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5.1 Management Measures

Management measures are the specific elements of fisheries control that are embodied in law and regulations. Individually and in combination, they are both a focus of and tool for surveillance activities. Cost-effectiveness is a consideration for each management measure. Fisheries authorities should provide appropriate legal tools (e.g. licensing requirements and enforcement powers) to enable the fisheries management plan, operational strategy and the management measures chosen for MCS to be implemented effectively. Management measures reviewed here include the following:

5.1.1 Mesh size

Mesh size requirements can only be enforced by two methods:

a) inspection prior to going to sea, with the provision that no other gear can be carried on board for that trip; or

b) inspection at sea, which can only provide a snapshot of the fishing operations while the officer is onboard the vessel.

Many States have adopted mesh size requirements that have never been adequately enforced, often making this control mechanism ineffective. In the case of towed nets, if the fisher is permitted to use strengthening ropes to keep nets together when full of fish, and top and bottom chafers to protect the nets, and then trawls through weeds on the way to the fishing grounds, small fish are often unable to escape from the net. Square mesh nets maintain their open shapes, while diamond mesh nets close under pressure of being towed through the water. One can question the advantages of using mesh size as a conservation tool in the case of towed gear, especially if it is not properly enforced. For gillnets and entangling nets, mesh size can be a significant conservation factor. Further details on measuring nets follow in Chapter 7, Section 7.4.

5.1.2 Chafers and strengthening ropes

A second management measure is the use of chafers and strengthening ropes. Chafers are attachments to the bottom and top of towed fishing gear to prolong the life of the nets by reducing wear and tear from rubbing on the seabed. Topside chafers can be made of netting, while bottom chafers can be made of twine, net and leather strips. These attachments are common and necessary fixtures to the gear, but can block the mesh and therefore retain all fish caught in the net. Chafers, especially for bottom trawls that are meant to drag on the seabed, should only be attached at the forward end of the bottom of the net, and along the sides, but not to encompass the entire "cod end." Topside chafers come in many different shapes and sizes, the main criteria normally established for this attachment being that it is attached only to the cod end of the net and in such a manner that it does not overlap the mesh to restrict the normal openings of the mesh in the cod end. Examples of two chafers are seen in the following figures.

Figure 1. Topside and flap chafers.

Strengthening ropes are attachments to hold the net together to prevent it from ripping open when it is hauled on deck with a full load of fish. These are ropes that should be attached along the main axis of the net. Where attached across the net, they must be attached in such a manner as to ensure they do not reduce the size of the meshes in the net. The following example illustrates this point. One mesh of the chafer should cover four meshes of the cod end.

Figure 2. Strengthening rope attachments.

Strengthening ropes and chafers can only be checked during inspections in port and at sea. Because they can be re-laced to the net at sea, they are difficult management measures to enforce.

5.1.3 Area closures

Area closures are a management tool recommended to protect spawning areas during known breeding seasons, juvenile aggregating areas, and other resource sensitive areas. This tool is also used to separate different types of fishing gear. For example, a State may permit one type of gear (such as set gear) in an area and prohibit other types of gear (such as towed gears and trawls) in that area. Area closures should be defined by latitude and longitude co-ordinates rather than by depth of water, which is effectively unenforceable. This tool does not require at-sea boardings and inspections unless there is a prohibition on different types of stationary gear, such as traps and nets. The surveillance of area closures can be accomplished with properly equipped aircraft and patrol vessels that have integrated photographic and navigational equipment, and that have night flying and surveillance capability.

5.1.4 Windows or zones

Some States use windows or zones as a tool to control fishing. In this case, areas for authorized fishing are established by latitude and longitude, by depth or distance from the coast, and all other areas are closed to all fishing (see example, Fig. 3). Geographical zones or areas are recommended because they are often easier for fishers to understand and comply with, and because they are easier to enforce both in court (the evidence required is fairly straight forward) and by using administrative penalty mechanisms. These windows or zones can be established for different gear, size of vessels or based on fisher status (e.g. subsistence fishers) and can be patrolled by aircraft, patrol boat or radar. Windows or zone closures can be used effectively to reduce gear conflicts between offshore commercial and artisanal fishers. Some States have established area and time closures to permit different gear types to use the same area, but at different times. Another advantage of using windows or zones as a surveillance tool is that sea patrols can be concentrated on these areas for at-sea inspections. The disadvantage of this strategy is the impact it may have on fishers, as it affects their ability to follow fish throughout their migratory ranges.

