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Marine capture fisheries management in the Indian ocean: status and trends

INTRODUCTION

During the first half of the 1990s, in response to the increasing concern about many of the world’s fisheries and following UNCED, a number of international fisheries instruments provided an impetus for countries to strengthen their fisheries management. A key step in supporting such efforts is the development of more detailed, systematic and comparable information on fisheries management trends. the State of World Marine Capture Fisheries Management Questionnaire was developed by FAO in 2004 in response to this need. FAO used this questionnaire to carry out a study on the trends of marine capture fisheries management in 32 Indian Ocean countries.43

METHODOLOGY

Fisheries management experts were requested to complete the detailed questionnaire for 30 countries,44 focusing on direct and indirect legislation affecting fisheries, costs and funding of fisheries management, stakeholder involvement in management, transparency and conflict management, and compliance and enforcement. the information was organized into two major components: national fisheries management in general and the tools and trends in the top three fisheries (by quantity) in each of the three marine capture fishing sectors in the Indian Ocean (large-scale/industrial, small-scale/artisanal/subsistence and recreational). Fisheries analysed within the questionnaire were limited to national fisheries within continental and jurisdictional waters; they excluded high seas fishing and foreign fishing in EEZs under access agreements.

Within the countries surveyed, 55 large-scale, 61 small-scale and 18 recreational fisheries were identified as the top three largest fisheries by quantity in each subsector. As the definitions for each subsector, as well as whether a fishery was defined by gear or by species, were left open to allow for relative definitions within each country, the resulting data are to be used with caution.

On completion of the questionnaire, subregional reviews were drafted based on the individual country reviews. An analysis of the combined questionnaire responses provided a snapshot of fisheries management in the Indian Ocean during the 2003–05 period and partial results are provided below.

OCEAN-WIDE TRENDS

Political and legislative frameworks

All countries within the region had specific legislation for the management of marine capture fisheries and almost all such legislation provided a legal framework for fisheries management, with slightly less providing an administrative framework. However, the term “fisheries management” was defined in only one-quarter of those countries responding, and only 57 percent of the countries had laws and regulations designed to serve as a legal framework for fisheries management and fisheries management plans. In addition, in only a minority of cases did national legislation require that fisheries management decisions be based on at l social impact analyses, economic analyses, or monitoring and enforcement analyses. there was therefore relatively little legal guidance on the processes for taking management measures and, hence, fisheries managers often lacked the interdisciplinary information required to develop proper management measures.

The legislation in most countries identified a single agency or other authority45 as being responsible for marine capture fisheries management at the national level; however, these agencies/authorities legally shared management responsibilities with other agencies and/or were further assisted by government or quasi-government agencies (which, in turn, were supported by universities) in their fisheries research. In many cases, the fisheries agencies/authorities were also supported by at least one other agency (e.g. navy or coast guard) for the monitoring and control of fisheries laws.

The policy framework in place within the region was more often than not development-oriented, despite many fish stocks being considered at least fully exploited.46 When specific fisheries management objectives were provided for in the legislation, the objectives tended to be split into either development-oriented or sustainability-oriented lines. Countries in the red Sea and the Gulf Sea tended to have development-oriented objectives; those countries along the eastern rim of the Indian Ocean tended to specify sustainability criteria within the legislation; while those along the western rim tended not to have specific management objectives within their legislations (South Africa and Madagascar excluded). However, most countries’ fisheries management was affected by at least one other national legislation based on sustainability concepts.

In only approximately half of the countries were a large majority of the marine capture fisheries considered as being “managed in some way”47 and, of those fisheries considered managed, most lacked any formal documented management plans. Nevertheless, the perception within the countries is that the number of fisheries managed in some way has increased over the past ten years.

Status of the fisheries

When matched up with global comparisons of large-scale versus small-scale fisheries,48 the relative sizes between these subsectors in the Indian Ocean remained consistent (table 16). the small-scale fisheries involved over 2.5 times more participants (employed part-time or full-time, or as subsistence fishers) than the large-scale fisheries and total landings from the two subsectors were approximately equal in size.

