57. Ms Liz Dovey, Bird Conservation and Invasive Species Officer, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Apia, Samoa, made a presentation entitled "Integrating Fisheries into Coastal Management in Pacific Small Island Developing States". The presentation, based on a paper by Ms Mary Power, SPREP's Coastal Management Adviser, noted that the coastal area - the interface between the land and the sea, brought together two very different, complex and yet highly interrelated ecosystems that together produced and maintained the natural resource benefits upon which much of our island communities depended. Unfortunately, these ecosystems were increasingly subject to a range of human activities that posed very significant threats to their long-term sustainability. The marine and coastal environmental issues faced by Pacific Island countries were similar to other parts of the world. The most serious of these issues were the loss of biodiversity, solid and liquid waste management, over-exploitation of living resources and destructive harvesting practices, introduction of alien species and destruction of habitat and coastal degradation due to poor land practices that led to pollution and siltation. Other driving forces throughout the region included high population growth generally but specifically in urban areas due to urban drift, and a shift from subsistence to cash economies.
58. Globally, overfishing has led to dramatic declines in coastal fish stocks. The picture in the Pacific Islands was less obvious but it was clear that there had been little focus on the status and management of inshore fisheries at the national level until quite recently as attention in the fisheries sector had been focused on expanding foreign income earnings from the lucrative oceanic tuna fisheries.
59. Maintaining the integrity of coastal ecosystems and protection of biodiversity in these ecosystems was challenging because of the great range of biological, physical and socio-economic pressures involved, as well as the complexity of sectoral and institutional arrangements. Integrated coastal management or integrated coastal area management (ICM) was a comprehensive, multi-sectoral and integrated approach to the planning and management of coastal areas. Article 10 of the Code concerned the integration of fisheries into coastal management in order to assist in achieving the rational and sustainable use of scarce coastal resources. It addressed the issue of how the fisheries sector could be integrated into ICM planning so that interactions between the fisheries sector and other sectors could be taken into account in the establishment of management policy and practice with regard to the sustainable use of coastal resources.
60. This presentation provided an overview of the broad principles of ICM and article 10 of the Code, reviewed the current status of ICM and coastal fisheries management in the Pacific Islands and explored how coastal fisheries management in the region could be integrated into broader management and planning for the sustainable use of Pacific Island coastal resources, in line with the principles enshrined in article 10 of the Code. A copy of the paper on which the presentation was based is attached as Appendix M.
61. Participants acknowledged the challenges faced in the Pacific Islands with respect to the integration of fisheries into coastal area management and that all of the issues discussed in article 10 of the Code were relevant. Referring to the 2002 FAO survey on the implementation of the Code, the Workshop noted that the focus of responses was on offshore matters and that more attention needed to be directed towards management and the implementation of measures for coastal areas. The Workshop considered the roles that fishery managers and other stakeholders should play in improving ICM.
62. In discussion of institutional frameworks and policy (sub-articles 10.1 and 10.2 of the Code), the Workshop agreed that there was little policy in support of ICM in the Pacific Islands, although US Territories seemed to be better placed with respect to policy development. Some participants drew the Workshop's attention to problems of inter-sectoral conflict, pointing out that such conflict often arose from institutional arrangements and legislative responsibilities. In this regard, it was observed that programmes to implement ICM should recognize and address these inter-sectoral institution and legislative conflicts.
63. It was stated that the feasibility of developing a single body of legislation to deal with ICM for which a single entity would be responsible would be difficult but that a possible strategy would be to develop a process of awareness and coordination amongst all sectors concerned. In the development of policy or legislation, the Workshop agreed that cross-sectoral communication in the form of committees might help avoid conflict and, at the same time, promote awareness.
64. The Workshop further considered the issue of the development of institutional frameworks for the development of ICM, noting that the movement away from centralised management frameworks was an option, particularly as customary custodial management was well established in the Pacific Islands. Some participants further noted that there was a tendency to avoid traditional methods of resource control. It was agreed that the customary management of resources should be recognized and valued and that governments had a responsibility to ensure that local populations did not over-exploit resources or exert pressure on the environment. There was a moral obligation for governments to assist customary resource owners enforce measures they had adopted.
65. The Workshop agreed that sectoral competition was not advantageous and that recognition should be made of the role that NGOs played in contributing to the promotion of ICM. For this reason, increased coordination and cooperation with NGOs should be promoted. Some participants noted the value of cross-sectoral training and opportunities to exchange regional experiences.
66. The Code promoted the need to create public awareness (sub-article 10.2.1) and some participants stated that in certain circumstances, this proved to be a challenge because of the lack of resources. As an example, it was noted that in one country there was little understanding of the value of coastal areas use by major groups. The difficulties of communicating with illiterate populations about the importance and sensitivities of these areas was mentioned. It was pointed out that some grassroot methods existed in the Pacific Islands to overcome these communication problems but that these methods were not widespread.
67. The Workshop raised issues of post-war developments and the restoration and rehabilitation of damaged environments and natural marine barriers. It was stated that it was often difficult to restore coastal environments due to development and that management might best focus on preventive measures and in having good environmental impact assessments undertaken. It was further stated that the issues concerning water quality and waste removal were not new to the region.
68. The Workshop discussed marine protected areas (MPAs). Some participants noted that this concept was relatively new to them. The objective of creating MPAs should take into account the importance of marine resources to the livelihoods of Pacific Islanders. It was pointed out that often cash incentives from external elements disturbed village community efforts to act as responsible resource custodians. It was stated that the purpose of MPAs was not confined exclusively to conservation. Rather, MPAs often had the objective of sustainability and in this sense they were more a system of zoning use. The Workshop agreed that MPAs offer a framework for decision-making by stakeholders and if they were implemented before outside commercial pressures commenced, resource owners would be in better placed to resist commercial propositions that had little regard for sustainable resource use.
69. The Workshop agreed that there were often differences in motivation between policy officers and politicians but that community-based management should be promoted at the political level. The political will to develop policy and legislation for ICM needed to be promoted so that the long-term welfare of both the resources and resource users could be taken into account.