Figure 3. MCS Zone Map for Padaido Islands - Indonesia

5.1.5 Catch or quota controls

There are various types of catch or quota controls used by States today. These can be daily, seasonal or trip limits, zone quotas, vessel quotas and annual catch quotas. In each case, a State must be able to verify, on a timely basis, the actual catches of fish by vessel, species, and possibly by area. This becomes a very complex administrative and operational programme involving significant financial and human resources to monitor landings. It is commonly accepted that controlling the removal of resources from the sea is the most desirable conservation measure. However, the method of control, whether by counting each fish or through fishing effort, can significantly affect the cost of fisheries management and MCS operations. If estimates of stock abundance are accurate, catch controls can maximise the benefit to the fishers by permitting them the maximum removals and corresponding economic benefits.

5.1.6 Individual transferable quotas (ITQs)

A popular management scheme is the use of individual transferable quotas (ITQs). This system is employed for those fisheries where it is desirable to limit access to the resource, and the numbers and identification of fishers and associated gear type are known. The system provides for an allocation of fish to each fishing enterprise to permit maximising economic benefits in the fishery and eliminating the "grand rush - winner take all" approach to fishing. ITQs are often set by species and stock area for a specific period of time. The fisher can also allow the transfer of all or a portion of the allocation to another fisher.

The complexity of the system and the requirement for an advanced communications and data network to effectively manage this strategy makes it difficult for many developing States. However, the decreasing costs of electronic logbooks and data transmission are making the management of ITQ systems more affordable.

5.1.7 Trip limits

Trip limits are sometimes used as a measure of fishing control. These limits could include total catches permitted per trip or, more commonly, effort limits. The former requires someone to meet the vessel upon arrival and to be present during the weigh-out of the catch. If a fisheries official is employed to monitor landings, this strategy could be implemented as part of normal operations. If not, then it would necessitate extra personnel and effort. The disadvantage of trip or catch limitations is the temptation to discard all the lesser value or small fish, prior to landing. The effort control requires reports of departure and return, and the ability to verify these periods through VMS or sightings at sea. The growing use of VMS for licensed fishing vessels is making this management option more effective.

5.1.8 Minimum or maximum fish sizes

Another management tool is the establishment of minimum or maximum fish sizes. The regulations normally specify that the capture or landing of a fish of a certain size is not permitted. The intent behind the minimum size is to prevent the harvesting of non-commercial, juvenile fish. The prohibition against large fish is usually intended to preserve mature stock of breeding age. Unfortunately, neither of these regulations can be enforced without continual monitoring at sea. The surveillance costs to enforce these regulations are difficult to justify unless there is a physical presence on the vessel at all times, e.g. observer programme, or a high level of inspections at sea.

5.1.9 Vessel movement controls

Most States implementing a MCS system employ some sort of vessel movement controls. These are usually in the form of report requirements from any offshore vessel. The vessel movement reports include zone entry and exit reports, port entry and exit reports, and area changes. Movement reports require the vessel identification (commonly the vessel name and call sign), the master's name, fish onboard by species, and intended activity. The first reported zone entry for licensed foreign vessels commences the monitoring exercise, which will continue until the vessels have departed the zone and all reports and documentation have been received.

The zone exit report, commonly required by the central fisheries control well before departure from the zone, verifies the vessel identification information and the time and position of expected departure from the zone. This report is the final opportunity for the fisheries administrator to inspect the vessel by intercepting it at sea, or ordering it to port.[74] The zone exit report thus triggers the action for decisions regarding the control of the vessel prior to its departure. The coastal State may wish to include in its legislation and fishing agreements the provisions to ensure that information needed for management purposes is received prior to a vessels departure from the zone.

