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This final chapter focuses on MCS specifically in regard to coastal fisheries and the management of coastal areas. Although a number of points related to coastal MCS have already been mentioned in previous discussion (see especially sections 3.4.3, 4.5.2, 7.1.3), separate treatment seems warranted due to the global importance of coastal fisheries and the critical links between coastal environments and the sustainability of these fisheries. Most marine and large lake capture fisheries across the world are based on coastal stocks. Furthermore, offshore fisheries often exploit stocks that depend on inshore areas during part of their development cycle (e.g. for nursery or feeding needs). Primary productivity processes in the coastal area are also fundamental to the food chain that supports fish stocks. Finally, coastal area space and resources are essential to the operation of various types of aquaculture activities.[95]

8.1 Coastal Areas and Integrated Coastal Management

An estimated one quarter of the world's population lives in coastal areas. Humans continue to migrate towards the coast; the current population of 220 million people in coastal cities is projected to almost double in the next twenty to thirty years.[96] In some States, particularly island States, a very high percentage of the population lives on or near the coast. For example, an estimated 60 percent of Indonesia's population of 200 million lives in coastal areas.[97]

Coastal areas typically have both highly valuable and productive ecosystems and extraordinarily high levels of human economic activity. In many States, this has led to over-exploitation of coastal resources and severe degradation of the environment. In response, the integrated coastal management (ICM)[98] approach has been developed as a means of managing human interactions with coastal ecosystems in a holistic manner, seeking to balance the competing demands of different users of coastal resources and to optimise the benefits obtained from the use of these resources without degrading coastal environments.

Agenda 21 adopted the ICM approach.[99] To support implementation of Agenda 21 in this area, FAO issued the Integrated Management of Coastal Zones,[100] which identifies actions that governments can take to manage coastal resources more effectively. The 1998 publication on Integrated coastal area management and agriculture, forestry and fisheries (the FAO ICAM guidelines) also provides excellent theoretical and practical guidance for planners in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sub-sectors who are concerned with planning and natural resource management in marine coastal areas.[101] Many States have adopted the ICM approach. A 1997 review of ICM efforts throughout the world concluded that approximately 90 coastal States had been involved in at least 180 programmes, projects or feasibility studies in relation to ICM.[102]

Article 10 of CCRF also emphasises the importance of integrating fisheries management into coastal area management. It suggests that States:

a) take fisheries into consideration in a more holistic approach to coastal resource management, especially noting the impacts of pollution, habitat degradation and spatial conflicts that are increasing due to demands from the multi-users of this zone;

b) include fisheries and their habitat in coastal resource management (CRM);

c) take into account the fragile nature of the coastal ecosystems;

d) involve the fishers and fisher communities in the decision-making processes;

e) take into account rights of coastal communities in setting rights of access;

f) set fisheries practices that avoid conflict among fishers; and

g) establish conflict resolution mechanisms.

Articles 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4 address policy, regional cooperation and the implementation of coastal management processes.[103]

Volume 3 of the FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries, Integration of fisheries into coastal area management,[104] calls for a holistic approach to coastal fisheries management for a variety of reasons. One of the most important reasons is that ICM provides a mechanism for controlling activities that have a negative impact on fisheries but over which fisheries administrations have no control. For example, coastal fisheries may be severely affected by factors such as pollution from land-based sources, habitat degradation (e.g. clearing of mangroves and other forests, thereby causing sedimentation), and spatial conflicts where other coastal developments gradually displace coastal fisheries. It also emphasises the importance of providing for the participation of representatives of the fisheries sector and fisheries community in decision-making processes and other activities related to coastal area management planning and development.

One of the difficulties facing managers of coastal areas and those involved in drafting coastal management legislation is how to define the extent of the coastal zone. The flexibility of the coastal zone concept is noted in the following extract from FAO Technical Paper 327, Integrated management of coastal zones.

[The coastal zone is] ...the interface between the land and the sea and may extend inland and seaward to a variable extent, depending upon the objectives and needs to the particular programme. By virtually any set of criteria, the coastal zone is a linear band of land and water that straddles the coast - a "corridor" in planning parlance - which has a one-dimensional aspect. The second dimension (width from onshore to offshore) tends to be overshadowed by the linearity: thus people talk about being at the coast or on the coast, but never in the coast.

The boundaries of the coastal zone depend on political, administrative, legal, ecological and pragmatic consideration because there is a broad array of possible coastal issues and because the zone can be affected by remote activities. A narrow coastal zone could be appropriate if its purpose were to manage only the shoreline and inter-tidal waters. If watershed issues are of concern, then an inland extension is necessary. Likewise, if the issues extend ... seaward then a more extensive seaward area might be appropriate.[105]

The territorial sea (from the shoreline out to 12 nautical miles) is typically the area for coastal fisheries. Usually other zones are established both within and beyond the territorial sea for other management reasons - e.g. protection of subsistence fisheries and fixed fishing gear, delineation of restricted areas for mobile gear, and reduction of gear conflicts, to name a few.

