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Discussion Guides




The ocean's bounty has long been recognized as an important source of protein for the livelihoods of millions of people. Its substantial economic and social importance is strategic for the worlds growing population. However, the current deteriorating condition of many of the world's fisheries indicates that those responsible for managing fisheries are failing. The responsibility for the arrest and reverse of this trend needs to be assumed by all those concerned with the fisheries sector. Fishers, fisheries management authorities, scientist and those whose activities impact on environment, must accept shared responsibility for the current status of many fisheries and ensure measures are implemented for long-term sustainable fishing.

Fisheries management is concerned with the management of human activities in the fisheries sector. It requires interface with many technical disciplines ranging from law, fisheries and social sciences through to economics. It requires that fisheries managers and those responsible for implementing management measures have a range of skills and knowledge to effectively conserve and manage fisheries resources. The fisheries manager is often called on to provide sound and professional advice in the face of limited information and political agendas.

There is no universal definition of fisheries management but it is useful to use the working definition found in the technical guidelines developed for the fisheries management section of the Code of Conduct[103]:

"The integrated process of information gathering, analysis, planning, consultation, decision-making, allocation of resources and formulation and implementation, with enforcement as necessary, of regulations or rules which govern fisheries activities in order to ensure the continued productivity of the resources and accomplishment of other fisheries objectives."

The overall objective of fisheries management is long-term sustainable use of fisheries resources according to the Code of Conduct[104]. The objectives of fisheries management can be based on three broad areas:

The major challenge for Pacific Island coastal States is to develop the capacity and implement measures that will ensure long-term sustainable fisheries, particularly at national levels. This is necessary so that fisheries resources will continue to:

At the national levels, Pacific Island coastal States constraints for the implementation of effective management measures within national jurisdictions, and at regional and international levels may include:

Implementing responsible and sustainable fisheries by effective management is a major challenge for small island developing States. Fisheries management principles outlined in the Code of Conduct at Article 7 provides the framework with which, all responsible fisheries managers should be knowledgeable.


Article 7 of the Code is sub-divided into eight areas. These areas are:

Technical Guideline No. 4 provides further discussion on the above eight areas of Article 7 with some reference to Article 12 (Fisheries Research), providing suggestions and guidance on how States may approach the implementation of these articles of the Code.

Technical Guideline No. 4 Supplementary 1 supports the implementation of the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks). It provides technical guidance on the development and implementation of Shark Plans and for the preparation of Shark Assessment Reports.


Based on Article 7 of the Code and Technical Guideline No. 4, the following questions, inter alia, might usefully be addressed:

In the context of sustainable fisheries management in Pacific Islands region, assess the importance of the compatible fisheries management arrangements for highly migratory fish stocks and propose policy issues that might be addressed to implement an effective programme for fisheries management nationally.




The section of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries that deal with Fishing Operations is one of the most wide-ranging of the Articles. It covers the interface of fisheries management and the Fishing Operations. It deals with the conduct of fishing operations within the context of all other operations that are carried out at sea and the human element side of the industry. This gives an interface into the work of IMO and ILO. Fisheries are carried out on the high seas and in the waters under other countries jurisdiction, so in this respect it has to have an international context. This means the issues of registration of vessels and ownership have to be considered. This includes dealing with the sensitive issues of "Flags of Convenience" and "Open Registers".

The structure of the Code is such that it deals with All States, Flag States and Ports States assigning the measures that these states should take in order to control the fishing operations carried out by their vessels. The section dealing specifically with the actual fishing industry deals with the narrower definition of "fishing operations" and the role that the industry has to take. Considering the bad press that the fishing gets from some environmental organizations, a specific section deals with selectivity of fishing gear and how the industry can more selectively catch their target species and avoid the catch of unwanted animals such as turtles, dolphins and birds. There is currently a letter addressed to the publication "Science" that regrets the continuing quotation of 27 million tons of discards by the author of the original report that calculated that figure. The true figure is now believed to be less than 10 million and the reasons for the decline have been given as

a) greater utilization of bycatch species in Asia and elsewhere both for aquaculture and human consumption;

b) adoption of more selective fishing technologies and methods;

c) a decline in the intensity of fishing for some species having high bycatch rates;

d) a variety of management actions which prohibit discarding in some countries, set bycatch quotas, impose time/area closures, establish marine protected areas and no trawl zones; and

e) more progressive attitudes by fishery managers, user groups and society towards the need to solve discarding problems.

Energy is an issue that is usually is not considered in fisheries as the cost is built into the economic costs of fishing. However in many fishing methods the fuel costs are a major component of the costs and if the price of fuel increases above a certain level then the entire fishing operation becomes financially unviable.

In addressing these following problems, there are subsidiary levels to each question:

1. Is the problem correctly defined?
2. Is Government actions justified?
and if so,
3. Is regulation the best form of government action?
4. Is there a legal basis for Regulations?
5. What is the appropriate level of Government to take action?
6. Do the benefits of Regulation justify the costs?
7. Is the distribution of effect across society transparent?
8. Is regulation clear, consistent comprehensible and accessible?
9. Have all the interested parties had the opportunity to present their views?
10. How will the compliance be achieved?