The number of participants had increased over the previous ten-year period in most fisheries across the three subsectors, yet had decreased in some of the fisheries.

Directional changes over the previous five years in landings from large-scale fisheries varied across the countries: seven countries reported decreased trends in terms of quantity, while 11 countries reported decreased trends in terms of value. It is interesting to note that in some of these countries trends in quantities and values moved in opposite directions over the five-year period. Most countries reported positive trends in both landings quantities and values within the small-scale sector and, when quantities and values went in opposite directions, quantities decreased while values increased. Changes in quality or price variations may explain this phenomenon.

Concerning stock status, an FAO report published in 2005 signalled little room for further expansion in these fisheries,49 in addition to the possibility that some, if not most, stocks might already be overexploited. It should also be noted that, within the subregional reviews included in the 2005 report,50 the review authors had indicated more serious conditions for certain species than were portray statistical area used in the 2005 report. these views stress further the need for precaution within the Indian Ocean, especially when the effects of IUU fishing and discarded bycatch quantities on the stocks are difficult to ascertain and control.

Table 16
Basic data on the largest Indian Ocean fisheries by subsector

 

Fishery subsector

Large-scale

Small-scale Recreational
Number of participants 1 600 000 4 300 000 90 000
total landings (tonnes) 4 000 000 4 200 000 n.a
Number of vessels 73 000 313 000 n.a.
Notes:
Data are for the top three (by quantity) fisheries for each subsector within 30 Indian Ocean countries.
Indonesia and Malaysia include data from both Pacific and Indian Ocean fisheries.
Data for recreational fisheries include only 11 out of 18 fisheries identified owing to lack of available information.
n.a. = not available.

Management tools in use within the largest fisheries

the toolkit of technical measures for fisheries management used in the region included spatial restrictions, temporal restrictions, catch and size restrictions, rights/incentive-adjusting restrictions and gear restrictions (Figure 41). the results of the questionnaire brought to light certain tendencies within the Indian Ocean countries.

Participatory mechanisms and conflict management within the largest fisheries

Although legal or formal definitions of those having an interest in the use and management of fisheries resources were not common in the region, stakeholders had been identified in most fisheries across the three subsectors. In many cases, it was felt that arrangements had been made to consult these stakeholders and to work with them on the management of these fisheries; however, these sentiments were less strong within the small-scale subsector.

If stakeholders were part of the fisheries management decision-making process, the management process had often been accelerated within the large-scale subsector but not necessarily within the small-scale subsector and rarely within the recreational subsector. However, the participatory approach had led to a reduction in conflict within the fisheries and had created incentives and reasons for stakeholders to practise “responsible” fisheries stewardship voluntarily.

Although participatory approaches to management assisted in reducing conflict within and among the fisheries, there remained significant levels of conflict throughout the subsectors. Within the large-scale and small-scale sectors this was often caused by competition among different vessel categories or with other fisheries, while conflict within the recreational subsector tended to arise from competition with all other uses for the same area of water.

Conflict-resolution processes were used within about a third of the fisheries reviewed; such processes included zoning for specific users, stock enhancement, resource allocation between and among the fisheries, and educational methods to sensitize users regarding the multiple-use nature of certain resources. there was little variation among the subsectors except that sensitization methods were more common in the recreational subsector than elsewhere.

THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE 2006

Fleet capacity management within the largest fisheries

Within the Indian Ocean, fleet capacity was measured in the majority of large-scale and recreational fisheries; however, capacity measurement within the small-scale subsector was rarely undertaken. In addition, although there was often a sense that overcapacity existed within almost half of the fisheries, very few capacity-reduction programmes were put into place to adjust for the levels of effort.