8.2 Challenges Facing Fisheries Administrators in Coastal Areas

Administration of coastal fisheries is often faced with difficulties arising from the sheer number of people, coastal geography, and the multiple uses and activities common to coastal areas. The registration or licensing of subsistence fishers, and monitoring gear and landings requires considerable effort. Without checks and balances and consistent funding, the system can easily be disrupted.

Integrating fisheries management into coastal area management poses a number of challenges to fisheries administrators beyond those that arise in relation to the management of offshore fisheries. Attempts to meet these challenges have led to new approaches to management. As Christie and White point out,

Analysis of the various forms that coastal management has taken allows the identification of three important trends:

1. increasingly interdisciplinary research and integration of management;

2. increased interest and reliance on traditional knowledge and management systems; and

3. increased reliance on local participation.[106]

8.2.1 Stakeholder participation in ICM

In many parts of the world, central governments try to manage coastal fisheries without involving local communities. This approach has often resulted in failure due to the lack of participation by stakeholders, and has led to the recognition that:

[A] more dynamic partnership is needed, using the capacities and interests of the local fishers and community, complemented by the ability of the state to provide enabling legislation, enforcement and other assistance, specifically co-management. Co-management aims to achieve joint responsibility and authority for resource management through cooperation between the government and local resource users.[107]

For example, in the latter part of the 1970s and early 1980s, "the Philippines embarked on several initiatives towards community-based coastal management in response to the failures of more centralized approaches."[108] The evolving concept of collaborative or joint stakeholder and government management of coastal activities is one of the powerful and important aspects of ICM today.[109]

8.2.2 Socio-economic status of coastal fishers and "open access"

In many coastal areas, rural artisanal fishers are the poorest of the poor - people who work in the sector as an "employment of last resort." Depending mostly on the sea for their very survival, often lacking in formal education, and occupying the lowest end of the socio-economic ladder, they are among those most in need of assistance from the State. Families migrate to the sea and often settle unofficially in coastal areas, thus further increasing the pressures on stressed coastal resources.

The combination of the increasing numbers of subsistence fishers and the "open access" policies in many States contributes to increased over-fishing and over-capacity in coastal areas. It is essential to limit access to fisheries resources as part of a broad strategy of reducing fishing effort and developing alternate livelihood opportunities to encourage fishers to leave the sector.

As the FAO Technical Guidelines on Integration of fisheries into coastal area management points out:

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

It is important that where there is free and open access to coastal fisheries resources that this regime be replaced as soon as possible by one based on exclusive use rights. There are a number of reasons 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 incremental benefits will be dissipated in the same way as resource rents. Conversely, as fisheries move towards an exclusive-rights regime, it is essential that they can operate in an overall rights-based system of coastal resources development.[110]

8.2.3 Coral reefs and mangrove nurseries

Another challenge not present in the offshore commercial fishery is linked to coral reefs and mangroves. These are the nurseries of tropical fisheries, the base for the lucrative and growing live reef fish restaurant trade (US$150/kg for high priced species) and global aquarium fish trade. The increase in the use of destructive methods of blast and poison fishing to serve these two markets is extremely damaging to the sustainability of the fisheries and their habitat. Destructive fishing practices also have a negative impact on the tourism trade. Coral reefs in good to excellent condition are expected to yield approximately 1020 mt/km2/yr and the world's coral reefs have been estimated at a value of approximately US$345 billion per year.[111] However, losses are estimated at up to US$100 000/km2 for each of the 3 000 km2 of pristine reefs destroyed annually.[112]

8.2.4 Non-fisheries interests

The desire of industries involved in transportation, trade, tourism and other coastal development initiatives to locate near the sea increases pressure on the coastal ecosystem. These other interests typically have investment capital that far exceeds that of subsistence fishers, such that fisheries management often receives a lower priority. As noted in the FAO Technical Guidelines on Integration of fisheries into coastal area management, the fisheries agency, as representatives of fishers, needs to ensure a strong and appropriate fisheries input into multi-sector discussions on coastal area development.