Fishing is one of the most hazardous occupations with the fatality rates exceeding ten times the national average in most countries. This fact tends to place a great emphasis on the Conventions of the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Office as they have the UN mandate for marine safety (including Fishing Vessel Safety and the Conditions of Work and Service respectively). However these organizations tend to concentrate on very large vessels

Are there any means whereby the industry can take the initiative in improving the safety in smaller vessels?

The selectivity devices that have been used to date tend to have concentrated on trawl devices as these tend to account for the greatest amount of discards and number of charismatic species such as turtles.

What are the measures that fishing vessels in the South Pacific take to reduce the amounts of discards and catch of turtles, dolphins and sea birds?

Harbours are considered to be places of great pollution with the discharge of sewage from vessels, Washing down dirty fish markets, etc.

What measures can be taken to reduce such pollution?

Monitoring Control and Surveillance has proved to be a very costly exercise in terms of vessels, aircraft, port inspections etc.

Can you suggest means whereby the industry can contribute to MCS to reduce costs?

Vessel Monitoring Systems has revolutionized MCS in recent years.

Considering that the basic equipment for VMS is merely satellite radio-communications, can you suggest other uses for the VMS equipment on board a fishing vessel?

Fish Aggregation Devices and Artificial Reefs have been suggested as a means whereby fishing operations can be made more effective.

Are there any other advantages or disadvantages to these ancillary fishing structures in the Pacific Islands and is there a need for them to be licensed?

Port State Measures are a new concept in fisheries whereby Port States can assist Flag States to meet their obligations.

How could Pacific Islands assist the DWFNs to meet their obligations under the Code?

The transshipment of fish or fish products at sea should be regulated to ensure compliance with all conservation and management measures.

How can the countries of the region ensure that transshipping operations are monitored?

The Code places emphasis on the issue of an "authorization to fish" and the need that all fishing activities should be monitored.

How can the local fisheries management authorities in the region meet these requirements for domestic vessels?

The concept of rights based fisheries implies that the fishing industry will have to develop the ability to manage certain elements of their own industry.




Aquaculture the cultivation of our aquatic resources is a not a common practice amongst the Pacific region where fishing from the wild is the norm. Culture can be done in either freshwater or seawater systems and within a wide geographical extent from the ocean to mountains.

There may be multiple purposes why aquaculture activities are performed. It may be for financial gain by raising market bound products. For inland communities in particular aquaculture is also becoming recognised as a potential source of food and nutritional for household consumption. And throughout the Pacific there are various unique social rituals where aquaculture produce may contribute to - for example as a gift.

The current status of aquaculture is not fully realised. Gross estimates are that the value of production from the commercial industry may be in the order of USD 130 - 180 million dollars. The main commodities are black pearls, marine prawns, kappaphycus seaweed and ornamental giant clams, which are exported overseas. Meanwhile inland fisheries and freshwater aquaculture of finfish (tilapia, Tor) and shrimp (Macrobrachium spp) is becoming established as an important artisanal product, sometimes consumed by the household and other times sold or used for social occasions.

According to the policy and legislation review of Evans et al, (2003) there are some common elements that need to be addressed in consideration of aquaculture are:

(1) provision of effective means for allocation of space;

(2) provision of statutory rights for sale of aquaculture fish and collection of broodstock and spat;

(3) renewable licensing for environmental effects;

(4) devolution of monitoring and enforcement of controls; and

(5) seafood safety controls.


Article 9 of the Code is sub-divided into four areas. These areas are:

Article 9.1: Responsible development within national jurisdiction: States should take responsibility for ensuring that legislation and policies are in place. Such measures should ensure that aquaculture development does not degrade genetic diversity and cultured species do not negatively effect wild populations. Aquaculture should improve the livelihoods of the local people.

Article 9.2: Responsible development within trans-boundary aquatic ecosystems: In localities where water, bays or land may share an ecological interaction, both neighbouring states should try to harmonise aquaculture developments, particularly where new species are introduced.

Article 9.3: Use of genetic resources: To minimise the impact of aquaculture on the natural ecosystem, states should make sure that negative impacts from the introduction of new species, effects of diseases and mass culture of farmed organisms are minimised. Where appropriate aquaculture should help rehabilitate endangered species in the wild.

Article 9.4: Responsible aquaculture at the production level: Aquaculture should regulate high standards for feeds, pharmaceuticals, chemical inputs, waste disposal and food safety of food products. States should support responsible practices in support of rural communities.


Based on Article 9 of the Code, relevant Technical Guides[105] and lecture notes the following questions inter alia, might be usefully addressed:

In the context of sustainable aquaculture in the Pacific Islands region, assess the importance of responsible aquaculture practices and propose policy issues that might be addressed to implement an effective programme.




