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Following is a summary of each discussion paper presented in plenary. The full papers appear in Part II of this report, and notes prepared by some Workshop participants appear in Part III

2.1 Large volume small pelagics

2.1.1 Large volume small pelagics in the southeast Atlantic

David Boyer presented a discussion paper on large volume small pelagic fisheries of the south-east Atlantic, specifically Angola, Namibia and South Africa. He noted that Namibia’s fisheries management system incorporates many of the accepted best-practices as outlined in the major international fisheries conventions. The South African management system is very similar, while, owing to several decades of civil war, the Angolan system is still in the early stages of development. Despite the similarity in the management systems of South Africa and Namibia, Namibia’s sardine and anchovy stocks are in a severely depleted state, while, in contrast, South Africa’s stocks are fully recovered. Furthermore, in addition to having an acclaimed management system with generally effective control and enforcement, the Namibian bio-ecological system is also seemingly conducive to successful fisheries management. The system contains relatively few species and is clearly defined, with few shared or straddling stocks. The state of the Namibian small pelagic stocks clearly indicates that current fisheries management systems are not effective at managing highly variable and dynamic fish stocks and it is therefore concluded that external effects also play a significant role. Until these are understood, and incorporated into management policies, unsustainable fisheries are likely to recur.

2.1.2 Management of the small pelagic fishery in Chile

Alejandro Zuleta V. presented a discussion paper on the management of the small pelagic fishery in Chile. The fishery was described, and bioecological, economic, social, and institutional factors of unsustainability were examined. The discussion of each factor provided a historical perspective, and then concluded with a description of the positive actions that show that the administration has fully comprehended the aims of management that promote fisheries sustainability. This was followed by a description of the obstacles that must be overcome in order to continue advancing. The main factors associated with unsustainability were identified and a list of the actions was presented that could contribute to improving the sustainability of the small pelagic fisheries in Chile.

2.2 Tuna and tuna-like species

2.2.1 Biological overview of tuna stocks overfishing

Alain Fonteneau presented a discussion paper on the biology of tuna, noting that tuna resources have been classified by scientists and lawyers as highly migratory species. Six tuna species constitute the group of “major tunas” that are heavily fished by various industrialised countries and targeting the two main markets for tunas, namely canneries and sashimi. The major tuna are the two species of bluefin (Thunnus thynnus and Thunnus thynnus maccoyii), yellowfin (Thunnus albacares), skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) and albacore (Thunnus alalunga). World catches of these tunas have been showing a steady increase during the last half century. This positive trend could suggest that tuna stocks worldwide are not yet overfished. The status of the various tuna species and stocks world wide is compared, discussing their present rates of exploitation in relation to their potential overfishing. The serious difficulties faced by scientists world wide to estimate the real status of tuna stocks and their overfishing risks is also discussed. Past and potential problems of by-catches by the various tuna fisheries and the collateral potential effects of tuna fisheries on the pelagic ecosystems are also discussed, knowing that these effects could have serious negative impact on various tuna fisheries.

2.2.2 Tuna management

Judith Swan presented a discussion paper on tuna management. The background of tuna management through regional tuna fishery management organizations (RTFMOs) was reviewed, acknowledging that, due to the highly migratory or mobile nature of tuna, management is best carried out throughout the range of the species, taking into account principles and provisions in recent international instruments. It was noted that while there has been a recent surge in development of national tuna management plans, activity has mainly been centred in the tuna-rich Pacific Island States of the Western and Central Pacific, in preparation for the establishment of the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Commission. General obstacles to management of tuna by RTFMOs were outlined, and issues and priorities for tuna management recently identified by the RTFMOs themselves presented, such as the need for more information and data, problems associated with IUU fishing and tuna trade. Steps being taken by RTFMOs to address specific management issues were described, including measures to implement recent international fishery instruments, develop catch certification and trade schemes and improve cooperation and coordination at regional level. Some paths to solutions were suggested, building on current initiatives and noting that this is a period of consolidation for the implementation of international instruments.

2.3 Large volume demersals

2.3.1 Evaluation of British Columbia rockfish fishery

Jake Rice presented a discussion paper on the multi-species rockfish fishery in British Columbia. This fishery combines many of the greatest challenges of multi-species tropical fisheries with the technology and institutions of developed-world Northern Temperate fisheries and management. An evaluation within the framework set by the Bangkok workshop was presented, together with the history of the fishery and rationale for the conclusions.