8.2.5 Political context

As discussed earlier in the paper (Section 3.4), MCS activities need a central umbrella of policies and guidance under which local governments, according to the level of devolution permitted by law, can operate. In particular:

8.2.6 Research and information

The cross-sectoral scope of ICM and its highly participatory nature generate a need for considerably more research to make informed management decisions. By way of example, establishing an ICM system that incorporates coastal fisheries management as an integral part may involve conducting some or all of the following studies:

a) political will assessment;

b) participatory management studies to determine the degree to which authority has been devolved, and the current involvement of the coastal community and stakeholders[113] in management, alternatively, the need to encourage such input;

c) socio-economic studies of coastal dwellers and fishers to provide information regarding their dependency on the coastal resources, as well as the alternative livelihood opportunities;

d) alternative livelihood opportunity assessments to determine the potential to promote "exit strategies" from the fisheries to reduce pressures on coastal resources;

e) reviews of the current legislative framework for resource management to demonstrate the need for revision, or to identify the point where the community can have appropriate input to foster joint stewardship and collaboration in the coastal management and MCS processes;

f) coastal resource assessments to determine priorities and timing of corrective action;

g) reviews of forestry and reforestation activities and catchment management to determine the need for rehabilitation of the forest and watershed base to control runoff and erosion and the need for MCS activities in the land-based sector;[114]

h) assessments of coastal agriculture, the use of pesticides and the extent of run-off to determine the impact on the coastal area and the requirement for legislative instruments and action to address these negative impacts on the coastal area;

i) participatory assessment of the resource impacts to help identify any short-comings in the controls on heavy industry and pollution;

j) tourism studies to identify both beneficial and conflicting interactions with fisheries management;

k) studies of coastal/subsistence fisheries activities versus commercial fisheries to show the potential interaction between the two and to determine the liaison and conflict resolution mechanisms needed for successful implementation of management plans, and appropriate MCS action;

l) resource management studies to determine the degree of compliance versus illegal fishing activities, to provide information to determine the appropriate and acceptable MCS strategies; and

m) assessments of destructive fishing activities assessments which can be used to provide information for MCS needs for either education (a preventive approach to MCS), or for a more forceful and deterrent approach to MCS.

8.3 The Role of Fisheries MCS in ICM

In order for traditional fisheries MCS to be integrated into MCS systems for other coastal activities, fisheries administrations (including personnel responsible for MCS) should be involved in the preparation of ICM programmes. Furthermore, relevant information needs to be shared among all agencies involved in ICM, programme implementation needs to incorporate the preventive MCS elements discussed below, and enforcement activities need to be closely coordinated between the agencies operating in coastal areas.

ICM managers have often given inadequate attention to fully integrating MCS principles into community involvement activities at an early stage. MCS has in general been omitted, or added at a later stage for enforcement purposes only. Inclusion of MCS principles at the very outset will:

a) result in a better understanding of the requirements for MCS activities and community-accepted legislative measures to support the management plan;

b) encourage community participation in actual implementation of the plan, e.g. through educational seminars at schools, local community clubs, local fishers meetings, coast and reef watch networks, and observer programmes; and therefore

c) encourage voluntary compliance with the plan.

An example of participatory involvement in management and preventive MCS is the USAID Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP) in the Philippines, shown as Profile 9.

Coastal MCS can be seen as one of the key mechanisms for achieving integrated implementation of participatory management plans. Inclusion of an MCS perspective into the educational, public awareness and outreach elements of an ICM programme will encourage most people to comply with the laws and ICM plans voluntarily. Policing aspects of the MCS system can then be focused on a smaller group of persistent offenders.

The South African experience in combating abalone poaching (described in Profile 10) shows both the benefits that can flow from cooperation among enforcement agencies and local communities and the inherent limitations of a primary focus on the policing element of coastal MCS. As is clear from the conclusions, involving the community from the start in developing proactive and preventive strategies, and addressing the root causes of the problem, are essential to achieve long-term success.

Profile 9. Coastal resource management in the Philippines - CRMP

The key elements of this CRM project were:

  • education of communities in management processes through public awareness campaigns, seminars and specific technical training;

  • application of participatory management practices for rapid resource assessment and resource mapping to familiarize the community and local managers with the resource base through the mapping exercise;

  • scientific verification of the resource mapping exercises, where possible;

  • participatory development and implementation of a coastal management plan, including accommodation of multi-sectoral interest group requirements; and

  • monitoring, evaluation and refinement as appropriate.

This project involved the following steps:

1. signing Memoranda of Agreement with participating communities to ensure their commitment to the initiatives;

2. encouraging local government authorities to make annual budget allocations for CRM as a show of commitment to achieving sustainability;

3. establishing local resource management organizations (e.g. around reefs, mangroves; fisheries, etc.);

4. undertaking resource assessments with the participation of stakeholder communities (i.e. gathering of information, community entry and preparation, participant observation, interviews and household surveys, identification and classification of resources, habitats and other environmental factors, mapping to include local knowledge and historical trends, database and profile development, enhancement of the role of women in participatory coastal resource assessment);

5. evaluating coastal resource management opportunities, constraints and issues, and on this basis formulating recommendations for the management plan;

6. monitoring and evaluation on the basis of CRM plans finally adopted by communities;[115]

7. developing and implementing fisheries and coastal management legislative instruments to support the implementation of CRM plans;

8. establishing and training coastal law enforcement teams and bringing them into operation;

9. declaring, monitoring and protecting marine fisheries sanctuaries and protected areas;

10. placing mangrove areas under community conservation management;

11. enforcing municipal waters boundaries; and

12. establishing environment-friendly enterprises to provide alternative livelihoods[116].

