FAO Fisheries Report No. 571 FIPL/R571(En)
Report of the
FIRST SESSION OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES RESEARCH
Rome, Italy, 25-28 November 1997
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
PREPARATION OF THIS REPORT
This is the final report approved by the first session of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR).Distribution
Members of the Committee
Other interested Nations and International Organizations
FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Regional Fishery Officers
Report of the first session of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research. Rome,
Italy, 25-28 November 1997
FAO Fisheries Report. No. 571. Rome, FAO. 1998. 36p.
The First Session of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research was held in Rome from 25 to 28 November 1997. The Members of the Committee took note of the Statutes of ACFR and adopted the Rules of Procedure of the Committee. The Committee agreed that, in order to promote international applied research in fisheries, FAO should maintain and enhance (a) infrastructure such as data collection, libraries and other information services, (b) a critical mass of expertise on the staff, (c) broad knowledge of fisheries and related disciplines, (d) knowledge of, and good relationships with, potential research partners, and (e) credibility through peer reviewed publications in the mainstream scientific literature. The Committee stressed that its primary role would be to deal with general principles while its subsidiary bodies such as working parties may consider technical matters referred to them by ACFR. In this regard, the Committee would, in the course of its tenure, undertake a systematic appraisal of FAO's programmes and also promote a strategic planning exercise for research activities. Taking account of the current world fisheries situation, global programmes and issues that affect fisheries and the current FAO programme that relates to fishery research, the Committee identified research topics that need to be emphasized in the future in order to fill critical scientific gaps. The research topics do not constitute an exhaustive list as it was impractical for the Committee to conduct the systematic review and analysis required to prepare such a list. The Committee also recognized that some of the scientific gaps and changes in emphasis suggested by the Committee are already being addressed by FAO. The Committee's identification of scientific research topics highlighted the need for a shift in emphasis from a programme of research that, in the past, had been predominantly concerned with fishery resources to a future programme with substantial emphasis on the human dimension of fisheries. The Committee proposed the establishment of three Working Parties to undertake in-depth studies on Implications of Globalization on Trade and Distribution of Benefits, Status Reporting Methodology and Data Needs, and New Research Methods: Traditional Knowledge and Approaches. Six other possible topics, to be addressed by Working Groups, were also identified. Finally, the Committee noted FAO's role as the honest broker, particularly on sensitive issues and endorsed the Technical Consultations that were planned on sustainable shrimp aquaculture, sustainability indicators, the management of fishing capacity, shark conservation and management, incidental catch of seabirds and gear selectivity.
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND TIMETABLE
STATUTES AND RULES OF PROCEDURE
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
ROLE OF FAO IN GLOBAL INTERNATIONAL FISHERY RESEARCH
COMMITTEE'S VISION OF ITS OWN ROLE
REVIEW OF FAO ACTIVITIES RELATED TO FISHERY RESEARCH
INTERNATIONAL CONSULTATION ON FISHERIES POLICY RESEARCH IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
FAO STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATIOON OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES (1998-2002)
UPDATE ON STRATEGY FOR INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES RESEARCH (SIFR)
GLOBAL PROGRAMMES AND ISSUES THAT AFFECT FISHERIES
IDENTIFICATION OF AREAS OF RESEARCH EMPHASIS TO ADDRESS CRITICAL SCIENTIFIC GAPS
ESTABLISHMENT OF WORKING PARTIES
FUTURE PLAN OF WORK OF THE COMMITTEE
DATE AND PLACE OF THE SECOND MISSION
ANY OTHER MATTERS
ADOPTION OF THE REPORT
1. The Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR) held its First Session at FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy, from 25 to 28 November 1997.
2. The Session was attended by all the eight Members of the Committee. The list of participants is attached as Appendix B.
OPENING OF THE SESSION
3. The Session was opened by Mr. M. Hayashi, Assistant Director-General, FAO Fisheries Department. In opening the Session, Mr. Hayashi stressed the important role the Committee was expected to play in providing FAO with guidance and advice on fisheries and aquaculture research. He congratulated the Members on their appointment to the Committee and pointed out that they had been selected on the basis of their specialized knowledge in fisheries and aquaculture research and that, although the Committee is numerically small, consisting of only eight members, selection had been made to include the widest possible subject matter and geographical representation. He also informed the Committee that the Donors Group on Fisheries Research has decided to move the Secretariat of the Strategy for International Fisheries Research (SIFR) to the Fisheries Department of FAO early in 1998, and indicated that this initiative should consolidate the coordinating role which FAO is expected to play in international fishery research. Mr. Hayashi referred to some of the major international initiatives that had taken place in the fisheries sector over the past seven years, as well as a number of serious problems that continued to plague the sector. Finally, he exhorted the Committee to take these and other factors into consideration in making recommendations that would provide an important input for FAO's future fisheries programme of work.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND TIMETABLE
4. The Committee adopted the agenda as contained in Appendix A to this report. The documents which were before the Committee are listed in Appendix C.
STATUTES AND RULES OF PROCEDURE
5. The Members took note of the Statutes of the Committee (Appendix D), adopted the Rules of Procedure of the Committee (Appendix E) and requested that the Rules of Procedure be approved by the Director-General of FAO.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
6. The Committee unanimously elected the following officers for the Session:Chairperson: Mr. M. Sissenwine
ROLE OF FAO IN GLOBAL INTERNATIONAL FISHERY RESEARCH
7. ACFR noted FAO's mandate for fishery research as reaffirmed by the Twenty-second Session of COFI, namely "to take responsibility for collecting data, formulating research needs and recommending management options". Thus, FAO is expected to have a coordination and leadership role in internationally applied research in fisheries. In recognition of this role and to further guide its work, the ACFR agreed that in order to discharge this important role internationally, FAO has and should maintain:
8. The ACFR noted that this research mandate is discharged at the global, regional and national levels in a manner that is consistent with the FAO goal of sustainable fisheries. The Committee discussed the FAO role with respect to developed and developing country fisheries issues and concluded that the issues involved were inextricably linked and the science required is generally similar. Therefore, FAO's role clearly encompasses work both in developed and developing country fishery research but that this role may be undertaken differently according to the different economic and welfare imperatives driving fisheries, including food security, and the different relative capacities of countries to use information. The Committee recognized the special needs of developing countries and that FAO should pay special attention to working with developing countries and other research partners to address these needs, especially for small scale fisheries.
COMMITTEE'S VISION OF ITS OWN ROLE
9. The Committee considered fundamental aspects of the functions of ACFR and its role vis-à-vis the FAO Fisheries Programme. The members felt that ACFR should interact with the staff of the FAO Fisheries Department on research matters and take a collaborative and broad overview of their Programme. In this regard, the Committee expressed the need to be briefed on the existing programme of research. The primary role of ACFR would be to deal with general principles while its subsidiary bodies, such as working parties, may consider technical matters referred to them by ACFR. It agreed that, among its roles, would be a review of FAO relevant fishery research activities in order to play a more positive role in providing advice on programming structure. A second role would be a contribution to the strategic planning for research activities of the Fisheries Department. The Committee further agreed that it should provide oversight for its various working groups and contribute to improving the appreciation for the need for fishery research. The Committee expressed its desire to hold its subsequent sessions a few months before sessions of the Committee on Fisheries in order to make constructive contributions to the Fisheries Department Programme of Work and Budget.
