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Role-Playing: Making Responsible Decisions about Fisheries


Situation: In a typical fishing village somewhere in the Pacific Islands.

Problem: Two adjacent fishing villages are in a dispute over declining fish catches. Both villages practice customary management of in-shore resources but each village is blaming the other for the declining state of resources.

Measures to address the problem: The village leaders have requested intervention by the Department of Fisheries and both villages have indicated their willingness to abide by a decision reached in consultation with the Chief Fisheries Officer.

Action: The Chief Fisheries Officer visits the villages. He requests each village leader to make a case in respect of his/her village. The Fisheries Officer will then provide recommendations for the solutions of the problem, taking into consideration all relevant information and particularly the need to ensure that resources are utilized in a responsible manner.

Time allocation: 1.5 hours of which:


Situation: Small-scale tuna fishers are opposing a plan by the Government to license 150 small to medium longline vessels from a foreign country. These foreign vessels would not be based at ports in the country and would pay an access fee only to the Government for the right to fish within the country's exclusive economic zone.

Problem: The small-scale tuna fishers' organizations maintain that some of the smaller foreign longline vessels will fish up to the limits of the territorial sea (i.e. within 12 miles from the coast), thereby reducing the availability of tuna to be caught by the local fishers. They are less mobile than their foreign counterparts because their smaller vessels can only fish up to 50 miles from the coast for a maximum of 3 days at sea.

Measures to address the problem: The Minister for Fisheries has requested that representatives from the three small-scale fishing organizations make representation to him concerning the proposed plan to license foreign fishing vessels. The Minister is prepared to recommend to the Government that these foreign vessels not be licensed if a sound and convincing case can be made to him to the contrary by the small-scale fishers' organizations.

Action: Representatives of the three fishers' organizations have been requested to visit the Minister's office to make their cases to him. The Minister will hear the cases assisted by the Chief Fisheries Officer and a representative from the Attorney General's Office.

Time allocation: 1.5 hours of which:

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