The project demonstrated the importance of stakeholder participation. This should be encouraged in three key ways - viz.: consultation for input into management planning; involvement in the planning; and empowerment and full participation of the community at all levels of management.

Profile 10. Participatory MCS - the South African experience


In 1994 poaching of abalone rocketed along the Southwest coast of South Africa. This was partially related to the transition of the State to a full democracy which led to local communities claiming rights to harvest abalone and rock lobster on the basis that under the apartheid regime they had been unjustly excluded from access to fisheries. This led to conflicts with established divers and violent confrontations broke out between the illegal fishers, licensed commercial divers and the police. Initially it was a local issue but the very high value of the abalone on the international market soon resulted in the involvement of local street gangs and sophisticated international syndicates that provide the necessary channels to export abalone to the Far East. The rapid escalation of the problem meant that it was no longer the sole concern of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM), which did not have the capacity to deal with major local and international criminal networks. In response to outcries from coastal communities and environmental organizations who were angered by the rapid destruction of the resource and the increased lawlessness in the areas, a cooperative policing venture known as "Operation Neptune" was launched. The operation was implemented jointly by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and MCM but with the assistance of other stakeholders. The operation commenced in February 1999 and lasted for an initial period of six months. A second operation (Neptune II) was launched when the termination of the first operation resulted in a massive increase in illegal fishing.

The geographical focus of Operation Neptune was to curtail illegal fishing of abalone along a defined area of the South-west Cape near Cape Town. There were two main objectives: a) to prevent further destruction of the abalone stocks by increasing law enforcement visibility along the coast to deter illegal fishing; and b) to clamp down on illegal fishing by improving intelligence gathering, arresting those involved and seizing illegal catches. The operation was also designed to reduce crime in general in the area.

A special task force was assembled that included both police and fisheries personnel, with additional assistance from the army, navy and locally based organizations (such as local authority enforcement officers and a community-based organization, Sea Watch). Personnel from other areas in South Africa were brought in to assist with the operation and officers were rotated regularly to prevent illegal fishers from getting to know them and then attempting to bribe or corrupt them. Members of the special task force were visible on a 24 hour basis and continually changed their shift times to be unpredictable.

Impacts of Operation Neptune

Different sectors of the community had different views as to the effectiveness of Operation Neptune. However, it seems clear that it had several positive consequences, including: a) increased coordination and cooperation between enforcement agencies (primarily MCM and SAPS) and also between them and community structures such as Sea Watch and the Nature Conservation Department of the local authority; b) a drop in general crime in the area of operation; c) an increased feeling of security in local communities and an improved sense of trust between fishers and the SAPS; and d) creation of a strong deterrent to illegal fishing.

A number of negative aspects were also identified by the authorities and local community members. These included: a) the short time frame of the operation (subsequently addressed by reinstating the operation as Operation Neptune II); b) reduction in supply and consequent increased black market price of abalone; c) adoption by poachers of more sophisticated ways of operating (more organized networks, movement into other fishing areas); d) insufficient fines and jail sentences imposed by the courts; e) insufficient training in of Neptune taskforce members in marine species identification and handling of confiscated abalone or rock lobster; f) inadequate funding; and g) insufficient assistance to allow local people to develop coordinated, long-term strategies to address the problem rather than relying on short-term solutions based on bringing in personnel from the outside.


Operation Neptune was undoubtedly more successful than the previous ad hoc law enforcement strategies that often led to aggressive confrontations between coastal communities and the authorities. It was given substantial support from commercial divers and by communities most affected by gangs and other criminals involved in illegally harvesting the abalone. However, it is clear that such an operation is only likely to have a lasting impact on deterring illegal fishing if it: a) is implemented with a long-term vision; b) works closely with local community structures, fishers and fishing groups; and c) is closely linked with a serious programme to improve equitable access rights to inshore resources for local communities.

8.4 Establishing an MCS System for Coastal Waters

This section discusses four basic steps to establish MCS systems for coastal waters:

a) assessing the relevant influencing factors;
b) establishing appropriate inter-agency mechanisms;
c) incorporating preventive MCS approaches in CRM planning; and
d) evaluating various options for coastal MCS and combining these appropriately.

8.4.1 Step One: Assessment of the influencing factors

The assessments of the influencing factors in coastal resource management will provide the national parameters under which the coastal management process can proceed. This initial review of national policies and guidelines will define the "umbrella" under which the MCS system will operate.