REVIEW OF FAO ACTIVITIES RELATED TO FISHERY RESEARCH
10. This agenda item was introduced on the basis of document ACFR/97/4. The Committee was briefed on the FAO Fisheries Department's mandate and resources in support of fishery research as well as the operational mode for undertaking research activities. The current research activities were subsequently presented in relation to key policy issues and with special reference to the sustainable contribution of fisheries to food security, sustainable development and the FAO Fisheries Department's role in the collection of fishery information, data and statistics. It was further pointed out that research undertaken was embedded in broad activities and that activities related to the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries are essential priorities within the Programme of Work of the Department. Fisheries Department is also currently elaborating a Mid-Term (1998-2002) Strategy in support of the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. In addition, the Committee was informed that FAO, with the assistance of the major producing countries, had identified aquaculture development oriented research priorities for Africa south of the Sahara and for Latin America; and, in collaboration with the Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia and Pacific Region (NACA), the aquaculture research priorities for Asia. Similar research activities are ongoing in the Mediterranean through four networks under the aegis of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).
11. The Committee noted that the research agenda was broad. While not making any judgement on the value of the activities, it was suggested that there was a need to lay emphasis on impact assessment of research, the integrated approach, and inter-disciplinary work. It further noted that FAO has developed a number of databases and that there was a need for the Organization to undertake an analysis of these data bases and do more status reporting. The need for FAO-FI to collaborate with other organizations to enhance its status reporting was also stressed. The Committee further stressed the need to identify limiting factors in research implementation and the utilization of research results.
12. The Committee recalled the phenomenon of globalization and its potential effects/impacts on world fisheries, particularly in developing countries. It stressed that certain local phenomenon occur so universally that they are virtually global. The Committee suggested that global and micro issues should be addressed simultaneously, and that emphasis be placed on transitional phase of globalization. The Committee noted the importance of an effective monitoring strategy to appraise the impact of globalization on the fishery sector.
13. The Committee noted FAO's role as the honest broker, particularly on sensitive issues and endorsed the Technical Consultations that are planned on sustainable shrimp aquaculture, sustainability indicators, the management of fishing capacity, shark conservation and management, incidental catch of seabirds and gear selectivity.
INTERNATIONAL CONSULTATION ON FISHERIES POLICY RESEARCH IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
14. The Committee was informed on the outcome of the International Consultation on Fisheries Policy Research in Developing Countries jointly organised by the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources (ICLARM), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Institute for Fisheries Management (IFM) and held in June 1997 in Hirtshals, Denmark. At that Consultation, two key papers ("Policy Issues deriving from scope, determination of growth, and changing structure of supply of fish and fishery products in developing countries"(by M. Ahmed) and "Changing fish trade and demand patterns in developing countries and their significance for policy research" (by C. Delgado and C. Courbois) were presented which described the changing sources of supply of fish and showed that many trends in supply, trade and prices for fish are running counter to those for other food commodities. The Consultation recommended 10 topics as priorities for fisheries policy research including the governance of fisheries, the need to describe properly the role of fish in food security by incorporating fish into world food projection models, and how to integrate aquaculture into overall management of natural resources.
15. It was reported that FAO found the International Consultation on Fisheries Policy Research very useful. It was requested that the Committee should consider research in a broad frame, including such aspects as data requirements for research and training needs of developing countries. This should include prediction of future research needs and actions, as well as the constraints to such actions.
16. The Committee welcomed the initiative to hold the International Consultation on Fisheries Policy Research. It noted that the policy areas at the Consultation were very general and that there was an insufficiency of information on the socio-economics, financial and fiscal policies in fisheries. The Committee, however, acknowledged that some countries have national statistics on fisheries and these should be collated. It also agreed that FAO has a central role to play in promoting policy related research in fisheries.
FAO STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR RESPONSIBLE FISHERIES (1998-2002)
17. The Secretariat briefly introduced the FAO Fisheries Department mid-term Strategy in support of the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. It was pointed out that the strategy had been developed after the list of FAO-FI activities annexed to document ACFR/97/4. Hence there were some discrepancies between the two documents. In addition, it was pointed out that the strategy was a medium-term strategy (1998 - 2002) and hence went beyond the activities planned for the next biennium (1998-1999).
18. The Committee was informed that the Code itself was voluntary. However, the Compliance Agreement was an integral part of the Code and this was a binding agreement. In this regard, FAO-FI would monitor the implementation of the Code, including the Compliance Agreement. In addition, under the Inter-regional Programme, a sub-programme was aimed at providing direct support to states and regions for Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS). Support for this had been committed by the Government of Norway.
19. With regard to the Compliance Agreement, the Committee observed that there were two research directions: i) support in developing or implementation of appropriate technology for enforcement; and ii) policy issues related to enforcement. It was agreed that these are appropriate areas in which FAO could be involved.
20. The Committee further agreed that the strategy document provided member countries with an indication of those areas in which FAO wished to collaborate and that the Code itself highlighted many of the priorities for FAO to address.
UPDATE ON STRATEGY FOR INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES RESEARCH (SIFR)
21. The Committee was informed that the Donors Group on Fishery Research has decided to move the Secretariat of SIFR to the FAO Fisheries Department early in 1998 as the "Aquatic Research Support Unit" (ARSU) at FAO Headquarters. ARSU will provide networking support to the member countries and channel member nation requirements for research support to donor countries. The Unit will be run by a steering committee, of which three members should come from developing partner countries. There was a provision for core budget and staffing. The Secretariat further informed the Committee that the transfer of the SIFR Secretariat to Rome should result in greater cooperation between FAO-FI and SIFR than had been possible while SIFR was based in Canada.
22. In the ensuing discussion, it was noted that SIFR and FAO Fisheries Department should complement each other and that the primary role of the Unit would be to raise funds as requested. There have been great problems in raising funds from donor countries to support research in aquaculture and fisheries. A key task of SIFR would be to facilitate raising such funds. SIFR would provide a channel for developing countries to gain support to take part in international activities which, without this support, they could not easily do. It was also felt that the contacts that existed between FAO-FI and fisheries activities in the developing countries should greatly facilitate SIFR to undertake its task. It was stressed that active contact will be required with ICLARM which has a large international living aquatic resources research programme targeted at issues in developing countries.
23. The Committee suggested that the Unit should also facilitate coordination of regional fishery research programmes. FAO-FI would have an important role to play in channelling research needs, identified during field projects and activities, through to SIFR, and that ACFR could arrange jointly with SIFR an expert consultation to examine for example the effectiveness of fishery research and research priorities.
24. The Committee noted that many mistakes had been made in the past by both the donor countries and many fisheries departments when projects were designed and implemented without adequate appreciation of local situations or realities. The Committee further noted that the SIFR-FAO partnership was timely. FAO now had more freedom to work through for example NGOs and emphasized that if SIFR was able to work through other interest groups, rather than being constrained as FAO was, to work through governments, then the FAO-FI and SIFR partnership could be useful. It was also suggested that the Committee should in its future work spend some time considering how the different research agendas were developed and the relative inputs from donor countries, fisheries departments and other interest groups.
25. The Committee endorsed the proposed move of SIFR from IDRC, Canada, to FAO, Rome. However, the Committee remarked that it was important to note that raising interest and funds from donors was not sufficient in itself and that it was important to ensure that the activities enjoyed support from local interest groups and governments.
26. The Secretariat requested that the Committee nominate three experts from developing partner countries to the Steering Committee of SIFR. It was pointed out that SIFR would prefer to be advised by FAO and that it may be preferable for the Committee to informally provide FAO with possible names of experts whom they believe would serve well on this Committee. Possible candidates should be people at the level of Director of an Institute Laboratory, professional association or similar group, who should have the experience and stature to look at international issues and not just their own national issues. Furthermore, the candidates should have broad experience in a wide array of research disciplines. The Committee was informed that the donors did not wish to dictate membership to the Steering Committee. The Committee observed that these would be similar to the requirements for membership of ACFR and there could be merit in having some overlap in membership in their personal capacity in order to facilitate communication with ACFR on the SIFR Steering Committee.
