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3.1 Introduction

Case studies, prepared according to an analytical framework based on the report of the Bangkok Workshop and an examination of international instruments, were presented in plenary. The framework identified the aims of fishery management under the bio-ecological, economic, social and institutional components of sustainabilty as they appeared in the fisheries instruments. The case studies covered the following fisheries:

Four working groups were formed to identify issues and obstacles, lessons to be learned, and paths to solutions for each specific fishery. The issues and obstacles could be grouped into the six factors of unsustainability identified at the Bangkok Workshop. These were:

The fisheries-specific conclusions of the Workshop, based on the reports of the working groups, appear in section 3 below (“Fishery-Specific Conclusions of the Workshop”). The full report of each working group is in Annex 5.

3.2 General conclusions

The Workshop noted the following common conclusions that emerged from plenary discussion and the working groups’ reports, and identified these as significant to addressing unsustainability for all fisheries.

Each working group considered that the relative importance of the various factors of unsustainability varied according to the type of fishery under consideration. Further, the working groups considered that the linkages and interactions between the factors of unsustainability were highly complex and had not been fully addressed. It is often the failure to take into account the interactions between the factors that have impaired past management attempts.

3.3 Fishery-specific conclusions of the Workshop

3.3.1 Large Volume Small Pelagics

Large volume small pelagic species are characterized by large natural variations in abundance, both at the annual (through variations in recruitment levels) and decadal scales (through regime shifts). This requires an adaptable management strategy that deals with the risk and uncertainty inherent in these fisheries. The industry, in terms of fishing and processing capacity, and labour, should also be sufficiently malleable and versatile to deal with large variations in catches.

Small pelagic species are often key-stone species affecting the sustainability of other fisheries and the ecosystem in general. It is therefore especially important in this sector that ecosystem functioning is understood and that ecosystem considerations are taken into account in management.

Governance issues are similar to those in other types of fisheries, in particular limited legitimacy and a lack of capacity. The application of incentives (especially exclusive rights), provision of sufficient resources (both financial and human), development of assessment tools and reference points, and the implementation of management strategies are important, and these must be appropriate to cope with the large changes in abundance that occur in these stocks. In addition, large volume small pelagic stocks are often migratory, and hence are shared stocks, both internationally and nationally. They usually occur close to the shore and are harvested by fleets of different scales. Relevant research is needed and management arrangements need to be implemented to prevent conflict between countries and sectors, and to ensure sustainability.

3.3.2 Tunas and tuna-like species

Tuna fisheries exploit the highly migratory species listed in the 1982 UN Convention that occur both on the high seas and in areas under national jurisdiction and therefore, require international management. Tuna represent a high proportion of the value of the world fish catch. Tropical tunas typically have a short life history and high reproductive potential, and, with the exception of the bigeye tuna the stocks are considered to be resilient to overexploitation. Temperate tunas typically have a long life and reproduce at an advanced age, in well defined breeding areas, and are highly vulnerable to overexploitation. The high market demand and high price for bluefin tunas cause a dangerous increase in the fishing effort.

All oceans will shortly be covered by regional tuna fisheries management organizations (RTFMOs), some of which have been in existence for half a century. These bodies are supported by well organised data collection and science mechanisms and have the power to adopt decisions binding on their members. Their assessment of stocks is nevertheless still facing major scientific uncertainties and there remain problems with data reliability for some fisheries. Moreover, while the focus of these bodies is on resource management, their mandate most often does not enable them to address economic, social or ecological issues. Further, not all tuna fishing entities are members of the relevant RFTMO.

Nevertheless, the group identified a wide range of factors of unsustainability, the most important of which related to weaknesses in governance at both regional and national levels, arising notably from: lack of political will or capacity of contracting parties; non-cooperation of important fishing States and fishing entities; and high impact of IUU fishing. Serious difficulties were also identified with respect to the allocation of catches and quotas, including on the high seas. Interactions between different fisheries (purse seiners vs. longliners; purse seiners vs. small scale fisheries) were also identified as a factor of unsustainability, as was the complexity of the tuna fisheries and the related eco-system. The Group observed that tuna fisheries were characterized by a high potential fleet mobility between oceans, which requires the regional organizations to coordinate their efforts and activities to work towards harmonised fisheries management measures. The implementation of the FAO Compliance Agreement, in particular the listing of high seas fishing vessels, was also considered important in this regard. Finally, the high price of some products, inappropriate incentives and poverty were thought to constitute significant factors of unsustainability.