For example, the review should assess whether or not:

a) a policy of "open access" is ensured through the current legal system, which places limitations and pressures on MCS activities (without limited entry, the promotion of "exit" schemes will fail);

b) devolution of authority will enable subsistence fishers to be registered or licensed to assist in obtaining data for sustainable and responsible fisheries management;

c) the re-application for fishing licences, gear, and fishers can be done locally;

d) there is a national data information system for linkage with the local system being established for CRM, providing feedback for local management purposes;

e) there are national guidelines for the marking and identification of fishing vessels to which the CRM system must link;

f) there are national standards for staffing, training and MCS operations that the local CRM MCS system can access, or with which it must comply;

g) there is a national policy regarding participatory management; and

h) policies exist regarding fishing zones, inter-agency mechanisms, and their potential impact on the MCS design.

8.4.2 Step Two: Inter-Agency Mechanisms

The next challenge for coastal area management is to address the mix of overlapping mandates of the agencies involved in the coastal area. The positive interaction of local agencies will be critical to the success of the coastal MCS programme.

As pointed out in the 1998 FAO ICAM guidelines, it is in the interests of fisheries sector institutions to take the initiative in coastal area management processes. There are a number of advantages to be gained through such initiative, including the following.

a) Fisheries sector institutions would be able to exert more influence on future developments, particularly where the ICM policy or supporting legislation establishes the principle that priority should be given to coast-dependent developments, thereby providing a rationale for prioritising uses such as fisheries, which by their very nature are dependent on inherent attributes of the coastal area;

b) As an extension of this, fisheries administrations would be able to influence decisions affecting the success of fisheries management in general and MCS strategies in particular, including input into strategies to alleviate the socio-economic hardships suffered by many subsistence fishers.

c) Sector institutions would also be able to build alliances with other institutions or interest groups around issues of common interest that may be politically important in protecting fisheries' interests.

ICM requires inter-agency mechanisms to discuss and resolve conflicts of interest at the local level, and often at higher levels as well. Such conflicts arise from the overlapping mandates of different branches of government with regard to coastal areas (industry, transportation, tourism, customs, security, fisheries, etc.). They often first become evident in two ways - namely: area jurisdiction and registration/licensing of fishers, boats and gear.

In Sri Lanka, Special Area Management (SAMs) Committees on which local stakeholders are represented have proved very successful for lagoon and coastal management. Such Committees can form the basis for cooperative efforts with respect to licensing and registration of coastal fishers, conflict resolution, decision-making on development activities (including for fisheries), and education on management processes.

8.4.3 Step Three: Preventive MCS in CRM planning

CRM planning should encourage voluntary compliance by coastal fishers through various means. First, MCS should be introduced as part of the participatory community resource assessment exercises. These exercises should identify the need to protect the resources as they are mapped, and any problem areas needing special attention. This establishes MCS as an activity integrated with management.

Second, MCS requirements should be taken into account in the development of a community-based data system for management of the coastal area, such as a means of identifying fishers, vessels and landings. MCS requirements can be highlighted during the planning process through education seminars and workshops to demonstrate their role in the management process.

Third, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) sessions should address development of an appropriate and acceptable MCS system for the coastal area. The MCS information requirements, equipment, and staffing needs should be considered, along with the idea of acceptable limits for quotas, zones and methods to address subsistence fishers.

Finally, training requirements need to be identified for MCS in coastal areas, either for community-based monitoring programmes (e.g. reef watch or coast watch) or for integrated, inter-agency law enforcement activities. Criteria for personnel to provide this training and for selection of trainees must be developed.

8.4.4 Step Four: Coastal MCS options

There are several options for MCS strategies in coastal areas that warrant discussion between the government and the fishers, and other interested parties.


As noted earlier, failure to license or register subsistence fishers creates a major gap in information on those using the resources, the effort, and the landings. The absence of a licensing system is often justified on the basis of some or all of the following considerations:

a) open access policies of governments;

b) the difficulties of processing the very large numbers of operators involved in subsistence fisheries;

c) the idea that subsistence fishers have an inherent right to continue fishing under the concept of "employment of last resort;"

d) illiteracy among subsistence fishers; and/or

e) the inability of subsistence fishers to pay for licences.

For management and MCS purposes, however, licensing or registration is essential to determine numbers of fishers, boats and gear. Otherwise it will not be possible to address fishing over-capacity in most coastal areas. Where there is devolved fisheries management authority, licensing (with fees as appropriate to the capacity of fishers to pay) can be implemented at the local level. Alternatively, registration without fees can be implemented to serve both fisheries management purposes and future social assistance programmes.