27. The Committee strongly endorsed the view that the donors that ACFR should not determine the members from the partner countries. Individual members of ACFR should provide a list of suitable candidates. Such a list of names provided by individual members of ACFR should be left with FAO. The list would have informal status but would still be useful.
GLOBAL PROGRAMMES AND ISSUES THAT AFFECT FISHERIES
28. The Committee noted that there are many global programmes and issues that affect fisheries, and these should be taken into account when considering research needs. The Committee discussed several of these programmes and issues, as indicated in Appendix F.
IDENTIFICATION OF AREAS OF RESEARCH EMPHASIS TO ADDRESS CRITICAL SCIENTIFIC GAPS
29. Taking account of the current world fisheries situation, global programmes and issues that affect fisheries, and the current FAO programme that relates to fishery research, the Committee identified research topics that need to be emphasized in the future in order to fill critical scientific gaps. The research topics do not constitute an exhaustive list, as it was impractical for the Committee to conduct the systematic review and analysis required to prepare such a list. The Committee also recognized that some of the scientific gaps and changes in emphasis suggested by the Committee are already being addressed by FAO.
30. The Committee identified eight areas of research. To a significant degree all of these topics are interdisciplinary. They are not listed in priority order; rather they are ordered with topics that are predominately concerned with natural systems that include fishery resources first, then topics that predominately concern the human dimension of fishery systems, then topics concerning culture systems for fishery resource species, and finally topics concerning scientific information. The Committee’s identification of research topics highlighted the need for a shift in emphasis from a programme of research that in the past had been predominately concerned with fishery resources, to a future program with substantial emphasis on the human dimension of fisheries.
31. An ecosystem perspective on fisheries Until recently, fishery management was primarily concerned with sustainability of the resources that were used by fisheries. There is increasing evidence that the effects of fishing on ecosystem goes far beyond the direct effects on fisheries resources, including habitat alteration and indirect effects on ecosystem structure and function. Fisheries are also affected by natural and human caused changes in ecosystems, including climate change, and the ecosystems that contain fisheries are used for many purposes, and valued differently, by diverse segments of society. Traditional concepts of sustainability, as applied to fisheries, need to be re-examined in light of the complex ecosystem setting in which fisheries are imbedded. Therefore, there is a need to increase emphasis on the role of fisheries in ecosystems, how fisheries are affected by ecosystems, and the relationship (e.g. consistent or competing) between alternative uses and values of ecosystems.
32. Inland and Small-Scale Coastal Fisheries These fisheries are valuable resources which are critically understated in several official landings statistics. They are particularly vulnerable to environmental changes and overfishing. They contain groups of organisms which are in danger of extinction. For these fisheries, an holistic interdisciplinary approach, including ecosystem and socio-economic perspectives, is essential.
33. Globalization Technological advances in communication and transportation are truly changing the world to a global system, with fisheries both representative of this change, and significantly impacted by it. Important aspects of globalization include trade and marketing, technology transfer, international investment, international standardization, e.g. seagoing workers on fishing vessels, influences on traditional values and cultures, and wealth re-distribution (not necessarily toward greater equity). Many traditional views about how to manage fisheries were shaped prior to today’s rapid trend of globalization, and research is needed on a wide range of topics as a basis for re-assessing these views.
34. Economic aspects of fisheries trade and the distribution of benefits Many of the factors that are driving the problems that fisheries are experiencing now, and that have the potential to increase in the future, can only be understood and addressed, with a more complete understanding of the nature and extent of barriers to trade, and the processes that control the distribution of benefits. Along with resource productivity, trade is a critical factor in determining the wealth that is produced by the fishing sector, but while the globalization has the potential for increasing the total wealth derived from fisheries, it also changes the distribution of the benefits. Important processes act on scales ranging from global to highly local. There is a critical need for more research on trade and the distribution of benefits in order to address pressing social problems of fisheries that are being accentuated by globalization, and to improve the role of fisheries in food security.
35. Scientific basis for fishery management policies, instruments, and institutions The traditional emphasis of fishery research on fishery resources has been insufficient to guide fisheries management in the development of scientifically based policies (e.g. setting of goals within constraints) , instruments (e.g. methods of management) and institutions (e.g. arrangements for making decisions) so that fisheries are managed in a sustainable manner, taking account of diverse needs and values of society. Research is needed on alternative forms of rights and obligations, in order to promote incentives for conservation and efficient use of resources. There is also a need for practical methods of including diverse views in decisions. A comparative approach using case studies should be given more research emphasis in topics such as fishery management policies, instruments and institutions. This will require the development of scientifically based performance measures for fisheries management systems.
36. Ecologically sound aquaculture and stock enhancement Aquaculture production has increased rapidly in recent years such that it is now a substantial proportion of overall production of fishery products, and an even greater proportion of trade revenues. The potential and demand for further increases are clear, but the future of some forms of aquaculture are in jeopardy because of widespread concern about their sustainability. The primary concerns are about the social and economic effects on local communities, the degradation of coastal habitat that is used for aquaculture and the inefficient use of wild fish production as aquaculture feed. There are many other concerns, such as the spread of diseases, genetic pollution and social and economic effects on local communities. The significance of these problems varies widely between regions and the species cultured. There are opportunities to expand culture of some indigenous species integrated with agriculture and coastal systems in a sustainable manner, thus addressing food security. There is also a critical need for research on this topics before the adverse effects of some types of aquaculture become so severe that it is too late.
37. Status and Trends of Fisheries FAO plays a unique role in the gathering of statistical information about the performance of fisheries and fisheries management, and in summarizing information on the global status and trends of fisheries. There is a high demand for such information from policy makers, environmentalists that are increasingly concerned about fisheries, and the public. But the current statistics collection system is limited to primarily landings and commodities statistics, whereas there is a critical need for data relevant to fleet capacity, participation in fisheries, economic performance and distribution. While significant modernization of data management systems has already occurred, there is a need to integrate the entire fisheries statistics system in light of modern information technology. Another critical element of the research need concerning statistics and status and trends is for the design of quality criteria and quality assurance protocols. Finally, assessments of status and trends would benefit from more formal processes to involve regional bodies and experts.
38. New research methods The nature of the issues facing policy makers and fisheries managers, and of the concerns of environmentalist and the public, are changing. The issues are more complex (seldom as simple as the status of a fish stock), and information is needed for a large number of situations. Fisheries research is a primary means for addressing knowledge gaps which are important for guiding fisheries resource management decisions. However, resources and time to gather information through research are extremely limited, especially but not only in developing countries. Also, fisheries scientists and managers recognize the shortcomings of certain current research methods which may, by their nature and origin, be blind to important dimensions of the problems being addressed by research and new approaches may by required to redress this. This may occur, for example, when certain stakeholder knowledge is excluded, disciplinary or geographical boundaries constrain the analyses. And finally, entirely new research methods with potential application in fisheries research are continually being created. This means that new research methods are needed that are interdisciplinary; that seek to "download" methods and technology for application in data limited, low research infrastructure situations; use comparative methods; develop indicators (e.g. of sustainability and performance of fisheries and fisheries management); that use traditional knowledge and are participatory.
39. Brief descriptions on the research agendas on the above eight areas of research are given in Appendix G.
ESTABLISHMENT OF WORKING PARTIES
40. The Committee emphasized the need to establish working parties that would contribute in developing good research agendas rather than the solving of problems. It agreed that the themes identified for working parties should reflect the discussions at the meeting, should reinforce the work of FAO, should enhance the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security, should be topics that FAO is particularly well suited to undertake. The Committee noted that its role is to provide oversight to various working parties it might establish and that this could be facilitated by some members serving on the working parties. It suggested that certain issues identified could be taken up by regional fishery bodies, as appropriate.
