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Effective monitoring, control and surveillance

The purpose of a monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) system is to ensure that fishery policy in general, and the conservation and management arrangements for a specific fishery, are implemented fully and expeditiously. As with all other functions of the management agency, EAF may result in additional and broader tasks for the MCS arm of the agency.

The control and surveillance functions of the agency will depend on both the ecosystem components under consideration and the management measures that are implemented, as is the case under conventional management. EAF will address a wider range of ecosystem components and may also have to use a wider range of management measures. Good observer schemes, whereby trained, independent observers are placed on fishing vessels to monitor and record information on, for example, bycatch and discards will be important. EAF may also require more common application of closed areas, including MPAs, and this will require the development and implementation of appropriate technology (e.g. vessel monitoring systems), provision of patrol and enforcement staff, or enforcement by local communities that benefit from the existence of the MPA. In the latter case, training and some logistic support may still be required.

Management agencies will need to anticipate ongoing and possibly increased MCS costs under EAF. Greater efforts are needed to create a social and political environment and management regime that encourages high levels of compliance and strong self-regulation, rather than relying entirely on top-down enforcement. The transition to such systems is likely to be slow in many fisheries.


Enforcing regulations under an ecosystem approach will often require the implementation of good observer schemes. The photograph shows an observer for the squid bottom-trawling fishery in the Falklands (Malvinas) Islands. His task included measuring length frequency, sex and maturity stage of Patagonian squid to determine whether a new brood had entered the fishery. Such information is used to assist in determining fishery closures. Observers can also be used to provide important information on bycatch, discards and other matters relevant to EAF.

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