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1. In supporting the International Plan of Action (IPOA) for the Management of Fishing Capacity and the broader outcomes of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), including ecosystem considerations and related roles of fisheries management, the Expert Consultation recognized that overcapacity is a cause for concern for the health of fish stocks, the achievement of sustainable fisheries, and the objectives of sustainable development in the implementation plan of the WSSD.

2. The Expert Consultation recognized that there are enormous technological changes and rapidly escalating external market forces on fisheries and the ecosystems that support fisheries, and that these forces, in turn, are driving a need to be more dynamic, integrated, and multi-disciplinary in our approaches to fisheries management, research, and analysis.

3. The Expert Consultation recognized that capacity reduction programs can be designed and structured in ways that do not transfer problems. As a result the Expert Consultation strongly endorses and encourages the redoubling of efforts to address overcapacity in ways that do not create problems in other places.

4. The Expert Consultation recognized that a capacity reduction program should not simply result in capacity reduction. It is critical that the management system avoids the regeneration of overcapacity and, thus, continues to limit the resulting capacity at levels that ensure the sustainability of the fishery.

5. Thus, the Expert Consultation:

5.1. concluded that addressing issues of overcapacity and capacity reduction is a process that should follow general principles, yet be developed according to the conditions, particularly the scale and social norms, of the specific fishery under consideration.

5.2. agreed that capacity reduction programs will have potentially significant social and economic impacts on the participants in the particular fishery and in supporting activities. These impacts will be both positive and negative. Outcomes of a capacity reduction program are, in the long term, positive in both economic and ecological terms, but the direct and related stakeholders may fear the negative effects of a capacity reduction program, especially in the short term, leading to resistance to the consideration of such a program. Capacity reduction programs can be designed to minimize or mitigate these negative impacts so that the overall benefits of a well-designed capacity reduction program are capable of receiving both government and community support.

5.3. recognized that the practical success of a capacity reduction program will be based on stakeholder support and commitment. Thus, it is necessary to define the problem of overcapacity, raise awareness about potential consequences, and build consensus to create a viable capacity reduction program.

5.4. agreed that, ideally, the design and implementation of capacity reduction programs should use a consultative, if not collaborative, approach throughout the process.

5.5. agreed that the process of developing, adopting and implementing capacity reduction programs should involve the following steps.

5.5.1. The first step is to characterize the fishery under consideration using available data and information. This may include stating:

where the fishery occurs,

who has and who could have responsibility for managing the fishery,

the fish stock(s) harvested and the relative condition of the stock(s),

the relative variability or stability of the fish stock(s),

the participants in the fishery,

the fleet(s),

the actual management system and regulations currently in effect in the fishery, and

potential drivers of overcapacity and the economic and social linkages, and

other characteristics of the fishery.

5.5.2. Step 2 is to list the measurable management objectives for the fishery if they exist, or to determine them in collaboration or consultation with the stakeholders in the fishery.

5.5.3. Step 3 is to determine, either quantitatively or qualitatively, if overcapacity exists in the fishery.

5.5.4. Step 4 is to identify a range of incentive blocking and incentive adjusting options for a capacity reduction program and the subsequent management plan for avoiding the regeneration of overcapacity, including the option of maintaining the status quo, as a basis for comparison and discussion of potential outcomes.

5.5.5. Step 5 is the identification of the users who will be affected, both directly and in terms of other effects, for each of the various options. At this stage, it is important to conduct integrated research on what the impacts of capacity reduction may be, the relative magnitude of these impacts, and who is affected.

5.5.6. Step 6 involves a program of significant information dissemination, education, and awareness raising to all stakeholders, including those in all levels in government, the fishery, and related industries in the community. This process can be formal or informal. This process of discussion and awareness raising should involve explaining:

fishing capacity and how it is measured;

how much capacity may need to be reduced to achieve the management objectives;

potential capacity reduction program options relative to the identified management objectives for the fishery;

the benefits and costs of the capacity reduction program options; and

the potential consequences of not addressing overcapacity. The process should also involve obtaining information from all relevant stakeholders about the proposed range of capacity reduction programs.

5.5.7. Step 7 is to conduct an analysis of the proposed range of capacity reduction programs. The purpose of this analysis is to determine:

whether the proposed programs will actually reduce capacity in the manner intended,

whether they meet management objectives,

who will be impacted,

how stakeholders will be affected, and

potential mitigation strategies for those most affected.

5.5.8. Step 8 is to select the preferred capacity reduction program and the subsequent management program to adopt. This step could be complemented with additional consultation.

5.5.9. Step 9 is to undertake the formal approval process for implementing the selected capacity reduction program.

5.5.10. Step 10 is to implement the particular capacity reduction program for the fishery under consideration. The final step is to put into place administrative, monitoring, evaluation and adaptation strategies and mechanisms for a capacity reduction program.

5.6. reiterated the importance of including social and economic components in the design of capacity reduction programs to mitigate possible negative short term effects and to thereby facilitate the transition away from overcapacity. This is particularly important in fisheries where there are poor and vulnerable sections of the fishing community.

5.7. recognized that there will be many situations in which there is poor or inadequate information and knowledge, minimal financial means, and limited timeframes, but that these steps should be followed to the extent possible and based on the best available information.

5.8. recognized that the development of capacity reduction programs is an ongoing and continuous process of learning.

5.9. agreed that these steps are critical because there are difficult human issues associated with capacity reduction programs.

5.10. recommended that the FAO:

5.10.1. document case studies of capacity reduction management programs as reference for the development of national plans of action in support of the IPOA - Capacity;

5.10.2. elaborate and implement programs to facilitate human resource development and institutional strengthening, especially in developing countries, so as to promote the full and effective implementation of national plans of action on the reduction of overcapacity; and

5.10.3. convene an Expert Consultation addressing the design of capacity reduction management programs for capture fisheries of developing and developed countries, paying particular attention to the development of the procedures for implementing such programs and the consideration of related issues such as employment, poverty and food security.

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