When measures were used, the preferred method for reducing capacity levels was the purchase of fishing licences from the fishery, followed by a less-used approach of buying-out fishing vessels licensed to operate in the fisheries. Licence removal was found to be an efficient means for immediately reducing any excess fishing capacity, while vessel buyouts were considered much less effective. In addition, these initial licence removals, when supported by ongoing licence purchases, were deemed effective for ensuring that any excess fishing capacity did not return.

Such capacity-reduction programmes were generally supported through government funds, but several instances occurred in which programmes were paid for by participants within the fishery itself or, occasionally, by participants within other fisheries.

Costs and funding of fisheries management

Budget outlays for fisheries m funding for research and development, monitoring and enforcement, and daily administrative management. Only in approximately 10 percent of the countries were these activities not covered in some way by national government funding. However, national funding sources tended to decrease as management moved towards regional and local levels – contrasting with the increased trends in management costs at these levels, owing in part to decentralization policies throughout the region.

Fisheries management cost-recovery mechanisms, other than licence fees, were uncommon within the large-scale and small-scale fisheries. In cases where revenues were collected from fisheries activities, more often than not these revenues went directly to the central government budget. therefore, the link between benefits and costs of management services could not be made and fisheries authorities continued to base their management activities on governmental appropriations. Interestingly, the use of licence fees and other resource rent-recovery schemes were common within the small number of recreational fisheries, perhaps reflecting differing views as to whether access to a resource is assumed to be a right or a privilege.

Compliance and enforcement

In most cases, the above-mentioned increases in management costs were associated with increased monitoring and enforcement activities, but were also a result of increased conflict management and stakeholder consultations. Linked to increased monitoring and enforcement is the perception that, over the past ten years, the numbers of infractions had increased in many countries.

Compliance and enforcement tools within the region focused on inspections, whether on-land or at-sea. the use of additional tools, such as onboard observers or VMS, was less widespread within the region.

When faced with infractions, most countries relied on small fines or the revocation of fishing licences as deterrents; however, the perception within the vast majority of countries within the region was that the funding provided was not sufficient to enforce all fisheries regulations, the penalties for non-compliance were not severe or high enough to act as deterrents, and the risk of detection was too low to promote adherence to fisheries regulations.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

The challenges regarding fisheries exploitation and management in the Indian Ocean countries are not dissimilar to those in other regions.

Actions to address these issues may include:

The countries of the Indian Ocean will need to continue in their development of sustainable fisheries-management frameworks, addressing both international norms and agreements as well as adapting to each country’s specific situation and needs. Although there is no panacea for managing all fisheries, countries could benefit from the experiences of other countries in the same region as well as elsewhere, and from existing literature in the search for creative and cost-effective methods for managing fisheries.

In addition, regardless of the management framework chosen, if there is a lack of political will to implement the relevant laws, regulations and management measures, even perfectly designed frameworks will remain on the bookshelves.

Finally, a better understanding of the effects of implemented management measures on the fisheries (e.g. economic efficiency, social justice and stock health) would greatly assist in the adaptive improvement of fisheries management.

Refuelling the fishing fleet

THE ISSUE

The price of diesel rose by 100 percent in the two-year period January 2004 to December 2005 (Figure 42). this severely affected the profitability of the catching sector of the fishing industry, mainly by cutting the profit margins of fishing vessels, and almost certainly resulted in many fishing vessels making a financial loss in 2005.

The fish-catching sector is entirely dependent on fossil fuel for its operations and currently has no alternative form of energy. Fishers and other entrepreneurs in the sector are locked into a situation in which they are the unfortunate victims of international circumstances. Although the present situation forces them to focus on the short-term problems, they must address those linked to the availability of petroleum in the medium-to-long term. As petroleum is a non-renewable resource, eventually supplies will decline and become more expensive in real terms. this sombre prospect is combined with a growing pressure to use less petroleum because of the greenhouse effect caused by carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels. thus, there is a pressing need to identify alternative sources of energy for the specific needs of the fishing industry.