If fishers can see a benefit to registration (e.g. identification for possible economic assistance, with no assistance to be provided to those who do not register) then most will probably register. A system could be established through the local communities, which would be more likely to ensure that the registrations were correct if the area in question were to be set aside for their exclusive use and management.

A photograph of the fisher with his or her address and age, and a simple vessel licence containing a photograph and details of the vessel size and propulsion equipment, could be utilized for this basic registration process. In addition to fisheries management the benefits of such a system often include a means of identification for the individual (who may have no other identification) for such purposes as hospital services, social assistance, certification of professional status as a fisher, etc.

Data collection

It is also easier to develop and verify a data collection system (see Section 4.5.2) that includes information on fishing effort and landings if this responsibility is devolved to local community officials, aggregated, and then transmitted to the higher authorities. This system should always be developed within national guidelines to ensure integration and compatibility with the national system for data input and analysis and to facilitate training. Many States have effectively used a network of part-time data collectors at the landing sites, especially where special coastal landing stations are designed with facilities and services that will attract users (e.g. ice, boat repairs, buyer stands, etc.). Data systems for coastal resource management need not be complicated, but they must be accurate.

Community involvement in MCS

Coastal MCS systems need to be developed with regard to growing trends towards devolution of government authority and community participation in management. Options already alluded to in this and earlier chapters (sections 3.3.3, 3.4.3, 4.5.2, 5.2, and 7.1) include:

a) introducing education and public awareness component(s) of MCS to promote voluntary compliance;

b) considering MCS options that directly support conservation of coastal resources and including these in the coastal resource management plan;

c) ensuring that communities are consulted during the process of drafting local legislation, and by-laws and ordinances needed to implement the management plan; and

d) instituting coast watch or reef watch programmes that follow the same general principles as an observer programme to observe, record and report, but to take no direct enforcement action.

Individuals participating in watch programmes should not have enforcement authority. Personnel would be utilized in an observation, "no force" role to provide information to the community and authorized law enforcement personnel to take appropriate follow-up enforcement action. It is strongly recommended from past experience that protection of individuals assigned to watch programmes be included in legislation.


The selection of MCS equipment for coastal MCS varies widely. Basic equipment for coast watchers would include:

Coastal MCS requirements in transportation could include small patrol vessels - either speedboats or rigid-hulled inflatables. Vessels of 7-9 m are often required for inshore waters while vessels of 18-25 m are more appropriate for the near-shore to commercial offshore seas.

A definite "must" for equipment in coastal areas is an appropriate radio and telecommunications system for contact with MCS assets and resources to ensure back-up support. No personnel should be permitted to go into the field without appropriate back-up support available and reliable links with the base office for safety and security reasons. Radio systems of the High Frequency (HF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) are readily available and inexpensive. Linked to the communications requirements is the hand-held global positioning system (GPS). GPS enables field personnel to determine their position at all times for both operational and safety purposes.

Use of "no force" techniques such as small coastal radars can also provide early warning information and permit risk assessment of intrusions into any coastal zones established by the management plans. A small coastal radar system in Senegal provided community leaders and government officials with inter-linking coastal radar to protect the six nm coastal zone. Officials noting an intruder would seek assistance from a local fisher to use a fishing boat to come alongside the intruder, take a picture, record its position with a hand held GPS, record identifying markings on the vessel, and return to the beach. The information would then be passed to the local law enforcement personnel who would then take appropriate action to apprehend the vessel within a 24 hour period. Coastal radars are being tested in Indonesia in two marine parks to provide early warning against intruders and permit MCS enforcement staff to intercept these vessels. These are also being used to monitor the "access gates" to the marine parks.[118]

The Race Rocks Marine Protected Area in Canada has provided an innovative experience in MCS technology by using an interactive web page to promote public awareness. The web page allows the internet visitor to activate a real time remote camera on location to actually view various sites within the park. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has received calls from visitors to the web page to report illegal activities in the area.[119]

Coastal area MCS system can also make good use of video and night vision video for "no force" techniques and record evidence for court proceedings. Further "no force" technology includes links with national VMS or satellite imagery systems, if available, for risk assessment and early warning of potential threats to coastal resources from larger commercial vessels. The use of computer technology and GIS systems noted earlier in the paper (Section 6.6) are also applicable for coastal management and operations. However, the myriad of options should be tempered by the costs, benefits and an assessment of real needs of the area, and not be driven by a desire to acquire the latest technology.

Staff and training

As with all MCS systems, a paramount requirement for coastal MCS is appropriately selected and trained staff. MCS systems can only be successful through the involvement of professional staff with integrity, enthusiasm and the ability and willingness to learn. Training should cover all subjects including: verbal communications; radio communications; integrated multi-sector management planning; conducting seminars; navigation; statistics; inspection techniques; monitoring of landings; preparation of legal staff and witnesses for court proceedings; and an array of administrative duties. Training courses must be developed to address each coastal management situation in a participatory manner.

