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4. Management processes

4.1 Developing an EAF management plan

This chapter provides guidelines for the process to be followed to produce and revise management plans within EAF. They apply whether the fishery is new, moving from TROM (or other management systems) to EAF, or managed consistently with EAF but undergoing changes (from new gear, new areas of operation, etc.). Many of the steps included in these guidelines are already part of good practice in developing management plans in TROM.

As discussed in the FM Guidelines, an important basis for management is the formulation of a fisheries management plan. This should be a formal or informal arrangement between a fishery management authority and stakeholders (used synonymously here for “interested parties”). The plan should identify the background to the fishery, including all major stakeholders, agreed objectives (covering the economic, social and ecological components for the fishery) and specific rules and regulations that apply (for more detail see Box 3).

The process of developing and modifying an EAF management plan requires a series of iterative steps (see Figure 1) that include: defining the initial scope; gathering background information and analysis; setting objectives (broad objectives as well as operational objectives along with their associated indictors and performance measures); and the formulation of rules, and monitoring, assessment and review.

These guidelines are intended to be as complete as possible, and hence describe an ideal situation. In many cases, sufficient capacity and information will not be available to address all points. The processes outlined in the guidelines, however, are worth applying even in data-poor situations, and even when there is need for substantial capacity building. The output of the process will still provide guidance on how management can start implementing the policy goals outlined in the various international agreements [as summarized in the Background section and fully elaborated in Annex 1]. In practice, just applying the process will facilitate better fisheries management.

Because of the different time scales involved in the processes elaborated in Box 3, it may be necessary to have at least two components to the plan – for example, a higher-level plan that is in place for 3–5 years that states the broad management objectives and measures to achieve them, and another plan/report that reflects an annual cycle of setting and reviewing specific operational objectives, indicators and performance measures. Over time, as operational objectives become more stable, these latter could be formally included in the higher-level plan.

Box 3

Suggested elements for a fishery management plan under EAF



Social and institutional aspects

Area of operation of the fishery, jurisdiction and ecosystem "boundaries"

History of fishing and management

Social and economic benefits, both now and in the future

Description of stakeholders and their interests

Description of other uses/users of the ecosystem, especially activities that could have major impacts and arrangements for coordination and consultation processes

Consultation process leading to the plan

Ongoing consultative arrangements

Details of decision-making process, including recognized participants

Descriptions of fishing activity, resources and the ecosystem

Description of resource (target species and by-product)

Description of the aquatic ecosystem in which the fishery occurs

Description of fleet types or fishing categories

Ecological issues and challenges

Details of critical environments, particularly sensitive areas

Details of bycatch concerns including threatened/protected species

Details of other environmental concerns, including biodiversity and trophic changes


Objectives, reference points and performance measures for the fishery

  • Resource
  • Environment (including bycatch, habitats, prey protection, biodiversity, etc.)
  • Social
  • Economic


Agreed measures for the regulation of fishing to meet all objectives within agreed time frame, including by-catch, habitat protection, prey protection, etc.


Pre-agreed rules for applying management measures


Nature of rights granted in the fishery and details of those holding the rights


Most recent status of stocks including, critical by-catch species, based on risk and stock assessments using agreed indicators and performance measures

Status of the aquatic ecosystem, using agreed indicators relevant to essential and performance measures

Social and economic analyses using agreed indicators and performance measures


Arrangements for ongoing monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement


Communication strategy

Details of any planned education and training of stakeholders


Date and nature of next review and audit of performance of management

Source: Adapted from FAO Fisheries Department, Fisheries management, FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries, No. 4, Rome, 1997. New elements are in italics.

Figure 1 Developing EAF

Diagrammatic representation of the process of developing, modifying and implementing an EAF management plan. Numbers refer to sections in the following text. Note that the steps shown in Box 1 are subsets of 4.1.4, Setting objectives.