It should be noted that fuel prices in the fishing industry worldwide are far more homogenous than for road transport because fuel for industrial use, including farming and fishing, is taxed at a lower rate. On the other hand, fuel for road transport varies widely in price because of the wide range of taxation rates levied. Some Southeast Asian countries have policies that subsidize fuel for fishing.

FAO estimates that in 2005 the fish-catching sector consumed 14 million tonnes of fuel at a cost equivalent to US$22 billion, or about 25 percent of the total revenue of the sector projected to the equivalent of US$85 billion.51 More efficiency is being sought within the fishing industry, inter alia, by using specialized fish transport and supply vessels, permitting fishing vessels to spend more time fishing and less time steaming to and from the fishing grounds. However, these and other operational fuel-mitigation measures taken by fishers (e.g. trawlers converted to pair trawling, which is a far more effective use of energy) are estimated to reduce consumption by no more than 20 percent and are unlikely to counteract the increase in fuel costs completely. Fish prices will probably take some time to adjust upwards, so, as long as the price of diesel fuel remains at 60 cents/litre, the sector will continue to experience financial difficulties.

THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE 2006

Over the past decade, FAO has carried out a series of international studies of profitability in the fish-catching sector.52 In all, 88 fisheries were sampled between 1995 and 1997, 108 fisheries in 1999–2000 and 75 fisheries in 2002–03. these studies revealed that vessels from developing countries were spending relatively far more on fuel than were vessels from developed countries. Fuel costs expressed as a percentage of the revenue from landed catch were almost twice as high in the former group of countries, as can be seen in table 17. the table also shows a general rise during the period 1995–2003, from 14.85 percent to 18.53 percent, for the average cost of fuel worldwide measured as a share of revenue from fish landed. Estimated annual fuel costs at the 2005 average price level (all other costs and revenues assumed to remain unchanged) are also indicated.

The FAO studies also analysed the fuel consumption for different categories of fishing gear. the differences between active and passive fishing gears were not as pronounced as might have been expected (table 18).

Several conclusions can be drawn from table 18.

Table 17
Fuel costs as a percentage of the revenue from fish landed, developing and developed countries

 

Fuel costs as a percentage of revenue

1995–1997 1999–2000

2002–2003

20051

Developing countries 18.52 20.65 21.63 43.26
Developed countries 11.08 9.78 10.20 20.40
Global average 14.85 16.70 18.53 37.06
1Estimated.        

Table 18
Fuel costs as a percentage of the revenue landed by type of fishing gear, developing and developed countries

 

Fuel costs as a percentage of revenue

1995–1997

1999–2000

2002–2003

20051

Developing countries        
Active demersal

17.19

30.28 26.15 52.30
Active pelagic 17.33 17.60 16.99 33.98
Passive gear 18.78 17.06 19.33 38.66
Developed countries        
Active demersal 10.57 8.64 14.37 28.74
Active pelagic n.a. 7.65 5.48 10.96
Passive gear 5.57 4.95 4.91 9.22
Note: n.a. = not available.
1
Estimated.

SIMULATION OF ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE

As stated above, FAO has analysed the economic performance of fishing fleets worldwide. Of the 88 fisheries sampled in 1995–97, no fishery negative gross cash flow and only 15 had a negative net cash flow when depreciation and interest payments were taken into account.54 the detailed data on expenditures and revenues available from the 1995–97 study can be used to simulate the effect of doubling the 1995–97 fuel prices. Such a simulation results in 55 fisheries suffering a negative net cash flow.

Given the large and rapid increases in the price of fuel and the potential for a fishing industry to collapse in the short term because of these changes, some governments might wish to protect the fishing industry from such violent changes. One possibility would be to adjust the price of fuel so that in any given year it would increase by no more than a specified percentage – say 10 percent above the consumer price index. this would allow the industry to adapt to the new circumstances and eventually readjust to the real price of fuel.