41. The Committee identified nine possible working party topics which were further divided into two sets on its judgement of priorities. The first set of three constitute high priority subject matter which the Committee suggests FAO undertakes during the 1998-1999 biennium and, in particular, during the Committee's intersessional period. The other set of six topics could be undertaken by FAO if the opportunity arises and/or by FAO regional fishery bodies or other organizations as appropriate.
42. The three priority themes are:
(a) Implications of Globalization on Trade and Distribution of Benefits Increasing trade in fish products is due to many factors and therefore this topic is necessarily very broad. It is one which FAO and other fisheries agencies have not dealt with extensively to the present and therefore the main purpose of this working group would be to formulate a targeted research agenda to address such issues as barriers to trade, the distribution of benefits from trade, trade and food security. These issues would need to be addressed in the context of the present trade trends, the likelihood that fish will figure prominently in the next round of multilateral trade negotiations and that, at the regional level, APEC has already identified fisheries products for early voluntary liberalization.
(b) Status Reporting Methodology and Data Needs In view of the importance of fisheries status reporting and rapid improvements in communication technology, FAO and other major players in this discipline should consult through this working party on updating and improving statistical databases, information quality control and the integration of databases with a view to improving global monitoring and strategic analysis of fisheries. This working party should also contribute to development of the Living Marine Resources module of the Global Ocean Observing System being developed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
(c) New Research Methods, Traditional Knowledge and Approaches Fisheries research lags behind other research sectors, such as agriculture and forestry, in developing and adapting a range of new research methods, particularly for social and economic studies. FAO does not presently have significant expertise in methods of participatory research and rapid appraisal techniques. Therefore, the working party on such topics should be held in collaboration with ICLARM and other organizations that have more experience than FAO in their application to fisheries problems. The working party should concentrate on defining areas where new research methods are needed, identify potential approaches, review any successful fisheries applications and recommend useful existing or potential methods for different research needs.
43. The second set of working party topics and brief descriptions of their references were:
(a) Shrimp Aquaculture and the Environment During the last decade, there are few economic activities which have achieved such high growth rates as the culture of shrimp in coastal areas. The rapid development in the absence of suitable knowledge of sustainable methods has been accompanied by increasingly controversial debates over the environmental, social and economic impacts of shrimp culture. There is considerable uncertainty about appropriate policy and management response. FAO is organizing a Technical Consultation on Policies for Sustainable Shrimp Culture in December 1997 in Bangkok and several other multilateral agencies have recently reviewed the topic. The research agenda should build on the work of this Technical Consultation and the reviews to promote interdisciplinary research, and in an holistic manner, with the goal of environmentally friendly and sustainable shrimp aquaculture.
(b) Rights Based Fisheries Systems The critical question for this working party would be to examine, using specific cases from both developed and developing countries, various forms of rights-based fisheries systems which seem to have worked and which may yield insights for other fisheries. Care should be taken not consider this topic at a purely theoretical level but to work with information from real fisheries.
(c) Performance indicators for fisheries management The Committee recognized a need to develop performance indicators of fisheries management regimes and to test these on specific case studies. The indicators would include biological, ecological, social and economic parameters.
(d) Ecological Impacts of Fishing The emphasis of a Working Party on this topic would be on the science to address the different values and the extent to which fisheries is compatible or not with environmental issues. FAO would likely take a supporting role to other agencies/organizations which have carried out a number of studies. Several meetings are planned also in the near future. A Working Party of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), for example, meets annually to discuss this issue and ICES and FAO are cosponsoring a Symposium on Eco-System Effects of Fisheries in 1999. The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) is also planning a working party that would take a more broader look at the subject for 1998.
(e) Meaning of sustainability in a varying world FAO and Australia are planning a workshop on sustainable indicators and criteria. While this workshop would make a major contribution to the meaning of fisheries sustainability, the Committee envisaged that extra work would still be required to develop suitable indicators for fisheries sustainability for fisheries such as small pelagics subject to very rapid and sometimes very unpredictable variations. Such fisheries make major contributions to export earnings in many developing countries.
(f) Inland aquatic systems - threats and solutions Inland aquatic systems constitute a major reservoir for fisheries resources and aquatic biodiversity. Freshwater constitutes the major source of livelihood and food for many of the world's population. Fish genetic resources are being lost at an alarming rate, almost all are freshwater species. Freshwater species are particularly vulnerable because of their restricted habitats and limited opportunities for recolonization. Furthermore, inland aquatic systems are also exposed to major habitat and environmental alterations as a result of conflicting uses amongst stakeholders with adverse effects on the ecosystem. The scope of the working party would be to identify problems, particularly in major areas under new threats, e.g. the Mekong River, Amazon, etc. and design a research agenda to help address the fishery issues, especially of new projects.
44. The proposed scope of the first set of three priority themes to be undertaken by the Working Parties is provided in Annex H.
FUTURE PLAN OF WORK OF THE COMMITTEE
45. The Committee agreed that, in order to respond to its mandate of advising the Director-General on the formulation and execution of the Organization's Programme of Work in respect of all aspects of fishery research, it should in the course of its tenure undertake a systematic appraisal of FAO's programmes and also promote a strategic planning exercise for research activities. It further agreed that the systematic appraisal of the programme should constitute one of its major tasks at the Second Session. For this purpose, it requested that the Fisheries Department should in due course provide members of the Committee with the relevant documents on the themes/topics to be reviewed. The review process might include a presentation by the appropriate staff of the work that is undertaken. The Committee felt that the outcome of this exercise, in addition to providing to the Director-General an assessment of the work of the Department, would contribute to improving the appreciation for the need for fishery research. The Committee agreed that the strategic planning for research activities should be undertaken at its Third Session.
46. The Committee also resolved to maintain contact among its members through e-mail and to discuss, through this medium, certain thematic issues. It expressed the wish, if so required, to contribute to some of the main documents for sessions of the Committee on Fisheries and other consultations organized by the Fisheries Department. Finally, the Committee expressed the wish to regularly receive a status report of FAO's activities related to research as well as feedback from FAO on the work of the Committee.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR THE SECOND SESSION
47. The Committee unanimously re-elected the following officers for the Second Session:
Chairperson: Dr. M. Sissenwine
First Vice-Chairperson and Rapporteur: Dr. M. Williams
Second Vice-Chairperson: Dr. J. Kurien
DATE AND PLACE OF THE SECOND SESSION
48. The Committee decided that its Second Session would be held in FAO Headquarters, Rome, preferably before December 1998. It requested the Secretariat to fix the date of the Session in consultation with the Chairperson, taking into account other scheduled fisheries meetings and the extent to which identified intersessional activities are accomplished.
ANY OTHER MATTERS
49. Presentation of Main Outcomes to Fisheries Department The Committee presented the main outcomes of its discussion to staff of the Fisheries Department. These included an appreciation of the role of FAO in international fisheries and aquaculture research and the definition of the vision of the Committee of its own role; the identification of some global programmes and issues that affect fisheries and aquaculture and the distilling of critical scientific gaps in fisheries research, as well as the identification of the corresponding research areas to address some of these gaps. Other outcomes were the identification of research topics for Working Parties and an elaboration of the scope of some of the research topics and the future workplan of the Committee. The Committee pointed out that it viewed its First Session as a "foundation meeting" on which, with the active collaboration of staff of the Fisheries Department, it would be possible to build a programme that will reinforce the positive image of FAO in global fishery research, promote sustainable development of aquaculture and management of fisheries, as well as increase the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security.