4.1.1 Consultation

For the stakeholders to obtain ownership of the plan and its implementation, they must be included in consultation and participation at all stages in the process. The range of interests, aspirations and numbers of stakeholders are likely to be greater than for TROM, and processes are needed to ensure that stakeholder involvement sufficiently represents the breadth of views, without the group becoming unmanageably large. Issues related to stakeholder capacity and commitment will also need to be carefully addressed, and formal, transparent and accountable processes set up to allow all parties to work cooperatively. In some cases, logistic constraints may mean that stakeholder inclusion is limited; in these cases, great care will be needed to maintain transparency, credibility and ownership in the outcomes.

4.1.2 Defining the scope of a fishery management plan under EAF Identifying the fishery, area and stakeholders

The first step in developing an EAF management plan is to identify the fishery(ies) and geographic area to be addressed. For EAF, this is potentially much more difficult than for TROM, although in some cases the fishery(ies) to be covered by the Management Plan is(are) specified before the process begins. Ideally, the spatial coverage of the management plan would coincide with a clearly and precisely defined ecosystem. Ecosystems, however, are not clearly defined entities with unambiguous boundaries, and they may cross or be contained within fishery management areas. The final choice of fishery(ies) and geographic area for a management plan will depend on the issues identified in step, but a preliminary delineation of the area concerned is necessary, if only to allow identification of stakeholders. In practice, the preliminary steps are interactive, and initial choices can be adapted as subsequent steps reveal new information or concerns. From a practical perspective, EAF will need to recognize existing fisheries, management entities and jurisdictions and build incrementally on these. In some cases, this may require building additional elements into individual fishery management plans, while in others it will require coordination of additional measures across fisheries (see section 4.2). Identifying broad issues for the fishery

The next step is for stakeholders included in the process to undertake an initial evaluation of issues associated with the fishery. The purpose of the evaluation should be to identify, as far as possible, all potential consequences of the identified fishery(ies) and the management tools and options that might be available.

This should cover economic, social and ecological components of sustainable development and be guided by the high-level policy goals set at the national or regional level. Ecological considerations would need to include:

Several useful frameworks for guiding this process have been described in the FM Guidelines on indicators for sustainable development in marine capture fisheries.[9] These include a “pressure – state – response” approach and a “hierarchical tree” approach. A framework ensures that all relevant issues are included. In these guidelines, the hierarchical tree approach that has been adopted in Australia is used (see Figure 2).[10] The strength of this approach is that it deals explicitly with the hierarchy of issues and objectives inherent in fisheries management that are consistent with achieving sustainable development, linking them with higher-level goals. The hierarchical tree starts with the two main concerns of sustainable development, namely human and ecological well-being, and it includes management capacity by adding a third component related to the ability to achieve (includes governance and environmental impact on the fishery).

4.1.3 Background information compilation and analysis

When the potentially important ecological and socio-economic issues have been agreed, relevant information must be compiled and analysed to allow formulation of more detailed objectives; this will normally be a desk study of available information. In an EAF context, there should be greater emphasis on the analysis of the environmental impacts of the fishery in terms of effect on habitat and direct and indirect impact on biota other than the target species than has been the case with TROM (data and information requirements are described in Chapter 2).

Figure 2. Hierarchical tree framework for identifying major issues in a fishery

4.1.4 Setting objectives Setting the broad objectives for the fishery

The broad objectives for the fishery provide statements of the intended outcomes of the fishery management plan in addressing the set of issues identified in above. These broad objectives provide a link between the principles, policy goals, major issues and what a particular fishery is trying to achieve.

For example, the broad management objectives for a given fishery might be to:

It is important that those responsible for setting the broad objectives involve those responsible for implementing the relevant policies and agreements. In most situations, this will involve several levels of government and several major stakeholder groups. Developing operational objectives from broad objectives

In order to implement EAF, the broad objectives must be translated into operational objectives with direct and practical meaning in the context of the fishery, and against which the performance of the fishery and its management can be evaluated. The process of developing operational objectives from the broad objectives should be transparent and participatory. This will enable interested parties to understand and contribute to the development and selection of the operational objectives, establish broad ownership and encourage compliance.