IMPACT ON THE PUBLIC SECTOR

Increases in fuel prices will affect fisheries not only through their impact on fishers and other entrepreneurs in the sector, but also through their impact on the public sector. As most of the public sector is allocated a set budget for running costs, higher fuel costs can result in reduced availability of fuel, inter alia, for patrol duties or for scientific research. More cost-effective methods will have to be sought for monitoring fishing fleets. VMS are likely to become more common and manned sea or air-borne patrols may be replaced by the use of unmanned aircraft.

LONG-TERM FUEL PROSPECTS (BEYOND PETROLEUM)

The large increase in the price of fuel and doubts about future supplies require that these issues are taken into account in any discussion on fuel in the fishing industry. Figure 43 shows the increase in demand/supply of oil from 1973 to 2004 and the sectors to which the oil was supplied. It is clear that transport is the largest user of oil and that its share of the total oil supplied is increasing and is expected to increase further. On the other hand, the 14 million tonnes of fuel used by the global fishing industry accounts for less than 0.5 percent of global oil consumption. It follows that both the price and demand for oil are going to be determined by other consumers of oil, especially the transport sector.

The current fuel crisis is one of many that have occurred since that triggered by the Suez crisis in 1956. the main causes have not been the global lack of petroleum, but the uncertainty of the supply from the oil-producing countries to the oil-consuming countries. the hurricanes that affected the oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 are only one of the elements that have pushed the price of petroleum to the very high levels currently prevailing. For many, the reason that the current price levels are so high is that petroleum supply is so tightly bound to demand that any disruption causes a price hike. However, it is paradoxical that the entities that have been responsible for the supply of petroleum (i.e. the major oil companies and governments) are currently benefiting from the increased prices while the consumers, including fishers, have to pay a higher price for petrol and diesel. Petroleum has the most volatile price of all the commodities.

THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE 2006

Another issue that might eventually have more serious implications for the fishing industry than the current price increases is the long-term sustainability of petroleum production. the issue is controversial and experts can be divided into the “petro-pessimists”, who predict the occurrence of oil “peaking” in the near future, and the “petro-optimists”, who maintain that this scenario is still some time in the future. But all are agreed that fossil fuels will be depleted by the end of the twenty-first century (see Figure 44).

Some, perhaps the most enlightened, analysts point out that it is not the time at which oil peak is the important factor, but the actions that are taken by governments and energy companies prior to that event. It should be noted that many such actions are already being undertaken by governments and that alternative fuels are currently being sought for transport uses. these actions include the increased recovery of oil from existing wells, the conversion of gas and coal to liquid fuels and the exploitation of heavy oils and tar sands. More efficient vehicles are being developed and ethanol is being produced as an alternative renewable fuel in agriculture (Figure 45). these developments are also being actively promoted in the interests of combating the effects of global warming. Already, motor vehicles are being powered by hydrogen in Iceland and California, the United States of America, and plans are in hand in Iceland to extend the use of this energy source to power fishing vessels. the disadvantage of this solution is that hydrogen, ethanol and methanol require far more storage space than the equivalent energy content of petroleum (i.e. energy density). However, extensive research is being carried out to develop more efficient hydrogen cells. the replacement of petroleum by such hydrogen cells will also depend on the relative costs of the two energy sources.

THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE 2006

The solution for alternative energies for road transport might not necessarily be the most appropriate solution for the fishing industry. the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has regulations in force governing pollution caused by burning fossil fuels (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships [MARPOL]) and safety (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea [SOLAS]) that relate to the flash point55 of fuel on board ships. these safety requirements are repeated in the IMO torremolinos Convention on Fishing Vessel Safety, which has not yet entered into force. Specifically, the use of fuel with a flash point below 60 ºC is prohibited. Although these regulations might not be strictly applied to fishing vessels it would be foolhardy not to take such considerations into account in an industry that has an extremely high fatality rate. this would mean that pure methanol or ethanol would not meet the requirements for fuel as they have flash point of 10ºC and 12ºC, respectively. However, this does not rule out the use of methanol and ethanol to form biodiesel.56 this would also have the advantage that the energy density would be similar to that of conventional diesel, requiring little or no modification to the engines. Any substantial change in energy density would have a critical impact on fishing vessel design in a manner reminiscent of the change from steam power to internal combustion engines in the 1940s.