ADOPTION OF THE REPORT
50. The Report was adopted on 28 November 1997.
APPENDIX CList of Documents
|ACFR/97/1||Provisional Agenda and Timetable|
|ACFR/97/2||Statutes of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research|
|ACFR/97/3||Draft Rules of Procedure|
|ACFR/97/4||FAO Activities Related to Fisheries Research|
|ACFR/97/Inf.1||Provisional List of Documents|
|ACFR/97/Inf.2||List of Members|
|ACFR/97/Inf.4||Report of the FAO Expert Consultation on Fisheries Research, FAO Fisheries Circular No. 877, Rome 1994|
|ACFR/97/Inf.5||FAO Fisheries Department Mid-Term Strategy in Support of the Implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries 1998-2002 (Draft)|
|ACFR/97/Inf.6||A Brief for Fisheries Policy Research in Developing Countries|
|ACFR/97/Inf.7||SIFR Changes to an Aquatic Research Support Unit at FAO|
|ACFR/97/Inf.8||The Director-General's programme of Work and Budget 1998-99 (Major Programme 2.3 Fisheries)|
|ACFR/97/Inf.9||Fisheries Resources and Aquaculture (Programme 2.3.2) Programme Evaluation Report 1996-97 (C 97/4)|
Statutes of the Committee
Article I - PURPOSES AND TERMS OF REFERENCE
The purposes and terms of reference of the Committee shall be:
(a) to study and advise the Director-General on the formulation and execution of the Organization’s Programme of Work in respect of all aspects of fisheries research including conservation and management of marine and inland fishery resources, increasing fish productivity through enhancement of wild resources and through aquaculture, improving the means of converting fishery resources into human food, and the study of the dynamics of fishing communities and the socio-economic consequences of government fishery policies. Special attention will be provided to the fisheries aspects of oceanographic research and to the impacts of environmental change on the sustainability of fisheries;
(b) by agreement between the Director-General and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), of Unesco, and in accordance with Resolution 15 adopted at the Second Session of the IOC, also to act as the advisory body to that Commission on the fishery aspects of oceanography.Article II - MEMBERSHIP
(b) Should it seem advisable, following consultations between FAO and IOC, the Director-General may, on the basis of recommendations by the Bureau of IOC, appoint one or two additional members, in accordance with Resolution 15 referred to in Article I(b).
(c) Members of the Committee shall be appointed for a period of up to four years and shall be eligible for reappointment. Appointment to fill vacancies on the Committee shall be effected in the same manner as the original appointments. When a vacancy occurs due to resignation, death, disability or other reasons, the terms of office of the new appointee shall be for the remainder of the term of office of the member who is being replaced.
Article III - REPORTING
The Committee shall submit to the Director-General reports on its activities and recommendations so as to enable the Director-General to take them into account when preparing the draft programme of work and budget of the Organization and other submissions to the Conference and Council. The Director-General shall bring to the attention of the Conference through the Council any recommendations of the Committee which have policy implications or which affect the programme or finances of the Organization, and will ensure appropriate circulation of such reports and recommendations.
Article IV - SUBSIDIARY BODIES
The Committee may establish such subsidiary bodies as it deems necessary for the accomplishment of its tasks, subject to the availability of the necessary funds in the relevant Chapter of the approved Budget of the Organization.
Article V - EXPENSES
Article VI - RULES OF PROCEDURE
The Committee may adopt and amend its own Rules of Procedure which shall be in conformity with the Constitution and the General Rules of the Organization and with the Statement of Principles governing commissions and committees adopted by the Conference. The Rules of Procedure and amendments thereto shall come into force upon approval by the Director-General.
Article VII - AMENDMENTS TO THE STATUTES
The Committee may propose amendments to these Statutes. Such proposals shall be transmitted to the Director-General for consideration and approval.
Rules of Procedure of the Committee
Rule I Officers
1. The Committee shall elect, at the end of each session, a Chairperson, and two Vice-Chairpersons, from among its members, who shall remain in office until the election of the new Chairperson and new Vice-Chairpersons.
2. The Chairperson, or in his absence, one of the Vice-Chairpersons, shall preside at meetings of the Committee and exercise such other functions as may be required to facilitate its work. In the event of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairpersons not being able to preside at a meeting, the Committee shall appoint one of its members to act as Chairperson.
3. One of the Vice-Chairpersons shall be designated to act as Rapporteur to the Committee.
4. The Director-General shall appoint a Secretary from among the staff of the Organization who shall be responsible to him.
Rule II Sessions
1. The Committee shall normally hold only such sessions in each biennium as are listed in the Programme of Work of the Organization for the relevant period, subject, however, to the authority of the Director-General to make exceptions when in his view such action is necessary for the fulfilment of the Programme of Work as approved by the Conference; such exceptions being reported to the session of the Council immediately following such action.
2. Any number of separate meetings may be held during each session of the Committee.
3. The sessions of the Committee shall be held normally at the Headquarters of the Organization, but may be convened at other locations by the Director-General after consultation with the Chairperson of the Committee.
4. Notice of the date and place of each session shall be communicated to all members of the Committee and to organizations invited to designate representatives or observers normally two months in advance.
5. A majority of members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum for any formal action taken by the Committee.
6. Meetings of the Committee shall be held in private, unless otherwise decided by the Committee.
7. For any matters not covered by these Rules, the proceedings of the Committee shall be governed by the relevant provisions of the General Rules of the Organization.
Rule III Voting
1. Each member of the Committee shall have one vote.
2. The decisions of the Committee shall be ascertained by the Chairperson, who shall resort, upon the request of one or more Members to a vote, in which case the pertinent provisions of Rule XII of the General Rules of the Organization shall apply mutatis mutandis.
Rule IV Agenda and Documents
1. The Director-General, in consultation with the Chairperson of the Committee and with the President of IOC, shall prepare a provisional agenda and shall normally circulate it two months in advance of the session to all members of the Committee and to international organizations invited to attend the session.
2. Any member of the Committee may propose the insertion of additional items in the provisional agenda but not later than one month before the proposed date of the session. The Director-General shall thereupon circulate the proposed item to the members of the Committee and to organizations invited to attend, together with the appropriate documentation.
3. The Committee in session may amend the agenda by the deletion, addition or modification of any item, provided that no matter referred to it by the Director-General, or by IOC may be omitted from the agenda. Documents not already circulated shall be despatched with the provisional agenda, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Rule V Observers
1. Participation of international organizations in the work of the Committee, and the relations between the Committee and such organizations, shall be governed by the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the General Rules of the Organization as well as by the principles governing relations with international organizations, as adopted by the Conference. All such relations shall be dealt with by the Director-General.
2. International organizations invited to designate representatives or observers may submit memoranda on any item on the agenda of the Committee and may, with the approval of the Chairperson, participate in the discussion.
Rule VI Records and reports
1. At each session, the Committee shall approve a report embodying its views, recommendations and decisions including, when appropriate, statements of minority views. Such other records for its own use as the Committee may on occasion decide shall also be maintained.
2. The conclusions and recommendations of the Committee, shall be transmitted to the Director-General, at the close of each session, and he shall circulate them to Members of the Committee, the IOC, and to other international organizations that were represented at the session, and, upon request, to Member Nations and Associate Members of the Organization for their information.
3. Recommendations having policy, programme or financial implications for the Organization shall be brought by the Director-General to the attention of the Conference through the Council.
Rule VII Subsidiary Bodies
1. The Committee may establish sub-committees on problems of major importance and general interest or working parties for the study of problems of a more specialized nature.
2. The Committee shall determine the terms of reference and reporting procedures of its sub-committees or working parties.
