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This document is the final report of the FAO Expert Consultation on Catalysing the Transition away from Overcapacity in Marine Capture Fisheries that was held, with the financial support of the United States of America, in Rome, Italy, from 15 to 18 October 2002.

The purpose of the Expert Consultation was to try to generate guidance on the topic of how to move away from situations of overcapacity in marine fisheries, as part of the FAO’s ongoing efforts to assist countries in the implementation of the International Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity.

This document includes the Final General Recommendations and Guidance, documentation about some of the issues and potential solutions that the group believed to be important elements of moving away from situations of overcapacity, and the background documentation for the Expert Consultation.

The report and documentation was compiled by Dr John M. Ward, Senior Economist, National Marine Fisheries Service, Washington, D.C., USA and by Dr Rebecca Metzner, Fishery Planning Officer, FAO Fisheries Department and Technical Secretary of the Workshop.

Participants at the meeting
All FAO Members
FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Regional Fisheries Officers

Metzner, R.; Ward, J.M. (comps.).

Report of the Expert Consultation on Catalysing the Transition away from Overcapacity in Marine Capture Fisheries. Rome, 15-18 October 2002.

FAO Fisheries Report. No. 691. Rome, FAO. 2002. 89p.


The Expert Consultation on Catalysing the Transition away from Overcapacity in Marine Capture Fisheries was intended and designed to develop a set of general recommendations to assist in addressing the difficult subject of overcapacity in marine capture fisheries. The result is guidance about a general, flexible process for assisting the transition of fisheries that are characterized by overcapacity into fisheries that are characterized as fully utilized, economically efficient and that meet the management objectives and goals of the agency or group that has fisheries management responsibility.

Long lasting regulatory solutions to these problems, to these symptoms of excess and overcapacity in fisheries, have been developed by a number of experts in the fields of fisheries sociology, marine policy, economics, biology, and anthropology. However, although the fundamental fishery management problem has been identified, capacity reduction solutions have been proposed, and solutions for resolving overcapacity problems exist, the transition process itself is not well understood and a procedure to implement the solution has not been previously identified.

The transitional procedure is intended to assist administrators and others to overcome some of the constraints that currently can inhibit or slow the introduction and implementation of capacity reduction programs. The approach is one that involves building understanding and consensus regarding various goals and objectives. While supportive quantitative or qualitative analysis is recommended, the guidance can be implemented without extensive data collection or analysis.

The experts recognized that different fisheries will likely adopt different capacity reduction programs that reflect particular social, management, economic, and other needs. Individual management authorities have different long term objectives and goals for their fisheries. Because there is no single solution, capacity reduction programs will likely be a combination of some of the issues and approaches that are outlined the background documentation.

It is the hope of the participants in the Expert Consultation that their efforts to provide practical guidance about an issue that is confronting many today will be useful.

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