5.1.10 Vessel sightings reports

Vessel sightings reports are collected to confirm the fishing vessel monitoring information database. A standard reporting format normally includes vessel identification information, such as the name, vessel marking/call sign, home port (if it can be determined), the position sighted, and information as to the activity of the vessel. The vessel sighting report should also record if the vessel was photographed. This documentation of a sighting may become critical information for the courts if it is later discovered the vessel was not fishing in compliance with its licence, or was fishing without a licence.

5.1.11 Vessel inspections

Vessel inspections are a key management tool for monitoring and surveillance. However, actual operations - fishing, bycatch, discards, waste handling, processing, etc. - can only be observed at sea, and their direct observation may be of benefit to management in terms of information collection and negotiations regarding catch methods and efficiencies.

The accuracy of information collected during vessel inspections, both in port and at sea, is a crucial component of the surveillance aspect of MCS. It is the initial inspection that verifies the fish onboard the vessel. Intermediate inspections during the authorized fishing period provide verification of compliance with fisheries legislation and obtain data used in the determination of catch rates and catching efficiency of the fishing unit, processing efficiency, and handling of waste product. Inspections in port or at sea also provide information on the safety-at-sea capability of the vessel.

5.1.12 Observers

The use of fisheries observers can be one of the most cost-effective MCS schemes available, though it may not be appropriate for all States. Observers can immediately check for compliance with regulations and report possible violations to enforcement authorities, who subsequently take enforcement action. A large measure of the success of any observer program depends on the professional competence and personal integrity of the observers. To be effective, these programs need close supervision and appropriate checks and balances to validate the accuracy of the data collected. A system of incentives to compensate observers is sometimes helpful.[75]

Some observer schemes have been less than successful, particularly where there have been insufficient safeguards to ensure the observer is able to accurately record data and observations without being subject to pressure from the master of the vessel. Observer programmes are unlikely to be successful when the observers are employed in a dual role of observer/crew member and are paid directly by the vessel master, thus creating a conflict of interest and compromising their role and loyalty to their fisheries duties.

Success in observer programmes has resulted when observers:

a) are funded by the fishing enterprises through the government, or some other co-ordinating body, such as the private sector;

b) are employed solely as such - that is, as monitors for the government (also in gathering scientific and technical data) and as advisers to the vessel masters regarding authorized fisheries activities;

c) are not granted enforcement powers;

d) receive appropriate training and evaluation;

e) paid appropriately for their often hazardous duties; and

f) are trained and promoted in a phased manner and see the programme in career terms, e.g. as a step to becoming a fisheries officer.

5.1.13 Licences

One of the most powerful tools available is the fishing licence. This document establishes the legal rights, privileges and obligations of fishers. In order for a licensing regime to be introduced, legislation must be enacted to require licenses as a precondition for fishing access, require that fishing be conducted in accordance with license conditions, and provide penalties for violations of such conditions. Enforcement officers must be given the necessary authority to control compliance with license conditions.

Fishing licences are analogous to contracts in the sense that the fisher voluntarily agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions in the licence in return for being granted access to the resource. This right of access also carries other benefits, including the exclusion of non-licence holders. A fisher loses his access to the resource by failing to comply with the terms and conditions.

Fishing licences issued to foreign fishing vessels may not impose conditions that are contrary to international law (e.g. by unreasonably restricting the right of innocent passage), but may set strict terms for granting access to a coastal State's marine resources.

The licence can be used to gain a wide variety of information related to fisheries activities in the area to which it applies. A license can require appropriate reports on fishing gear, activities in terms of time, location and catches, and can also require cooperation in fisheries management objectives. Furthermore, it is the primary mechanism for a State to receive a resource rent for the privilege of fishing.

5.1.14 Participatory management

Participatory management has been discussed earlier in this paper as an emerging management trend. It will be further amplified in Chapter 8.

5.1.15 Use of new technology

The use of new technology is always an attractive option, including new satellite capabilities, VMS, new aircraft, radar, infrared equipment and photographic technology (see Section 6.6). States should look carefully at the use of technology relative to operating conditions. A decision should be made based on these results, with appropriate attention to the cost of procurement and, just as importantly, to the operations and maintenance costs and local capability to meet these responsibilities. The suppliers of new equipment should be responsible for testing to assure that it meets the criteria established by the fisheries management authority. It remains the responsibility of the Fisheries Administrator to assess that performance and determine if a product meets specific management needs. The operations and maintenance training for new equipment should be included in the initial cost of the equipment.