3. The subsidiary bodies shall consist of selected members of the Committee, and, if appropriate, other experts: the designation of members of subsidiary bodies shall be made by the Director-General on the basis of recommendations of the Committee.
4. The establishment of any subsidiary bodies shall be subject to the availability of the necessary funds in the relevant Chapter of the approved budget of the Organization. The determination of such availability shall be made by the Director-General. Only such sessions of subsidiary bodies shall be convened in each biennium as are listed in the Programme of Work of the Organization for the relevant period, subject, however, to the authority of the Director-General to make exceptions when in his view such action is necessary for the fulfilment of the Programme of Work as approved by the Conference; these exceptions being reported to the session of the Council immediately following such action.
5. Before taking any decision involving expenditure in connection with the establishment of subsidiary bodies, the Committee shall have before it a report from the Director-General on the administrative and financial implications thereof.
6. Each subsidiary body shall elect its own officers.
7. The Rules of the Committee shall apply mutatis mutandis to its subsidiary bodies.
Rule VIII Amendment and Suspension of Rules
1. Amendments to these Rules may be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the membership of the Committee, provided that 24 hours notice of the proposal for the amendment has been given. Amendments to these Rules shall come into force upon approval by the Director-General.
2. Any of the above Rules of the Committee, other than Rules I.4, III, IV.3, VI.1 and 2, VII.4 and VIII may be suspended by the Committee by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, provided that 24 hours notice of the proposal for the suspension has been given. Such notice may be waived if no member of the Committee objects.
Brief Notes on Global Programmes and Issues that affect Fisheries
Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco has responsibility for designing GOOS, but one of the modules concerns Living Marine Resources. FAO should provide expert leadership in the design of this module that is of direct importance to the fisheries sector.
International Listing of Fishery Resource Species as Threatened or Endangered
Both the IUCN and CITES have taken steps to include fishery resource species on list that infer that the species are threatened with, or endanger of extinction. Such listings should be based on sound scientific criteria. FAO and its various research partners at regional and national level have the expertise, and FAO can exercise the scientific leadership, to improve the scientific basis for listing decisions.
Globalization is making trade issues more important to fisheries than ever before. In addition to traditional concerns about trade barriers, there are new concerns about non-tariff barriers resulting from health and safety criteria. The prospects for eco-labelling (e.g. as is planned by the Marine Stewardship Council) raise new scientific issues about trade and fisheries. The 1997 APEC Conference held in Vancouver points toward the next Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiation addressing fisheries trade with a view toward further liberalization.
International Convention on Biological Diversity (ICBD)
The International Convention on Biological Diversity which enshrines national sovereignty over biological diversity also includes articles which impact fisheries and aquaculture research. The most important impacts are in potential restriction of exchange of germ plasm for aquaculture and bio-prospecting, attention to bio-safety, especially in the creation and use of genetically modified organisms; responsibility for conservation of biodiversity; and raised awareness of the values and importance of genetic resources and a need for knowledge of ecosystem, species and genetic level diversity. Early technical assessment under the ICBD have highlighted coastal and freshwater aquatic systems. FAO should maintain a good knowledge of the technical and research issues involved and act as a conduit to bring these issues within the appropriate work programmes of member countries. The Committee noted that FAO and ICLARM are co-convening a Bellagio Conference in April 1998 on technical/policy issues for aquatic biodiversity.
International Maritime Organization Initiatives relevant to Fisheries
Three particular initiatives to be noted are the forthcoming Annex to MARPOL on the management of ships and ballast water (expected to be approved by the year 2000) and the 1995 IMO International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel, as well as the Joint FAO/ILO/IMO Working Group on Fishermen's Training. On the former, the Committee suggested that FAO maintain a watching brief on this action and minimize the serious risk of exotic species introductions to the aquatic environment and draw scientific issues to the attention of its regional fishery bodies and member countries. Fishery agencies will likely be called upon to certify ports uptake sites in free or otherwise of, for example, toxic algae blooms. The implication of the certification and attendant training needs of seafarers on fishing vessels is discussed under the major research area dealing with globalization.
International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI)
This initiative is now supported by over 60 countries, most of them tropical developing countries for which coral reefs support 15 to 25% or more of their fishery production. The global coral reef monitoring network of ICRI is fostering regional and national monitoring programmes for reefs, using well designed research and survey methods. Although FAO does not have a strong capacity in coral reef research, the Committee urged it to maintain a currency and linkage with efforts in this area, including ICLARM which is closely involved with the ICRI/Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, through its Research and Data Base Programme such as Reef Base.
Large Marine Ecosystems (LME)
The Global Environmental Fund (GEF) has identified Large Marine Ecosystems as an approach for organizing research and management on scales that take account of ecosystem processes and are suitable for regional management. The LME approach calls for modules to address ecosystem productivity, fisheries, socio-economics, health, and governance. GEF is funding the planning of several LME projects, and one in West Africa is already operational. These projects are an opportunity to support much needed research in developing countries, and to promote regional cooperation, but to be successful they require technical assistance, which is a role that FAO is well suited to fulfil.
Peoples Initiative of Fish Workers
Fishworkers organizations from around the world have recently come together to create a World Forum of Fishharvesters and Fishworkers (WFFF). FAO may wish to be attuned to the dynamics of such new initiatives as they are important pressure groups which could indicate directions for research issues that have a bearing on the people in fisheries.
Research Agenda Briefs
1. Economic aspects of trade in fish and fish products
Major research areas:
(a) Barriers to trade
(b) Distribution of benefits from trade
(c) Implications of trade for food security
1.A: Barriers to trade
Nature of problem to be addressed: International trade in fish and fish products is still controlled by a number of barriers. High tariffs still remain and are an impediment to trade for a number of fish products, particularly highly processed ones, even if tariffs on many fish products have been practically eliminated or substantially lowered in industrially developed countries. In some countries import quotas of a formal or informal kind are still being used. Minimum prices of fish and fish products are occasionally applied against countries with a competitive edge, in order to limit imports. Furthermore, there are a number of informal barriers to trade. Quality requirements and the manner in which they are enforced may constitute barriers to trade. This may also be true of environmental and other requirements which importers demand be satisfied by exporters. Lastly, foreign exchange regulations may constitute a barrier to trade. This situation is most likely to arise in developing countries with soft currencies.
Recently the idea of eco-labelling fish and fish products has been put forward. Eco-labelling may, if administered carelessly and without sound, objective criteria, constitute an inappropriate barrier to trade. This is particularly likely to be a problem for countries with a weak scientific and administrative infrastructure. These aspects of eco-labelling need to be studied.
Justification: Barriers to trade prevent fish exporting countries from maximizing their income from their resources and impose costs on consumers in importing countries in the form of higher prices of fish products. Many developing countries export fish and fish products, and their economic development would thus be promoted by removing the remaining barriers to trade.
Approach: Information on tariff rates, import quotas and minimum prices are easily available. The impact of these barriers on the composition and volume of trade is hypothetical but a rough estimate can be obtained on the basis of availability of fish, labour force, capital and know-how. Information on non-tariff barriers is much more speculative and occasionally anecdotal. The best source of information is probably exporting firms and civil servants in exporting countries which have to deal with these impediments on an ongoing basis. The impact of eco-labelling is hypothetical at this stage but some idea can be obtained by contrasting possible requirements with present practices and how the latter could possibly be altered to satisfy the requirements of eco-labelling.
1. B: Distribution of benefits to trade
Nature of problem to be addressed: Trade has the potential of benefitting both parties. It may, nevertheless, benefit some more than others, and some groups of society may in fact lose as trade expands. It is possible that increased trade in fish and fish products will lead to a loss for certain groups of society by raising the domestic price of fish or by diverting supplies of cheap fish into aquaculture production for exports.