Fisheries and their ecosystems involve many potential issues, but there is a practical limit to how many operational objectives (and linked indicators) are useful for management decision-making. The process of identifying the operational objectives must thus also be able to screen large number of possibilities and choose only the most important and feasible ones. The detailed consultation and decision process for development of the operational objectives from the broad objectives will vary from one fishery to another. However, they will necessarily involve three steps:

Ideally, these steps will include participation of appropriate technical experts who will conduct an assessment process described in 4.1.6, below. These steps will both inform and be informed by the analysis and evaluation conducted by the assessment team. For example, the prioritization process might require exploratory analysis and the identification or specification of a potential operational objective and may involve several iterations that nominate and test possible options. At some point, and particularly in setting the operational objective, it may be decided that the information available is inadequate to address some important concern satisfactorily, and some data will have to be collected before there can be further progress in developing the EAF management plans. If such technical expertise or opportunity does not exist, it can still be informative and constructive to carry out the process in whatever way possible, using qualitative judgements, for example.

(i) Identify the issues under each of the broad objectives

This step is most easily carried out by starting with the broad objectives and further developing the hierarchical tree diagram to include all issues relevant to that objective for a given fishery. Constructing the branching of the tree is the process of moving from the high-level issue to an operational level, with as much branching as is necessary to specify the issue at a level that can be managed with one or more of the measures outlined in Chapter 2. An example of this process is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 Identification of specific issues using the hierarchical framework approach

* Broad objective: provide high and sustainable yield from the target stock

** SLMTY = stock level that will provide maximum long-term yield

In Figure 3, two specific issues relevant to the broad objective for retained species are identified:

By a similar process, other broad objectives might be translated into specific issues against which operational objectives can be set such as minimizing the catch of selected vulnerable or endangered species, maintaining the unfished level of identified essential habitats, maintaining selected prey populations above 75 percent of the unfished biomass to allow for predator feeding, and achieving a net economic return on capital that is comparable to that for other nominated industries. These examples will all require further tree branching to more specific levels that will obviously vary from fishery to fishery (for instance, turtles may be of concern in one fishery and require specific objectives, while seabirds may be of concern in another).

In a process it will be necessary to provide operational interpretations for some concepts and intentions in the higher-level policy goals that are currently not well defined or understood – concepts such as biodiversity, ecosystem integrity and ecosystem function. This will require that judgements be made, but more importantly the process of successively elaborating the issue in increasingly operational terms both encourages explicit judgements and provides the argument by which they can be explained. For example, it may be concluded that ecosystem function is likely to be achieved by an operational objective that states that all target and by-catch species be managed at population levels implied by their long-term maximum sustainable yield (MSY), and that no major habitat types be reduced from their present level. On the other hand, it might be concluded that that ecosystem function is likely to be achieved by an operational objective that states that 40 percent of the area occupied by the ecological community containing the target species be placed within MPAs. As scientific understanding of ecosystems improves, there will be a stronger basis for selecting particular operational objectives to meet the policy goals relating to biodiversity and ecosystem function, but there is still a need to provide and explain the operational interpretations that are developed for the fishery.

(ii) Rank the issues

Many issues, often at very different scales of relevance, are likely to arise in the first stage of this process. The second stage is to prioritize the issues that occur at the bottom of the tree structure to identify those for which detailed operational objectives, indicators and reference points will be developed. One practical approach is to conduct a risk assessment. Risk assessments can be qualitative and opinion-based, or highly quantitative and data-based. The appropriate level will depend on the circumstances, but should always include the best possible practices given the information available to conduct and document at least a qualitative risk assessment and capacity evaluation. There are many clearly described processes for carrying out a qualitative risk assessment. One example would be to score both the likelihood and consequences of failure in relation to each issue on a scale of, say, 1 to 5. High-priority issues are those with high likelihood of occurrence and high impact (see Figure 4).

Figure 4 A qualitative risk assessment to identify high priority issues

(iii) Develop operational objectives for priority issues, and as necessary, the process for monitoring of some lower priority issues.

