in addition to the papers found on the FWA-maintained FishRights99 web site (http://www.FishRights.com.au). Finally, I must thank the FWA staff for their generous contributions of time and energy, which helped to keep the conference running in a timely and smooth manner.
As we look back at FishRights99, Use of Property Rights in Fisheries Management, I hope that we are standing on a more durable and secure platform from which to base our fisheries management. It is also my hope that we will continue to build on the information exchanged at the conference so that, half a decade later, when we revisit the subject, we have pushed the boundaries of how we use property rights to manage our fisheries in ways that are ecologically sustainable and that we are closer than ever to ensuring that we have Fish for the Future.
Fisheries Western Australia