8.5 Safety-at-Sea and Coastal MCS

Safety-at-sea in the context of fishing operations is addressed as part of Article 8 of the CCRF and its associated Technical Guidelines.[120] Problems of fisher safety are increasing in many States as effort is transferred to offshore zones. Local fishers "...are now taking more risks by ranging beyond their 'normal' fishing grounds and going farther offshore, sometimes for several days, in basically the same small fishing boats and canoes which they've been using for day trips in the nearshore zone."[121]

One factor driving this trend is the depletion of resources in traditional inshore grounds in the face of mounting fishing pressure and other non-fishing activities within the coastal zone that lead to pollution and habitat degradation. Limited access to coastal areas due to conflicts between coastal resource interest and user groups, including different fisher groups, has resulted in fishers going farther offshore with increased safety risks. Finally, domestic fishing interests may push for expansion of domestic fleet operations to displace foreign fishing operations and/or to access under-exploited marine resources.

8.5.1 Strategy and cost

Annual mortality rates reaching one (1) percent are impressing on fishers and fisheries administrators the need for greater attention to safety. However, for many tropical fisheries the high cost of "northern" sea safety programmes are not realistic. Northern solutions are based on heavy seas, high labour costs and low capital costs that result in heavily constructed vessels and extensive safety gear. In the tropics, the opposite is sometimes true, the seas are not as heavy and fishers generally do not venture out in rough waters. Furthermore, the same safety equipment becomes a very high capital cost and in many cases is prohibitively expensive, while labour is much less expensive. Consequently, solutions relying on greater use of labour and less costly equipment are more attractive in the tropics. When fishers are informed of actions that they can take to improve their safety at sea at a reasonably low cost, there is a good chance the recommendations will be followed.

The fundamental strategy for safety at sea relies on three approaches, namely:

a) prevention;
b) survival and self-rescue; and
c) search and rescue.

Methods, equipment and techniques exist to facilitate use of each of these approaches in artisanal and smallcraft fisheries. Costs are not as prohibitive as "northern" approaches, can be supported by tropical fishers, and can work to reduce fatal incidents.

8.5.2 Institutional supporting structures

Institutional supporting structures that can assist in the implementation of such approaches include: mutual insurance groups, fisher's sea safety committees and communication links with MCS systems.[122]

Mutual insurance groups

The idea behind mutual insurance groups is that it is in the interests of the whole group to ensure compliance with sea safety standards and procedures. Any individual loss will affect the premiums for the entire group. Peer pressure thus ensures compliance with insurance requirements for safety equipment and good safety-at-sea practices.

Fishers' sea safety committees

Sea safety committees are based on fishers' self-help groups and can fulfil a number of important functions. They can:

a) act as a strong lobby group to press for compensation for loss of equipment caused by industrial vessels;

b) use members' dues for search and rescue costs;

c) support sea safety training and procurement of safety equipment for small vessels, such as basic communications equipment, etc.; and

d) link with MCS Systems to augment Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.

Links with MCS systems

Enabling fishers to establish communication links with the MCS system can play an important part in ensuring greater safety at sea for fishers by enabling fisheries staff to receive calls for assistance and to effect rescues. In some instances it may be possible to mobilise Navy or Coast Guard assets to assist with rescue missions, and this again is an area where inter-agency coordination is important. However, military and policy units are often not available on a permanent stand-by basis for SAR operations within coastal fisheries. MCS assets, on the other hand, are often at sea during the same periods and in the same areas as fishers. By default, the fisheries MCS units will be called upon for SAR duties as fishers become better equipped with safety and communications equipment, and as the level of professionalism within the units themselves increases through training and practice.

8.5.3 National, regional and international responsibilities

Government agencies responsible for safety at sea can encourage greater levels of industry responsibility by legally requiring fishers to have more up-to-date training and safer onboard equipment as part of vessel registration procedures.

In addition, it is suggested that the following measures be considered:[123]

a) forming national safety- at-sea services for commercial and artisanal fishers to include relevant government agencies, NGOs, and representatives of fishers and vessel owners;

b) developing of a national monitoring capability to analyse incidents and recommend practices to address concerns;

c) developing instructors' courses to raise awareness for safe practices at sea for fishers, boat builders, owners and rescuers;

d) developing effective marketing for safety equipment and through fishers groups promoting the acquisition of this equipment;

e) ensuring the integrity of vessel inspection schemes;

f) assigning full-time professionals to a national safety-at-sea programme;

g) developing SAR capabilities in regions and locally where possible; and

h) establishing a continuing national programme for Safety-at-Sea education.

National efforts can be encouraged and assisted through the sharing of fishing vessel safety information and training experiences on a subregional or regional basis. Safety-at-sea is thus another area in which States can cooperate for mutual advantage on MCS activities (see sections 3.2.7 and 4.1).