Next, each issue can be dealt with in the management plan in a manner commensurate with the related risk. High-risk issues are elaborated into detailed operational objectives. Some medium-risk issues might require identification of a mechanism in the plan for ongoing review and some form of contingency plan. Low-risk issues might be noted in the plan, explaining why they are considered low risk. Following on from the target species example used above, an operational objective for the two specific issues relating to a target species might be to maintain the spawning stock above 40 percent of the estimated un-fished level.

In developing the operational objectives, the level of understanding and uncertainty about the issue under consideration is taken into account – particularly uncertainty about how well the operational objective reliably reflects the intent of the broad objective, and thus how the fishery will contribute to sustainable development. The operational objective should become increasingly stringent as uncertainty increases, so that achieving the operational objective will achieve the corresponding broad objective at the same level of low risk, despite the uncertainty.

Some operational objectives may be contradictory because they represent contradictory policy goals and/or broad fishery objectives or contradictory interpretations of them. Unnecessary contradictions should be avoided, but the contradictions may also represent real competing demands that the fishery management process and plan seeks to balance. The process of reconciling these competing demands occurs interactively between the process of setting the operational objectives and the process of setting indicators and reference points (, and is informed by the technical process described in 4.1.6. The various indicators and reference points will relate to a wide variety of aspects of the ecosystem and fishery system, and it may be difficult or impossible to simultaneously meet them all. Some combinations of targets, for a predator and a prey species for example, may not be possible because of their biological interactions. Process for selecting indicators and reference points for each operational objective

The next step is to agree on indicators, reference points and performance measures (see Box 4). The setting of objectives and performance measures is now an accepted part of the management process under TROM, but must be broadened to include all ecological, social and economic operational objectives.

In EAF, the setting of target reference points may be more problematic than in TROM, especially in relation to less specific ecosystem properties. For example, it is clear that a meaningful target could be set for the amount of benthic habitat to be protected, but that it would be more difficult to set a target for the energy flow through a particular part of one trophic level. The difficulty arises from uncertainty about ecosystem processes, and the extremely dynamic and naturally variable nature of ecosystems. For practical purposes the indicator should be an ecosystem property that is thought to be modified by the fishery, so that at least there is a controllable fishery impact for which a target level of change is identified. If it is not appropriate to set a target reference point, then at least a limit reference point should be set.

The final selection of indicators and reference points should take the technical, management and operational issues of a given fishery into account. Ideally, indictors should reflect parameters that can be measured or estimated with a greater degree of certainty taking the dynamics of the target population and ecosystem into consideration, and should be able to estimate the indicators from data that have or could be collected. Selection would also depend upon what can be feasibly achieved from the management system and the fishery. At the end of the process, all stakeholders should feel confident that the indicators are both meaningful and workable. Consequently the selection of indicators and reference points necessarily involves an iterative process – suggesting possibilities and testing them – between all technical participants (discussed in 4.1.5) and stakeholders involved with development of the management plan.

Box 4
Indicators, reference points and performance measures

The overall aim in setting indicators, reference points and performance measures is to provide a framework to evaluate the management rules, and to assess the performance of the fishery in achieving its objectives. An indicator tracks the key outcome identified in the operational objective and, when compared with agreed target and limit reference points, provides a measure on how well management is performing (performance measure). If the operational objectives are clear and measurable, the associated indictor is often self- evident (e.g. for an objective relating to the level of the spawning stock biomass, the indicator is obviously the spawning stock biomass), but the indicator may need to be modified to suit data availability and ease of communication with decision-makers and their ability to make appropriate changes in management.

The indicator and reference points define simple quantitative performance measures – the difference between the indicator value and its target or limit reference point in any year.

The target should be the desired state of the indicator, and the limit should be a boundary beyond which it is undesirable to be (including the possibility of both upper and/or lower limits). The target and limit can be quantitative (e.g. a target value where the value of the indicator should be or a specified limit where the value of the indicator should not exceed), or can reflect a trend (e.g. the indicator should increase over the period of the plan).

Competing operational objectives can result in a conflicting set of targets and limits. The trade-offs involved in reconciling these differences would need to be identified and characterized by the evaluations described in 4.1.5, and refinements to the operational objectives, indicators and reference points agreed. Certain adjustments would mean that that some or all of the stakeholders would have to alter their expectations about the results to be obtained from the ecosystems and/or the fisheries, and any negotiation would have to be carried out by the stakeholders themselves for the plan to remain credible. As with the selection of operational objectives, there should be a clearly explained basis for selection of the indicator and reference point.