5.1.16 "No force" measures

Due to the relatively high cost of MCS operations, there has been a growing trend to seek "no force" MCS strategies. The intent here is to pick those MCS tools that can be used to exercise sufficient monitoring and surveillance controls at the lowest cost possible. The most popular "no force" strategies include the use of a national or regional register of "vessels in good standing." Only vessels on this list would be eligible for licenses to fish. Information in the register includes the identification of the vessel and master and a record of performance and compliance. In a regional example, information is shared between participating States in the region and decisions can be made regarding a vessel and master in the entire area. The FFA experience in the South Pacific (see Annex D) is that vessel masters and fishing companies respect this approach, to the point that even the threat of removal of good standing has been enough to ensure compliance.

As noted earlier, vessel registration is an area that merits considerable attention for both MCS purposes and also vessel safety requirements. The potential exists for this to be a credible international management tool for both flag State and port State control. For example, developing States would benefit from being able to access information on third party vessels applying for registration.[76]

Other tools that can be applied in this category of "no force" mechanisms include:

a) port State control mechanisms and inspections;

b) flag State responsibility for the actions of its vessels;

c) observer programmes;

d) the requirement for a representative from a foreign fleet that is authorized to fish in a State's waters to be resident in the State, with full authority to act as an Agent for the vessels, direct vessels as required by the coastal State, and accept legal service for the vessels;

e) VMS and satellite technology that allow real-time analysis of data; and

f) remote video and digital photographic technologies including infrared tracking.

5.2 Consultation

The success of MCS operations in almost all cases has been as a result of liaison between parties with a vested interest in the fishing industry. Clear delineation and acceptance of roles, responsibilities and obligations has made the process easier for all parties to accept. The harvesting of any natural resource by a party intending to make a profit has always been a challenge, and nowhere is this more evident than in fisheries. Successful MCS operations have demonstrated the necessary requirement for all participants to understand and accept MCS management plans.

5.2.1 Fishing industry inputs

Effective fisheries management provides benefits to the fishers of current and future generations. Despite the obvious need to involve fishers in fisheries management decisions, States too often provide very little opportunity for input from fisheries practitioners. As a consequence, fishers are often suspicious of government actions.

Contact with fishers can often be facilitated through liaison with fisher groups, unions, or cooperatives, where these are in existence. Where these are not in place, community organization, extension and development officers can serve as appropriate links with fishers and their families. When fishers become confident that their interests are genuinely being served, the government will have a very influential ally in developing and implementing its management measures and its MCS plans.

The input of large commercial fishing enterprises that are connected to the international market for fishing vessels, joint venture agreements and trade are also very important in this exercise. However, practical experience has shown that placing too great an importance on one sector of the fishery, while neglecting the impact on other sectors (usually the artisanal, domestic fishers) may have undesirable results. The larger fishing enterprises should be encouraged to provide their input, and in fact will probably do so of their own accord due to their investment in the industry. The challenge will be in determining the balance between interests of the large fishing industry and the often less organized local artisanal and subsistence fishers.

5.2.2 Inter-agency liaison

The large number of ministries, departments and other government agencies involved in the marine sector creates the potential for administrative complexity. The respective roles of these agencies in an MCS system are discussed briefly below.

The Ministry of Justice and the judiciary need to understand the fisheries management objectives, policies and the importance of the resources and the ecosystem to the State and the fishers. They must also have a good understanding of the intent behind the fisheries management plans and the standard MCS procedures in order to reflect those objectives in implementing fisheries legislation. They will often be responsible for prosecuting violations of fisheries law.

The cooperation of the federal and municipal police agencies is an essential ingredient to successful MCS systems. These agencies are often the operational arm of the surveillance and enforcement component, due to a shortage of Fisheries Officers. The cooperation of all enforcement agencies through shared databases, shared training, and shared resources has proven to be very cost-effective in many States.

Port Authorities can be of considerable assistance in fisheries MCS, both for monitoring and surveillance. A port authority can facilitate coastal State port inspections, and efficiently monitor fish transshipments.