The coastal area - the interface between the land and the sea - brings together two very different, complex and yet highly interrelated ecosystems and is an area that is subject to multiple uses. In the pacific Island context, due to the small size of most islands, the concept of coast in fact really describes the entire island environment. The many different types of activities that take place in these coastal areas of our islands are not necessarily mutually compatible, which can result in conflict between coastal resource users. For example, some of the following human and non-human generated activities are likely to occur to a greater or lesser degree and generate impacts on our coasts:

Because of the incompatibility of some of these activities, there is a natural competition among them not only in terms of spatial allocation but also in terms of access to other resources including water, finance and human resources. For example, dredging and deep-water port development will restrict inshore fishing activities. Similarly, tourist development, unless it is based on eco-tourism principles, may adversely affect coastal fisheries and also traditional rights and access..

To minimize space and resource use incompatibility and conflict in the coastal area, careful multi-sector planning, taking a holistic and comprehensive approach is required and taking into account the needs of all stakeholders and in the Pacific in particular taking into consideration the needs and rights of traditional resource owners. This planning will seek to accommodate and harmonize competing coastal activities, based on agreed priorities with the participation of all stakeholders. The ultimate outcome of this planning process would be a comprehensive Ocean and Coast Management Plan but there are interim cost-effective measures that can be undertaken until resources (human and financial) are available for this type of comprehensive planning process.

The overall goal of Integrated Coastal Area Management in the Pacific context is to ensure optimum sustainable use of coastal natural resources, maintenance of high levels of biodiversity, and real conservation of critical habitats, taking into account the economic, subsistence and cultural needs of all stakeholders.

Tangible objectives of coastal management in the Pacific Islands include:

The major challenge for governments and coastal managers is to achieve successful coordination of the various economic (including subsistence) activities in the coastal area that will lead to:

The fisheries sector is often disadvantaged in terms of its representation in the coastal area management planning process because the small-scale fishing communities that characterize the Pacific:

Also, it is not uncommon, despite the importance of inshore fisheries production for food and employment/income for coastal fishing communities, for governments to assign a low priority to the fisheries sector when it is being viewed from a multi-disciplinary perspective and relative to other activities that produce higher returns in terms of pure monetary value.


Article 10 of the Code has four main component areas as describe below:

10.1 Institutional frameworks: The Code stresses the need for appropriate institutional arrangements to: achieve the sustainable and integrated use of resources taking into account the fragility and finite nature of coastal ecosystems; take account of the interests of the fishing sector; adopt fisheries practices that avoid or minimize conflicts with other users in the coastal zone and to put conflict resolution arrangements in place. States are also urged to determine the range of possible uses of coastal resources and to govern access to them taking into consideration the rights of local fishing communities and customary practices.

10.2 Policy measures: States are encouraged to create public awareness about the need for integrated management in the coastal zone taking account of relevant economic, social and cultural factors. Risks and uncertainties should be identified and assessed, monitoring systems adopted, and multidisciplinary research facilitated.

10.3 Regional cooperation: The Code supports regionalization and encourages States to cooperate regionally and sub-regionally in the management of the coastal zone to take into account the transboundary nature of some of the impacts. Information sharing on a timely basis and notification of events is considered a key factor in this cooperative arrangement.

10.4 Implementation: Appropriate national mechanisms should be established to facilitate effective coastal zone planning and that fisheries interests are adequately represented. A key factor is to ensure that national agencies, and the fisheries sector in particular, must have appropriate technical capabilities.

The paper provided by SPREP and the Technical Guideline No. 3 which you have in your folder provide further discussion on the above four areas of Article 10, providing suggestions and guidance on how Pacific Island States may approach the implementation of this Article of the Code.


Based on Article 10 of the Code and Technical Guideline No. 3, and the paper presented by SPREP at this meeting, the following questions might usefully be addressed:



1. Elaborate on examples for specific action required by Pacific Island countries to comply with relevant provisions of Articles 11 of the Code of Conduct. Which of the provisions are particularly relevant and are they met?

2. It would be very useful if this workshop would provide opinions with regard to the need for technical guidelines on Article 11 (Chapter 2 and 3) and if there is one to be developed, what should be the focus (most relevant provisions) and way of presentation.

3. Discuss implications of the linkage between trade and environment in the light of the Pacific Islands reality (e.g. traceability, ecolabelling).

4. Discuss implications of the linkage between trade and food security in the light of the Pacific Islands reality (article 11.2.5 and the human right to food). What could be suitable measures to reach the "best" compromise?

5. Other issues that may be discussed:

[102] Technical Guidelines For Responsible Fisheries 4 Supplement 1 relates to the fisheries management section of the Code of Conduct and deals specifically with the conservation and management of sharks. The details of the fisheries management issues in relation to sharks will not be discussed in any detail in this exercise. However, note should be taken of the fact that widespread concern for the consequences of increased shark fishing was sufficient enough that an International Plan of Action for the Conversation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks) was developed and is supported by the supplementary technical guidelines.
[103] FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. Number 4, part 1.2.
[104] Article 7.2.1.
[105] Guideline No. 5 - Aquaculture Development and supplement guideline No. 5.1 Good Aquaculture Feed Manufacturing Practice; Guideline No. 6 - Inland Fisheries; No. 3 - Integration of Fisheries into Coastal Area Management; and No. 7 - Responsible Fish Utilization.

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