There are several sources for possible indicators and reference points in the fisheries literature and management plans that can act as a guide in the process, especially for target species. Indicators for objectives relating to the structure and function of the ecosystem and to various aspects of biodiversity are much less developed, but the ecological literature does provide several possible indicators that might be considered, provided that they can be linked to the operational objectives. (some examples are given in Annex 4). The scientific support for the chosen basis may differ in different circumstances, and can be expected to improve over time as the research and information needs of EAF are addressed. However, lack of scientific certainty should not prevent the selection of indicators and reference points that are considered important, or the clear explanation of a basis for selection.

4.1.5 Formulation of rules

Based upon the information compiled (see 4.1.3, above) and the setting of operational objectives (4.1.4) the next step is to choose a management measure or set of measures for achieving each objective. Thus, for example, catch controls might be advocated for one species, and effort limitation for another; closed areas might be proposed to meet targets in multi-species fisheries, or to meet habitat protection objectives. This process will need to take account of both the quality and the availability of the data, both current and that to be obtained through an enhanced monitoring programme.

Box 5
Decision rules and EAF

The use of specific management measures should be accompanied by decision rules on how they are to be applied. The rules state what management action should be taken under different conditions, often determined by the value of an indicator in relation to a target or reference point (see Box 4). The decision rules should include how the management measure is to be determined, what data must be collected and how data will be used to determine the measure. Decision rules can be quantitative (e.g. setting catch limits for the species under consideration as pre-specified fractions of abundance, obtained from surveys, for instance) or qualitative (e.g. a certain value of an indicator triggers a decision to bring forward a review of management).

Decision rules based on an ecosystem approach are used in the sardine and anchovy fisheries in South Africa, managed primarily by total allowable catches (TACs). A TAC is set for each species, but because juvenile sardine are caught as by-catch in the anchovy fishery, the TAC for sardine needs to consider the likely by-catch that will be taken in the anchovy fishery. The rules that were used for setting the sardine TAC between 1994 and 1996 are presented here as an example. The data used in the decision rules are the abundance estimates of hydrocoustic surveys of sardine and anchovy undertaken each year: one in November to estimate adult biomass, and the second in the middle of the year to estimate that year’s recruitment. An initial TAC is set at the start of the year based on the previous November biomass estimate, and this TAC is revised in the middle of the year when recruitment has been estimated.

The decision rules for the sardine TAC are:

Initial TAC

  • Directed TAC = 10 percent of the adult biomass estimated the previous November;
  • By-catch TAC = 7 500 tonnes + 6 percent of the Initial Anchovy TAC (as determined in a separate management procedure);

Mid-year revised TAC

  • Directed TAC = unchanged from initial;
  • By-catch TAC = 7 500 tonnes + y percent of the revised anchovy TAC (as determined in the separate management procedure), where y varies between 6 and 12 depending on the total recruitment for the year as estimated in the mid-year survey.

The decision rules are simple equations that can easily be applied once the survey results have been calculated. The initial by-catch TAC represents a minimum TAC, and can be increased only at the mid-year revision, reflecting the likelihood that the initial by-catch TAC will already have been caught by the time the TAC is revised in the middle of the year. The critical parameters of the equations were carefully selected on the basis of extensive testing of the sardine population dynamics and the fishery using a mathematical model. These parameter values were found to provide decision rules that came the closest to meeting the operational objectives for the sardine fishery.

The development of measures and decision rules (see Box 5) should ideally be underpinned by rigorous data analyses, including modelling the dynamics of the system or sub-system. However, as stressed throughout these guidelines, a lack of this capacity does not preclude the general approach. Even in data-poor situations, the best available information should be objectively analysed and considered. In such cases, an extrapolation based on better studied areas can be used to provide guidance on operational objectives and associated decision rules.