Cooperation with customs, immigration and defence agencies for surveillance purposes and to share resources can be cost-effective, especially when priorities coincide. In cases of joint patrols, fisheries MCS must often compete with other activities such as drug interception. One advantage of cooperation with these agencies is the sharing of surveillance information and the back-up support for fisheries surveillance activities. All these agencies will have an interest in fishing vessels during their port visits. In the Maldives, for example, Customs, Immigration and Coast Guard are often called upon to assist in monitoring and controlling port inspections, port transshipment and export of fish products as a secondary task when fisheries personnel are not available. The sharing of the fisheries database with the military can encourage cooperation. In Argentina, fisheries officials found that providing access to their fisheries VMS resulted in greater support and assistance from both the Navy and Coast Guard vessels and their respective aerial patrol support, who in turn readily shared information on fisheries activities from their surface and air patrols.

The Ministry of Health usually has an interest in the condition of foreign fishing vessels and crew when they enter port, and in the quality of any fisheries product that is being imported or exported. The Fisheries Administrator can often gain assistance from these officials regarding fish product inspection concerns.

In several States, the tourism agency plays a key and complementary role vis-à-vis the fisheries administration, especially in coastal areas. The parallel demands of tourism and the fishing industry often give rise to conflicts with regard to operational areas and use of the resources. Both agencies need to ensure the sustainability of the resources and therefore need to work together to resolve area and user conflicts for the mutual benefit of both the tourists and the fishers.[77] Valuable guidance on how to avoid these conflicts and on how to resolve any conflicts that do arise is discussed in the FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries series, in the volume on Integration of fisheries into coastal area management.[78]

The Department responsible for environment is always closely linked to fisheries interests, for no fishery can be healthy unless there is a healthy marine environment, as evidenced by the results of destructive fishing practices. MCS activities often take on dual responsibilities for fisheries and the environment and the sharing of monitoring resources and information should be encouraged.

The Ministry of Transport (or other agency responsible for harbours) is likely to take an increasingly active role in relation to safety-at-sea and vessel registration issues. Fisheries administrations can benefit significantly by close cooperation with transport authorities to reduce fatalities at sea through implementation of safety-at-sea regulations and inspections. Cooperation on vessel registration and standard vessel marking requirements is also an area for potential cooperation.

Foreign Affairs has a significant interest in fisheries, especially where it involves foreign fishing partners and negotiations. Foreign Affairs usually takes a lead role in these negotiations. The challenge for fisheries administrators, as noted earlier, is to ensure that the fundamental principles of fisheries management and MCS control are not compromised in negotiations. Key to the negotiations is the principle of cost effective MCS consistent with conservation of the stocks. Any negotiated change that increases the costs of MCS should consider a mechanism for cost recovery from those parties who will benefit from the management plan.

An example is the case where the foreign fishing partner wants all the licences for the foreign fleet to be picked up in port by one vessel with the fleet commander abroad. The coastal State then loses the opportunity to verify the fish onboard each vessel for later calculation of the total fish caught in the zone. There are three options that can be considered to prevent or offset this loss:

a) require all vessels to enter port for a vessel inspection, or require the fleet commander's vessel to carry observers, paid by the foreign fleet, to all other vessels to estimate fish onboard prior to commencement of fishing in the zone;

b) a fisheries officer would be transported by the fleet vessel to every vessel, and then returned to port; or

c) an agreement for a grant of the equivalent funding to permit the patrol vessel to deliver the licences to each vessel.

In all cases, foreign vessels should not fish until the total quantity and species of fish onboard has been verified by a fisheries officer, or government representative. These alternatives preserve the important principle of verification of fish onboard the vessel prior to the commencement of fishing operations in the State's zone. Similarly, any attempt to minimize the control mechanisms to verify catches from the State's waters by ignoring or waiving the final port inspection should be met with an alternative to enable MCS officers access to the vessel prior to departure from the zone. The importance of each of the MCS activities needs to be understood by the Foreign Affairs negotiator.

The fisheries units themselves, especially in the more remote areas of the State, need to be current with the fisheries MCS strategy. This is critical to maintain operational standards and standard information collection efforts. Close liaison and cooperation with the devolved authorities, provinces, states, districts or municipalities is essential for MCS activities to develop appropriate implementation strategies in a common and standard manner.