2.3.2 Large volume demersal fishery in the North Atlantic

Jean-Jacques Maguire presented a discussion paper on large volume demersal fisheries in the North Atlantic. It was noted that these fisheries have been conducted for centuries in the North Atlantic, and fisheries science and science-based fishery management can be said to have originated in this area for the management of large volume pelagic and demersal fisheries. Yet, despite its long history and the large investments in fishery science and in fishery management, most large volume demersal fisheries in the area have severely overexploited the resources and stocks are seriously depleted. None of the fishery management systems reviewed can be described as achieving sustainability under any of the four components of sustainability. It is hypothesised that an exclusive focus on the bio-ecological component of sustainability may be at least partially responsible for the failure of fishery management in the area.

2.3.3 Gulf of Thailand trawl fisheries

Ratana Chuenpagdee presented a discussion on the Gulf of Thailand trawl fisheries. She noted that the Gulf of Thailand (GoT) has long been overfished - a well-known fact that shapes many of the fisheries policies developed by Thailand’s Department of Fisheries (DoF). In general, Thai Government endorsed numerous international treaties and conventions and regional fisheries agreements. The DoF also developed policies that largely correspond to those that are accepted within the global fishery management community, and which are related to bio-ecological, social, economic and institutional components of sustainability. Except for the banning of trawl within 3 km of shoreline, these measures are far being from effective in protecting and restoring the fisheries resources of the GoT. She concluded that the problems with trawl fisheries in the Gulf of Thailand continue, including excess cumulative fishing capacity, and a declining catch per unit effort, and “trash fish” constituting the bulk of the catches, notably because they are not followed by implementing legislation and enforcement (and the corresponding budget allocations). Moreover, they often exacerbated existing conflicts between large-scale and small-scale fishers. Overall, the difficulties and obstacles for management of the trawl fishery in the GoT are due to inappropriate incentives, absence of policy implementation, poverty in fishing communities, and lack of alternative employments for fishers.

2.4 Coastal fisheries

2.4.1 Coastal fisheries in Italy

Massimo Spagnolo presented a discussion paper analysing, on the basis of coastal fisheries in Italy, management procedures and tools within the four components of sustainability. Difficulties and obstacles in the management of trawler and polyvalent trawler fisheries targeting demersal, crustaceans and molluscs stocks were considered. The four dimensions of sustainability were reviewed as part of the management process and factors affecting the achievement of policy targets are identified. Paths to solutions were addressed with a view to assessing the level of difficulties limiting the achievement of a sound management fishery policy in a context where stocks have been considered in an acceptable shape for a long time.

2.4.2 Coastal fisheries in the Mediterranean region

Alain Bonzon presented a discussion paper addressing Mediterranean fisheries with a focus on institutional issues at the regional level, especially on factors related to limited governance. The role and recent achievements of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) toward promoting the implementation of international instruments were reviewed. Effective coordinating policies and activities of the relevant institutions concerned within the multi-level governance context of the Mediterranean, was particularly emphasised.

2.4.3 West African coastal and small scale demersal fisheries

A discussion paper prepared by Stephen Cunningham, Boubacar Ba and Sidi el Moctar ould Iyaye on West African coastal and small scale demersal fisheries was presented by Guèye Ndiaga. It considers the difficulties and obstacles met in particular by States (rather than regional organizations) in implementing existing fisheries instruments, the way that these difficulties might be overcome, the lessons that have been learnt and the gaps which continue to exist. The paper draws on the experience of Mauritania and Senegal. Given the nature of the terms of reference, the paper focuses extensively on problems. This approach is not intended to be critical of the fisheries policy adopted by the two countries but rather to focus on areas where improvement appears possible. In both cases, fisheries policy has evolved substantially in the appropriate direction in recent years and the hope is that this paper may highlight some areas where it is possible to build on the progress achieved so far.

2.4.4 The case of developing countries

Philippe Cacaud presented a discussion paper on developing countries. It was noted that an increasing number of developing countries have adhered to international fisheries instruments over the past few years. Implementation of these instruments is a formidable challenge for the fisheries authorities of these countries, which in most cases suffers from a lack of human and financial resources. Application of the four components of sustainability shows that developing countries have, so far, been unable to translate fisheries management principles into effective management actions. Lack of good governance in all dimensions of fisheries management was identified as the principal obstacle to achieving sustainability. It was argued that unless this issue is addressed, it would very difficult for developing countries to improve significantly the effectiveness of fisheries management.

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