Justification: If in fact trade makes certain groups of society worse off, its overall gains may be called into question, unless steps are being taken to compensate those who otherwise would lose. This is particularly relevant if those who lose from trade are the poorest groups in society.
Approach: The effects of trade on incomes and standards of living can be assessed by comparing the incomes of the affected group and the prices and availability of food fish before and after trade was introduced or expanded. Availability of relevant data from the past might, however, be a problem, especially in developing countries.
1. C: Implications of trade for food security
Nature of problem to be addressed: It is a priori unclear how trade in fish and fish products will affect food security. Exports of fish from areas with little food security would clearly make their situation worse, that is if food insecure do not benefit from the trade, while imports of fish from surplus areas to areas deficient in food supplies would improve food security. Fish resources are unevenly distributed on a global scale, even among the coastal states of the world, being concentrated in areas with upwelling currents.
Justification: Improving food security needs no justification. Given the uneven distribution of fish resources, it would appear that increased trade in fish and fish products among developing countries would raise overall food security. However, a large volume of fish trade is from Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) to wealthy High Income Food Surplus Countries (HIFSCs) where the average food consumption is several times greater than in LIFDCs.
Approach: The distribution of fish resources needs to be compared and contrasted with food requirements across developing countries. This problem should be studied together with impediments to trade between developing countries (see point A above).
2. Aquaculture Sustainability
Problem: Certain forms of aquaculture have faced increasingly serious ecological, social and technological problems affecting their sustainability. Environmental impacts and social consequences from expanded and intensified aquaculture activities have resulted in pollution, eutrophication, spread of diseases, mangrove deforestation, salinization of agricultural land, lack of broodstock, poor quality seed production, inadequate high protein food supplies, conflict over use of land and water resources, introductions of exotic species and escape of diseased and genetically different cultural varieties. Shrimp farming and grouper culture in tropical regions, salmon culture in temperate countries have faced particular problems, whereas carp and tilapia culture seems to be more sustainable and less problematic, particularly in integrated systems.
Justification: The ecological, social and economic impacts of these problems are far-reaching. Aquaculture is expanding rapidly without adequate competence, proper technology and, in some countries, without appropriate procedures and legislation. Reliable information is lacking. Lack of planning and management capacity among government agencies exacerbates this situation.
Approach: Interdisciplinary research is required to understand the problems holistically. Additional specialized research is needed to address specific environmental problems. Research into ecologically-friendly techniques and alternatives (including integrated approaches, water recycling, effluent treatment, etc.). Further studies are required on sustainable integration of aquaculture into coastal ecosystems (e.g. crab, shrimp and cockle culture in mangrove areas). Further research on traditional knowledge and improved techniques in carp farming. Research into potential for sustainable tilapia culture in Africa should be encouraged further.
3. Inland and Small-Scale Coastal Fisheries
Nature of the Problem: On a worldwide basis, inland and small-scale coastal fisheries provide a substantial share of fish production directly consumed by humans. The fact that the resources are widely spread, mostly locally consumed and, in the case of inland fisheries, cropped with low-cost energy efficient methods, makes them available to the poor, thus increasing its value for food security.
In many places, however, their sustainability is threatened both by the lack of adequate management and by the stresses imposed on fish communities by other uses of water resources (damming of rivers, pollution, navigation, etc.). Very often, decision-makers and relevant authorities are insufficiently informed of such problems or lack the appropriate tools to deal with them. In this relation, critical interdisciplinary research is needed on the analysis and evaluation of biological, environmental, social and economic aspects of small-scale fisheries, in order to support the development of management options with special emphasis on equity and efficiency in resource allocation and conservation.
Justification: Unlike in large-scale marine fisheries, great differences in fish communities and in the social and economic environments of coastal, and especially inland fisheries, prevent the ready transfer of assessment and management methodologies from the developed to the developing world. At present, fisheries resources in major river systems, wetlands and lakes in all continents, as well as in coastal areas such as estuaries, lagoons, mangroves and inshore coral reefs, are under threat.
Approach: Strengthen the integration of ecological, economic and social aspects in the analysis and evaluation of small-scale coastal and inland fisheries in the programmes of the Fisheries Department.
Assume a facilitating role to involve local communities, national research centres and regional bodies in the planning and execution of interdisciplinary research programmes in this field. Undertake investigations on the public sector institutional approach towards coastal and inland fisheries management and development in developing countries. Research on sustainable and ecologically sound rehabilitation and enhancement methodologies is also a priority.
4. Status and Trends of Fisheries
Nature of the problems
FAO plays a unique role in the gathering of statistical information about the performance of fisheries and fisheries management, and in summarizing information on the global status and trends of fisheries. But the current statistics collection system is limited to primarily landings and commodities statistics, whereas there is a critical need for data relevant to fleet capacity, participation in fisheries, economic performance and distribution. While significant modernization of data management systems has already occurred, there is a need to reconsider the entire fisheries statistics system in light of modern information technology. Another critical element of the research need concerning statistics and status and trends is for the design of quality criteria and quality assurance protocols. Another limitation of current status and trend assessments of FAO is that they depend heavily on knowledge and assess to information of FAO staff, without formal involvement of non-FAO experts.
There is a high demand for such information from policy makers, environmentalists that are increasingly concerned about fisheries, and the public. Such information is used, and to a significant degree recent increases in attention that fisheries are receiving can be attributed to FAO status and trends reports. As planning for a Living Marine Resources module of the Global Ocean Observing System gather momentum, it is particularly important that FAO prepare itself with a scientifically based plan for improving data collection and assessments of status and trends of fisheries.Approach
Finally, assessments of status and trends could would benefit from more formal processes to involve regional fishery bodies (both FAO and non-FAO) and experts.
5. Globalization - implications for fisheries
By globalization one usually means the integration of markets across national boundaries. This development has been particularly pronounced with respect to financial capital and industrial products, but less so with respect to agricultural products. Fish and fish products fall somewhere between agricultural and industrial products, as tariffs on fish products typically are much lower than tariffs on agricultural products and import quotas are less of a hindrance. Another form of apparent globalization arises when certain trends occur so widely as to produce an almost universal or global pattern, e.g. the trend to fully or overfishing fish stocks.
A further aspect of globalization relevant to fisheries is the increased influence of NGOs and international organizations on the way in which fishing and fish processing is conducted. The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries is one example. Another is the 1995 IMO International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel. Finally there is the internationalization of shipping. Ships are increasingly being registered in countries where the rules and regulations are most convenient for their owners, and the labour employed is typically hired from countries with the most advantageous combination of skills and wage rates. This applies to fishing outside 200 miles where access to fishing is still free for vessels from any country.Globalization raises several issues:
Where appropriate, the research and survey methods should explicitly link to FAO and other databases and information sources, e.g. fisheries and aquaculture statistics, FishBase, ReefBase.
7. Marine Fisheries Management
Nature of the Problem to be Addressed: Marine fisheries management covers the activities of utilisation, conservation, regulation, allocation and enhancement of the resource. These activities should be conducted in the context of the given ecological, as well as the specific yet evolving and dynamic, technological, economic, socio-political and cultural milieux.
Fisheries management programmes have been relatively new. Particularly in the developing countries they have not always dealt with matters in the above perspective. The initiatives have often been piece-meal or implemented without paying adequate attention to the need for a holistic approach.
Justification: Despite the shift from a vastly open access regime to a mosaic of state property regimes (EEZs), the stagnation of marine fish harvests viewed at the global level, as well as the degradation and over-exploitation leading to the depletion of resources at several regional and national levels continues unabated. This reality has led to a highly inefficient allocation and waste of economic and financial resources. This in turn is accompanied by the concomitant social conflict implications at the global, national and community levels. The adverse consequences of this are however not evenly distributed at any of these levels and the attempts at finding solutions is also marked with mixed results.