3.3.3 Large Volume Demersals

Large volume demersal fisheries are generally characterised by industrialised fishing fleets targeting a relatively small number of species in a large but delimited area, for commercial marketing. However, there is still substantial diversity within this class of fisheries. This diversity means that neither problems nor paths to solutions would be considered to apply universally across them all.

Some of these fisheries have substantial organization and supporting science and management infrastructure which should facilitate achieving sustainability. Nonetheless, failures of fisheries management in such fisheries have been common. The biology and status of resources and the control of harvest rates have been the primary focus of research and management efforts. Nonetheless, failures to achieve sustainability are as great as or greater on this dimension than on any of the others. To achieve sustainability of these fisheries requires a blend of a conservation perspective and the social and economic perspective of those directly associated with the fisheries. Either alone will not succeed.

Inappropriate incentives and lack of good governance are by far the predominant issues in this fishery, both links to the absence of secure rights. There are many types of rights, and a great need exists for more economic and social science research on the fishery and fishers, rather than just the fish, in order to understand what form of rights is appropriate in any particular case. Resource users are a very good source for ideas on how to solve their own problems, and many management structures do not make enough use of bottom up strategic planning and institutional participatory management processes. However, when there are serious conflicts among sectors, these must be resolved before rights and responsibilities can be fully assigned, and top-down intervention may have a crucial role in this case.

3.3.4 Coastal Fisheries

Coastal fisheries include subsistence, large - scale and small - scale commercial and recreational fisheries. These fisheries can harvest a large number of species using a variety of fishing gears or they can target one or a few species with a single gear. These fisheries are typically characterised by complexity in one or several of their characteristics and spatial structure is generally important. The obstacles and paths to solutions vary according to the type of coastal fisheries.

Lack of good governance is an important factor of unsustainability for coastal fisheries. Measures to address this issue will vary with the specific case, but are likely to include at least some of: establishing community-based management, providing adequate and appropriate access rights to legitimate[4] fishers, fishing communities, or organizations, strengthening and coordinating various levels of organizations and institutions, and promoting education and awareness on basic fisheries management, leadership, compliance, and law enforcement. Many of these measures will also address issues related to inappropriate incentives.

Most existing resource assessment and fishery management tools are not appropriate to address the spatial scale, diversity, and complexity of coastal fisheries. Some coastal fisheries appear to have been managed at least as successfully as simpler large-volume, more industrial fisheries where successful fishery management was considered more likely. However, many coastal fisheries remain a major fishery management challenge because of their linkages to other coastal activities, other fisheries and ecological systems (open systems), and their spatial structure. These characteristics may cause considerable difficulties in all aspects of management, including monitoring and assessment of the resources and of the fisheries, the development of effective harvesting strategies, as well as in enforcement, control and surveillance. There is a need for innovative research and approaches to management exploring different tools and strategies integrating scientific and traditional knowledge.

Integrated approaches to policy, planning and resource management need to be considered as important tools for fisheries management itself, and to facilitate interactions between fisheries and other sectors in the coastal areas. In this context, fishery management should be seen as an adaptive process that needs to be iteratively fine-tuned.

[3] The working definition being used within FAO for fisheries governance is: "A continuing process through which governments, institutions and stakeholders of the fishery sector - administrators, politicians, fishers and those in affiliated sectors - elaborate, adopt and implement appropriate policies, plans and management strategies to ensure resources are utilized in a sustainable and responsible manner. It could be at global, regional, sub-regional, national or local levels. In the process, conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and cooperative action may be taken”. Workshop participants considered civil society to be included among the stakeholders of the fishery sector, in addition to the above listing. The reference to “lack of governance” by the Bangkok Workshop was amended by this Workshop to “lack of good governance”.
[4] The definition of a legitimate fisher will vary from one fishery to the other. A legitimate fisher is one that is recognized and managed as such by the management system.

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