A number of analytical processes can be used to develop the decision rules. One approach would take the form of an expanded annual TROM approach, for which all the available data are used to make the best possible assessment of the productivity and abundance of a species. This approach has been used by CCAMLR, for example, which set precautionary catch limits on prey species to take account of predators.

Alternative approaches focus more on the longer term, and these might follow an expanded “management procedure” or “management strategy evaluation” approach (see Box 6). To date this approach has been applied mainly to TROM, but it could be usefully expanded to consider the greater dimensions of EAF. However, because the precise forms of interactions between species are usually not well known, the levels of uncertainty will probably become larger when interactions between species are taken into account.

Another approach is to use observed interaction between species in multispecies fishery (e.g. by-catch rate of species B when fishing for species A) to calculate a multispecies vector of allowable catches of target species so that the objectives for non-target species are achieved. The International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (now NAFO) applies linear programming to by-catch rates to optimize a multispecies vector of TACs.

4.1.6 Monitoring, assessment and review process

The EAF management plan should include the specification of regular reviews in which the success of the management measures in attaining the objectives is appraised. These reviews will benefit from data that has been collected by an effective and well-directed monitoring programme and analysed by appropriate technical experts. Such review should be carried out under guidance from, and making regular reports to, a designated stakeholder group. Both short-term and long-term reviews should be conducted.

Box 6
Management strategy evaluation

Management strategy evaluation attempts to model and simulate the whole management process. It makes projections about the state of the fishery resources and other ecosystem parameters for a number of years into the future under a variety of decision-rule options. The management measure and rules that achieve the best results in terms of specified objectives can then selected and applied. This procedure greatly assists in identifying management strategies that are resilient to uncertainties in scientific understanding. Precautionary management measures and decision rules can be identified by testing the performance of the measure against a range of possible complexities that are likely to be operating in the fishery identified using a selection of appropriate reference points that include acceptable levels of risks. The output from such an evaluation is generally similar to that of a conventional risk assessment – the greater the uncertainty, the more conservative the management response will need to be to maintain risks at acceptable levels.

The procedure can take uncertainties into account through the use of a decision rule that evolves and improves through time, based on feedback on the outcome of past years. Management measures can also be automatically adjusted as time progresses to take further data into account as they become available; this will help to reduce the level of uncertainty.

To date, this procedure has been applied mainly to management of single stocks in which there is a model of the stock dynamics embedded in a model of the decision-making and management process. The approach needs to be expanded to take account of broad EAF objectives, the first step of which is the translation of EAF principles and policy goals into result-oriented operational objectives as described in the text.

Short-term reviews, for example as part of an annual cycle, should make assessments of species abundance and productivity in the case of targeted resources, assessments of impacts of the fishery for other broader ecological aspects and social and economic assessments. Because the process (as described in 4.1.4) requires setting out operational objectives, linked indicators and reference points, the performance measure should assess progress towards meeting the particular operational objective. In turn, because of the linkages between these and the higher-level goals, an evaluation of whether the longer-term broader objectives are being achieved should also be provided. Appropriate management action can also be taken to keep the indicators on track, using the rules identified, as described above.

Should the exercise produce unexpected results, there should be mechanisms to bring forward the longer-term review detailed below. The review should also consider whether monitoring is achieving the quantity and quality of data collection required for the regular updating of management measures.

Longer-term reviews should be conducted on a regular basis. An interval in the range of three to five years may be appropriate, with the exact period being selected based upon the dynamics of the species concerned and the utilization and management systems. Slower rates of change may permit longer intervals between reviews. These reviews should include consideration of the full management arrangements including data collection/resource monitoring, comprehensive re-assessment, reappraisal of decision rules and progress towards meeting longer-term objectives.

Longer-term reviews may provide evidence that an objective set earlier (e.g. recovery to a certain target abundance level by a particular date) is no longer appropriate. Alternatively, societal objectives may have changed, or flaws may have become evident in the management system. To allow for such circumstances, provision should be made for the stakeholder group to provide revised and agreed operational objectives and associated indicators and reference points when required. A further purpose of the review procedure is to plan future research aimed at reducing the level of the most important uncertainties.