Where possible, IMO, FAO and other interested organizations can also assist by:

a) developing and presenting guidelines for fisher safety-at-sea;

b) developing and establishing minimum safety equipment for various sized fishing vessels where none currently apply;

c) developing and facilitating training of fishers at all levels in the use of safety-at-sea equipment and practices; and

d) providing a pool of information, both written and through electronic means for safety instructors in developing States for access by fishers, boat owners and suppliers of fishing apparatus as part of a global awareness and promotion of safety-at-sea practices.

Vessel identification in coastal waters

As remarked earlier (Section 6.2), appropriate marking systems are also important for safety-at-sea operations in that they allow for rapid vessel identification. The FAO Committee on Fisheries has approved the Standard Specifications for the Marking and Identification of Fishing Vessels for adoption by States on a voluntary basis. Reference has also been made to the very effective vessel marking and identification system applied in Malaysian coastal waters, which has achieved an International Standards Organization (ISO) 9000 rating. Further information on both the FAO specifications and the Malaysian system are given in Annex J.

8.6 Synopsis of Coastal MCS Considerations

This chapter has drawn attention to the following major points that should be taken into account in the development and operation of coastal MCS systems.

a) There is a need for the integrated coastal management (ICM) approach as a means of managing human interactions with coastal ecosystems in a way that seeks balance with the competing demands of different user groups on coastal resources (including fisheries resources) so that resource benefits are optimized but coastal environments are not degraded.

b) There is a movement away from reliance on centralized management towards integrated collaborative management of coastal resources by government and stakeholders;

c) It is becoming ever more apparent in many places that limited access/entry management is required to control access and to allow for the development of "exit strategies" to reduce pressures on over-exploited coastal resources.

d) Community involvement in MCS system design and other decision-making on MCS operations will encourage voluntary compliance as a "preventive" approach, as opposed to a punitive approach that focuses on deterrence through traditional law enforcement.

e) Advancements in technology and reduced equipment costs permit more effective MCS strategies in the coastal areas. However, equipment options must be carefully weighed in terms of the real needs of the area, and not by the desire to employ the latest (and often most expensive) technology.

f) As with all MCS systems, coastal MCS can only be successful through the involvement of professional staff with integrity, enthusiasm and the ability and willingness to learn.

g) Fisher safety-at-sea concerns can often be effectively addressed through appropriate coastal MCS arrangements.

[95] Clark (1992).
[96] Scialabba (1998). This publication is referred to hereafter as the "FAO ICAM guidelines".
[97] Ministry of State for Environment statistics, 1996.
[98] The terms integrated coastal area management (ICAM), integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and integrated coastal management (ICM) are often used interchangeably. The distinctions are not important for the purposes of this paper but strictly speaking, the term "coastal zones" refers to geographical areas specifically designated as zones for management purposes as opposed to the more general term "coastal area" which means an area of land and sea recognized as a geographical entity even through the boundaries have not been demarcated.
[99] Agenda 21, chapter 17, programme area A, "Integrated management and sustainable development of coastal and marine areas, including exclusive economic zones".
[100] Clark (1992).
[101] Scialabba (1998).
[102] Sorensen (1997).
[103] Paraphrased from FAO (1996a).
[104] Ibid.
[105] Clark (1992).
[106] Christie and White (1997).
[107] Pomeroy (1995:149-150).
[108] Christie and White (1997).
[109] Countries with growing experience in integrated coastal resource management, such as the Philippines are now benefiting from practising zoning for multi-use of coastal resources, participatory resource assessment and management planning and implementation, e.g. USAID Coastal Resource Management Project 1996-2001.
[110] FAO (1995).
[111] Caesar (1996:16).
[112] World Bank (2000).
[113] These issues apply equally to management issues on lakes and rivers where multi-sector development and potential conflicts can arise.
[114] This point is not the subject of this paper, but it is an influencing factor in CRM that can have impacts on coastal MCS.
[115] Walters, Maragos and White (1998).
[116] Courtney and White (2000).
[117] Source: Hauck and Hector (2000). An analysis of Operation Neptune: Government's response to marine poaching (Occasional paper series). Cape Town: Institute of Criminology, University of Cape Town. (Further information may be obtained from the website of the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cape Town:
[118] The World Bank COREMAP is testing this technology in Take Bone Rate, South Sulawesi and Padaido Islands, Irian Jaya, 2001. Take Bone Rate has four "gates" by which vessels are permitted access into the park.
[119] International News and Analysis on Marine Protected Areas, Vol. 2, No. 5 November 2000.
[120] FAO (1996b).
[121] Johnson (1999).
[122] Ibid. p. 4.
[123] Ibid. p. 7.

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