The heart of successful MCS operations in the field is a reliable communications system. A telecommunications network is essential in the current fishing environment, both for efficiency and safety. Lack of information creates insecurity, concern and difficulty in supporting government policies. The Fishery Officer's ability to provide current information on management measures is critical to maintaining credibility in the fishing community. All field units must be fully aware of the current policies and the rationale behind resource management decisions. On the other hand, it is also important that fisheries officials in headquarters realize the benefits of the information that can be provided by their field units for all aspects of fisheries management and MCS operations. Argentina (Profile 6) has established one of the more successful inter-agency liaison arrangements between fisheries and the supporting military agencies.

5.3 MCS Plans

MCS plays a key role in monitoring and data collection, in developing the legislative base for successful implementation, and as the enforcement arm of the policy. Thus, MCS must be an integral part of planning from the very commencement of fisheries management. Once it is determined which control mechanisms (effort, catch, quota, area, and fishing gear type, or a combination of these) will be used for fisheries management, MCS officials can assist in planning an enforceable fisheries management plan for both the domestic and foreign fleets. The involvement of MCS from the start of the negotiations and planning is doubly important for foreign fishing negotiations, in order to ensure enforceable agreements.

MCS planning stems from the approved management plan for the area in question. It results in a detailed sequence of activities for implementation of the management plan. Guidelines for this process are noted below.

5.3.1 How to write an Action Plan[79]

Key points to bear in mind when drafting MCS action plans include the following.

a) Only one person should write an action plan after brainstorming, participatory involvement and information gathering.

b) The writer determines the priorities related to objectives and goals. All sentences in the action plan should be active, that is, start with a verb, be clear, and direct.

c) Assign only one person to each task, with a follow-up monitor. Divide all main goals into sub-functions that clearly describe actions leading to the goal.

d) Frequently update action plans - they are not static and require at least monthly updates.

e) Each action should have a time line for activities and a deadline for completion for accountability and to reduce panic.

f) All tasks should be prioritized for information of all staff and the leader for implementation of the plan.

g) Above all be realistic and do not promise what cannot be achieved.

Next, a State must design an MCS system that is most appropriate for the fisheries management plan. The following steps are involved:[80]

a) identification of all resource users and interest groups;

b) assessment of MCS measures to implement the management plan (gear/area/season restrictions; licenses; limited access/catch/bycatch; control checks and frequency; market restrictions, etc.)

c) review of legal requirements and their status (e.g. has the relevant law been brought into effect or is it still a draft?);

d) assessment of current assets (human and equipment) and professional capability (e.g. training requirements);

e) MCS operation to address management needs, e.g. air surveillance, VMS, satellite imagery, data collection, port controls, sea inspections, surveys, etc.;

f) list objectives for the chosen MCS operation, and the human and equipment resources required;

g) note available resources and options to address shortfalls, e.g. supplement existing equipment by buying, chartering or sharing equipment, and increase human resources by increasing and training staff to meet new challenges, by employing staff on a part-time basis, or by contracting the private sector to undertake specific tasks; and

h) calculate the investment requirements - procurement and operating costs by year.

Answers to the above queries will provide the information required for the budget exercise of implementing the MCS plan. These results can then be used to determine if current government budgets are adequate to achieve the plan requirements. The full plan will be the summary of the budget and operational requirements for legislation to meet MCS operational intentions, equipment and human resource needs, training, and the information or data management system requirements with cost projections to cover the period set for the exercise.

[74] Legislation in the Maldives provides that all foreign vessels must come to port for inspection prior to departure from the EEZ. Unfortunately, this is not always enforced.
[75] A very effective multi-graded observer programme for the offshore fisheries has been developed recently in Namibia. See: Berge and Davies (1996/97).
[76] For further information, see FAO (2002).
[77] In the Maldives, tourism took over the key foreign interest earnings from fisheries, but fisheries remains the major employer and export earner. Conflicts over areas of access are being resolved by designation of protected areas, and more recently attempts are being made for closer inter-agency cooperation mechanisms.
[78] FAO, 1996a.
[79] Drawn from Bergh and Davies (2000).
[80] Ibid.

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