4.2 Legal and institutional aspects of EAF

4.2.1 Legal

Consistent with the FM Guidelines, legislation is used here in its broadest sense, encompassing all types of international instruments as well as national and local laws and regulations. The international instruments with provisions relevant to fisheries, and which need to be considered in implementing EAF, are described in Annex 1. These need to be reflected in national legislation and all associated fisheries regulations and practices.

EAF is not well covered in binding international law at present, either explicitly as EAF sensu stricto, or implicitly as sustainable development principles, but is reflected mainly in voluntary instruments such as the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the Reykjavik Declaration. As a result, few regional fisheries organizations and arrangements make explicit recognition of EAF in their instruments. Furthermore, EAF is not frequently an integral part of national fisheries policy and legislation. This leads to many deficiencies in current fishery management regimes, such as (i) weak cross-sectoral consultation and cooperation and (ii) the failure to consider, or a legal inability to act on external influences such as pollution and habitat deterioration. Such problems need to be addressed and corrected where required. Especially in the case of national policies and laws, EAF may require that existing legal instruments and the practices of other sectors that interact with or impact on fisheries need to be considered, and that adjustments to those instruments and practices pertaining to other sectors be made.

EAF is, therefore, likely to require more complex sets of rules or regulations that recognize the impacts of fisheries on other sectors and the impact of those sectors on fisheries. It may be desirable to regulate the major and more or less constant inter-sectoral interactions through the primary legislation. This could apply, for example, to laws controlling coastline development and coastal habitat protection, the establishment of permanent MPAs, and the creation of cross-sectoral institutions. However, many interactions between fisheries and other sectors will be dynamic, and in these cases, it may be desirable to strive for a more responsive and flexible mode of interaction than is usually possible through the primary legislation. In these cases, it would be preferable to rely instead on agreed rules. This is consistent with the advice in the FM Guidelines, namely that routine management control measures needing frequent revision should be included in subordinate legislation, rather than in the primary legislation (4.3.1. vi).

The FM Guidelines states that the primary legislation should specify the “functions, powers and responsibilities of government or other institutions involved in fisheries management” (4.3.1 iv). It also states that the jurisdiction should include the geographical area, the interested parties and the institutions involved in fisheries management (4.3.1 v). In addition, EAF requires that (i) the geographical jurisdiction should, as far as practical, coincide with natural ecological boundaries and (ii) that the legislation should specify the appropriate level of consultation and cooperation between the specific fishery agency and those institutions dealing with other fisheries or with other interacting sectors.

4.2.2 Institutional

Notwithstanding the addition of complexity and breadth at many levels and in many functions, the essential tasks and process of EAF are the same as those of TROM, and are summarized in Figure 1 in Section 4.1. The institutional structures and processes for EAF must be able to deal with these tasks, including the added dimensions required, as discussed throughout this section.

Implied in EAF is a need for institutions to ensure coordination, consultation and cooperation, including joint decision-making, between fisheries operating in the same geographical area, and between the fishery and other sectors that interact with it. For example, where one fishery targets one or more prey species of a predator fished by another fishery, there must be an institution or arrangement to coordinate the management actions of both fisheries, including the reconciliation of the different objectives of the two fisheries.

The development and implementation of EAF policy and legislation will most naturally be undertaken by the national fisheries department or designated management agencies (at national level) and the fisheries management organizations (at regional level). A major problem in EAF development may stem from disparities between the ecosystem and jurisdictional boundaries and these disparities will need to be addressed as, for example, in the following.

In the context of TROM, conflicts frequently arise between different interest groups, and these conflicts often confound effective management of fisheries. The number of conflicts will inevitably increase under EAF as the number of stakeholders and objectives increase. This problem may be severe and, as under TROM, it will frequently not be possible to obtain voluntary compromise between competing stakeholders. Institutional arrangements need to be established “to reduce potential conflicts and to facilitate their resolution when they do occur” (FM Guidelines, 4.3.1 xii). In some cases, this may require a political decision on the relative priorities of two or more conflicting uses.