Approach: The experiences of undertaking fisheries management around the globe merit comparative study and analysis in order to highlight the factors which account for success and failure. In particular, the nature as well as the history of evolution of the regulatory institutional, legislative and organisation structures warrant closer study. The correlation between the nature of the property right regimes of coastal waters and the success of fishery resource management needs careful examination.
It is now well recognised that coastal marine fisheries is significantly influenced by often unrelated upstream land based activities. Consequently, studies of coastal fisheries management are best undertaken when integrated into the management of the larger coastal zone and warrant a greater interdisciplinary perspective.
Modern and traditional mechanisms for control of fishing effort and fleet capacity, an analysis of the premises on which these are undertaken, as well as their effectiveness in resource conservation, allocation and enhancement need to be studied.
8. Ecosystem Effects of Fishing
Nature of Problem to be Addressed: Fishing amounts to an interference in a web of interrelated fish species and their supporting habitats and food webs. It amounts to upsetting a natural balance and a movement to a new one, to the extent an ecosystem can ever be described as being in balance. Otherwise it affects the movement of the ecosystem over time. Whichever of these is the more appropriate description, fishing is bound to result in a different mix of species in the ecosystem and a different age, sex and genetic composition within each species. For example, some fishing practices are destructive in relation to the habitats in which the target species and other organisms reside. Examples including trawling which disrupts benthic communities and seagrass beds, explosives and poisons which cause serious damage to sensitive habitats such as coral reefs. Climatic change affects marine ecosystems, species composition, fluctuation in abundance of pelagic fish stocks. Fluctuations in catches of pelagic fish stocks caused by climate change has had a great impact on fisheries and society.
Justification: There is an increasing concern that fishing will somehow lead to an undesirable development of the ecosystem and benefit a few in the short-term, but jeopardize the interests of the majority in the longterm. In some cases they may cause irreversible and accelerated environmental degradation. To the extent this is true there is conflict between fishing and ecological objectives. The purpose of this research is to study and preferably quantify the ecological effects of fishing, in order to ascertain whether and to what extent such conflicts exist and how they might possibly be resolved. (Note that the ecosystem effects of aquaculture are related but are explicitly dealt with in topic 2 on aquaculture.)
Approach: The researchable issues on ecosystem effect of fishing fall into two broad categories: (a) those in which there is a specifically identified fisheries issue raised; and (b) those in which more strategic questions are involved. Examples of (a) are the questions of listing of fished species, fishing of marine mammals, animal welfare, bycatch and effects of trawling on the benthic habitat. Examples of (b) are the questions of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management and the effects of fishing on biodiversity. In both sets of issues, ethical dimensions rather then purely scientific may also play an important and even defining role. Thus, whether marine mammals should be killed for human use is a question of cultural values, not of science, as is the question of what degree of alteration of aquatic ecosystems are considered tolerable or desirable.
For the first group of issues, FAO will often have a very direct role in reviewing, collating and advising on the fisheries and ecosystem issues. For the second group of issues, FAO's role will be more minor and usually in collaboration, even minor collaboration, with other specialist research agencies and environmental agencies such as ICLARM, IUCN, UNEP, etc..
Ecological and social studies have addressed these problems, but additional interdisciplinary work in needed in collaboration with national research centers and local communities and interested parties incorporating traditional and indigenous knowledge.
Proposed Scope of Working Parties
I. Proposed Scope of Working Party on Implications of Globalization:
Implications for Trade and Benefit Distribution
This is a very broad subject and one that has not been dealt with extensively by the FAO. It is also a subject of increasing importance, due to the coming negotiations on further tariff reductions worldwide, the increasing precision of methods applied in quality control, a rising volume of fish trade especially in aquaculture, increasing global concerns about ecological effects of fishing, and the proposed introduction of eco-labels on fish products. The main purpose of this working group would be to formulate a new research agenda on this subject matter. The problems that need to be addressed are the following:
1. Barriers to trade
This includes both tariff and non-tariff barriers.
1.1 Tariffs. For some fish products, particularly those with a high value added component, the tariffs are still high. The effects of tariffs on the volume and composition of trade in fish and fish products need to be assessed.
1.2 Quotas. The use of import quotas, both formal and informal, needs to be quantified and their effect on trade assessed.
1.3 Currency Regulations. Restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency can have an impact on trade. It needs to be examined to what extent this is a problem for trade in fish and fish products. Particular attention needs to be paid to trade between developing countries with soft currencies.
1.4 Quality controls and quarantine . Quality controls and the manner in which they are carried out can be an impediment to trade, particularly for products with a limited shelf-life. The effect of quality controls in trade needs to be examined. On the other hand, quarantine is vital to protect aquatic organisms and the environment from unwanted pests and diseases.
1.5 Eco-labelling. The proposed eco-labelling of fish products could amount to a barrier to trade, particularly for countries with a weak administrative and scientific infrastructure. The possible effects of eco-labelling need to be looked into.
2. Distribution of benefits from trade
Trade has the potential of benefitting both parties. There may, however, be groups that are adversely affected by trade. A possible case would be diversion of low valued fish from human consumption to export oriented aquaculture. It needs to be looked into to what extent trade benefits both parties and whether there are groups that are adversely affected by trade in fish and fish products.
3. Trade and food security
The effects of trade on food security are uncertain a priori. A wider distribution of fish from surplus areas to areas with food deficiency would enhance food security while export oriented aquaculture might have the opposite effect (cf. above). This needs to be analyzed carefully.
II. Proposed Scope of Working Party on Status and Trends of Fisheries
FAO plays a unique role in the gathering of statistical information about the performance of fisheries and fisheries management, and in summarizing information on the global status and trends of fisheries. But the current statistics collection system is limited to primarily landings statistics, whereas there is a critical need for data relevant to fleet capacity, participation in fisheries, economic performance and distribution. While significant modernization of data management systems has already occurred, there is a need to reconsider the entire fisheries statistics system in light of modern information technology. Another critical element of the research need concerning statistics and status and trends is for the design of quality criteria and quality assurance protocols. Another limitation of current status and trend assessments of FAO is that they depend heavily on knowledge and information accessible to FAO staff, without formal involvement of non-FAO experts.
The proposed scope of the Working Party should include:
III. Scope of Work for the Working Party on New Research Methods
An international whole new menu of methods for gathering data and information pertaining to socio-cultural, techno-economic, ecological and biological issues are currently available and widely utilised in the sectors of agriculture and forestry. These include inter alia rapid rural appraisals, participatory data collection and assessments, compilation of traditional knowledge, inter-disciplinary focused group discussions etc. It may be appropriate to consider these methods as ways by which "people's wisdom", acquired in the process of labour and interaction with nature, can be incorporated into the realms of social, technical and scientific research. Some significant first steps to extend these methods into the realms of fisheries and aquaculture have been undertaken by ICLARM and the Fisheries Department of FAO particularly through some of the FAO executed regional programmes such as the BOBP and IDAF.
There is also a need to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of these methods and also the extent to which, in their present state of development, they can be applied directly to the realm of fisheries. There is also a need to address the issue of the structure of communication to be adopted between "scientist's knowledge" and "people's knowledge". This is an aspect regarding the issue of diffusion of these methods which has not received adequate attention. This might form a point of new departure.
There is a further need to identify fresh dimensions with regard to these research methods that give them new meanings, for example will their use involve:
How can these new methods be integrated with the (traditional) methods of data collection such that both will be mutually beneficial.
What are the mechanisms that can be adopted to train researchers at regional and national levels to adopt these methods.