EAF will require adherence to the same principles of transparent and participatory management as TROM (FM Guidelines, 3.3), such as:

While some level of devolution of responsibility and authority to the lowest levels (the local community) will be desirable, this decision must be reconciled with the need to ensure that management decisions and actions are coordinated and consistent at the higher levels required by EAF in each case. This will require effective institutional structuring to coordinate decisions and actions at the broader geographical and fishery scales required by EAF.

Limiting access and implementing appropriate systems of access rights are essential for successful and responsible fisheries under TROM (FM Guidelines, 3.2) and are expanded for EAF. Under EAF, it must be recognized that the access rights system will frequently need to encompass other uses in addition to the use of the target resources currently included in TROM. This may complicate the selection and implementation of equitable and effective systems of user rights. Examples of additional contenders for access rights under EAF include:

These allocation issues are not new, but have tended to be neglected in the past. Under EAF, issues of access and allocation of resources will need to be formally recognized. It may be necessary to consider allocating and controlling the rights to land-based activities that have a negative impact on fisheries – for example, pollution. This would obviously require that society completely change the way it deals with impacts such as pollution, but it would at least identify the issue and force people to think about linkages and implications.

4.2.3 Educating and informing stakeholders

Under TROM, the recognition that stakeholders must be involved in fisheries management has led to efforts to inform them about the need for, and principles of, fisheries management. In some cases, this has led to increasing awareness of and capacity to participate in fisheries management by stakeholder groups, but in many cases little progress has been made. Successful implementation of EAF will require that stakeholders (including management agencies) understand and accept the need for this more inclusive approach to fisheries management, and management agencies should actively promote such understanding and acceptance. Conversely, scientists and management authorities need to appreciate and use the knowledge of fishers themselves about the ecosystem, along with that of their representatives and communities. Without this interaction, stakeholders may be unwilling to participate in EAF. With the increasing number and broadening range of stakeholders under EAF, the potential disparities in capacity to participate in management will also increase. Management agencies will need to facilitate capacity building and empower all stakeholders to ensure equitable participation.

Implementation of EAF may involve changes in the tasks and priorities of agency staff. Effective and appropriate training may need to be provided to all staff having to deal with these changes. This training should include explanation of the rationale of the EAF approach, why it is necessary and what it is hoped will be achieved through EAF.

4.2.4 Effective administrative structure

Administrative structures under EAF will continue to reflect the variety of government systems that exist under TROM and related management approaches. However, they will have to be better integrated with more effective roles in auditing or oversight.

4.3 Effective monitoring, control and surveillance

The purpose of a monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) system is to ensure that fishery policy in general, and the conservation and management arrangements for a specific fishery are implemented fully and expeditiously (FM Guidelines, 4.3.3 i). As with all other functions of the management agency, EAF may result in additional and broader tasks for the MCS arm of the agency. The specific tasks of the MCS arm will be related to the nature of the management measures used to achieve the objectives of MCS.

The control and surveillance functions of the agency will depend on a combination of the ecosystem components (species, habitat types, and so forth) under consideration, and the management measures that are implemented, as is the case under TROM. EAF will consider a wider range of ecosystem components and may also have to use a greater diversity of management measures. For example, EAF will commonly address a larger number of issues related to by-catch, discarded and endangered species. Enforcing regulations aimed at protecting these species will almost certainly require the routine use of effective observer schemes on fishing vessels. EAF may also require more common application of closed areas, including MPAs, and this will require the development and implementation of appropriate technology (e.g. vessel monitoring systems), provision of patrol and enforcement staff, or (where applicable) enforcement by local communities that benefit from the existence of the MPA. In the latter case, training and some logistic support may still be required. Management agencies will need to anticipate ongoing and possibly increased MCS costs under EAF.

In accordance with current awareness of the role and responsibilities of the stakeholders in responsible management, greater efforts are needed to create a social and political environment and management regime that encourages high levels of compliance and strong self-regulation. The transition to such systems is likely to be slow in many fisheries.

[9] FAO Fisheries Resources Division, Indicators for sustainable development of marine capture fisheries, FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries, No. 8, 1999.

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