The rate at which alternative fuels are introduced will be totally dependent on the current and future price of petroleum. Sustained higher prices will accelerate the development of research on alternative fuels and their production. Increased uncertainty with regard to international politics or increased terrorism will increase the need for fuel security and will have a similar effect.

THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE 2006

CONCLUSIONS

The predictions of Sheik Yamani, the ex-chairman of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), when he stated “the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil”,57 might well be true.

Causes of detentions and rejections in international fish trade58

INTRODUCTION

Fish and fishery products are one of the major traded food commodities and this trade is likely to increase in the future to meet the ever-increasing demand for fish and seafood. However, thousands of tonnes of imported fish and seafood products are detained, rejected or destroyed each year at the national borders of many importing regions in the wo that can be prevented, at least in part, providing more value for fishing efforts, making more fish and seafood available for human consumption and contributing to reduce pressure on fish stocks.

One of the most serious difficulties for exporters is that they face standards and regimes of safety and quality requirements that vary from one important target market to another. these differences concern regulations, standards and control procedures, including controls at the border where seafood products can be rejected, destroyed or put in detention awaiting permission to enter or destruction. In order to promote harmonization and equivalence among seafood-trading nations, these differences need to be reduced and ultimately removed and replaced by agreed international control systems and standards based on objective criteria and scientific techniques such as risk assessment.

It is important, however, to realize that, beyond sheer numbers, the type of border case (safety, quality or economic fraud) and its direct macro- and microeconomic impacts are different and this needs to be taken into account when comparing the different cases and strategies to reduce them.

RELATIVE FREQUENCY OF BORDER CASES BY IMPORTING REGION

The term “border case” is used to cover any situation where a fish product is detained, rejected, destroyed, returned to sender or otherwise removed, even if only temporarily, from the trade flow.

Figure 46 shows a quite dramatic difference in the absolute numbers of border cases in the various importing countries/regions when shown relative to import quantities.

At first glance, the United States of America has around ten times as many border cases per 100 000 tonnes as the EU or Japan, and three to four times as many as Canada. this should not be taken to indicate necessarily that the United States of America has a higher performance in border controls or that products exported to that country have more non-conformity problems. In fact, the data need to be adjusted and substantiated to enable comparisons of performance to be made among the regions studied. three main reasons contribute to the number of border cases in the United States of America being overstated.

First, a high percentage of United States cases end up with the product actually entering the country after re-examination, sorting, re-packing, provision of new documentation and information or new labelling. During 1999-2001, 78 percent of detained shipments were eventually released for import into the United States of America.59 therefore, in this regional comparison only around 22 percent of the United States cases can be considered as “bona fide” border cases. taking this into account, the United States of America had only around twice as many border cases than did the EU and Japan and only 60-80 percent of those reported by Canada (see Figure 46, United States adjusted data).

Second, the other countries/regions, especially the EU, use some sort of “prevention at source” approach. Indeed, the EU relies on national competent authorities in exporting countries to examine establishments and products to assess their conformity to EU requirements prior to shipment. By so doing, the authorities detect and stop several non-conformity cases in the exporting countries. this approach has proved to be more preventative and cost-effective than relying solely on controls at the border. However, it can also penalize well-managed seafood companies in countries that may not have the resources or the capacity to put together a competent authority that meets the EU requirements and cannot export to the EU as a result.

Canada, and to some extent Japan, have adopted a less formalized “prevention at source” approach but appear to be less active in promoting it than the EU. Canada has also concluded “Ag Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand – whereas Japanese importing companies have a long tradition of fielding quality controllers to work at the exporting sites. In both cases, some non-conformity cases are eliminated before consignments are shipped.

THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE 2006

In an increasing number of countries, including the United States of America,60 experts advise administrations to adopt a “prevention at source” approach because of its higher performance and cost-effectiveness. This approach can only lead to a win–win situation for both the exporter and the importer: fewer safety and quality problems are experienced by the importer and the inherent costs and damages of border cases are reduced for the exporters. At the same time, administrations can make important savings as resources needed for control at borders are reduced significantly and can be used more effectively to target problem cases, increasing administrative efficiency. Moreover, a reduction in losses arising from rejections and detentions should eventually result in greater supply of safe fish and fewer illnesses attributable to unsafe foods. However, when introducing the “prevention at source” approach it is important to ensure that exporting developing countries are assisted in their efforts to build the national capacity needed to ensure safety and quality of exported fish products.

A third difference is the types and methods of control and standards applied at the border by the importer. In the importing countries studied, not only are border checks different, but the analytical techniques used, and the criteria or standards applied to judge conformity or non-conformity, vary from one country to another. Most importantly, these criteria and standards are not always based on fully fledged scientific risk assessments. This can not only create arbitrary barriers to trade, but it is also costly as it may cause safe products to be refused in some regions while unsafe products may be distributed in others. Consequently, there is a need to harmonize the procedures and the standards, at least as a first step, among these majors markets, using risk-assessment methodologies where applicable.

CATEGORIES OF BORDER CASES: PATTERNS AND TRENDS

The breakdown of border cases into three main categories – microbial, chemical and other causes  for the 43 countries and the EU/regions covered in this publication is summarized in Figure 47. The differences in the profile of each of these major importers are quite obvious, with both the EU and Japanese border cases being predominately microbial or chemical in origin, while these causes only account for a quarter to a third of border cases in the United States of America and Canada. Given the well publicized increase in 2001–02 of chemical (veterinary drug residues) contamination of fish products originating in Asia (especially for shrimps), it is interesting to note that this becomes evident in the EU data, where chemical contamination becomes a dominant category while, for other major importers, a similar trend is not noticeable. As these other regions also were importing large quantities of shrimp from Asia during this period, they were clearly handling the imported products differently, or recording the related data differently.

However, the obvious differences highlighted again point to the significant variations in approaches to controls at the borders of the countries being studied. For an exporter, it would be helpful if these procedures were harmonized, so that if they export a product, it should be treated the same way at the borders of all importing countries. The multitude of approaches to border control impose extra costs on traders. These differences in approach may be significant, but the economic effects are difficult to quantify owing to the lack of releva most importantly about the quantities and value of rejected products and the costs of controls.

PERFORMANCE OF EXPORTERS, GROUPED BY CONTINENTS, IN MAJOR MARKETS

Again, the available data permit only a crude analysis here, but the results do provide a useful reference for discussion. The only two importing regions with full data over the four-year period 1999-2002, allowing for comparison of the performance of exporting continents, are the EU and Canada. The Japanese data allow this comparison for the two periods 2000-01 and 2001-02 (Table 19).

THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE 2006

Table 19
Performance of continents in exporting to the European Union, Canada and Japan 

 

1999

2000

2001

2002

Border
cases/
100 000
tonnes

Rank

Border
cases/
100 000
tonnes

Rank

Border
cases/
100 000
tonnes

Rank

Border
cases/
100 000
tonnes

Rank

To EU                
Oceania -

1

-

1

5.9

5

-

1

North America

-

1

1.0

3

1.1

2

0.7

2

Europe (not EU)

0.1

3

0.3

2

0.3

1

1.0

3

Central and

1.8

4

4.8

4

2.8

3

5.9

4

South America

               

Africa

7.0

5

5.7

5

4.4

4

6.2

5

Asia

12.9

 

13.9

6

16.4

6

51.5

6

To Canada

               

United States of America

1.0

1

0.5

1

2.6

1

1.3

1

Central and South America

31.6

2

19.1

3

25.6

3

25.2

2

Europe (not EU)

32.0

3

18.3

2

9.1

2

29.1

3

Asia

67.5

4

44.6

32.6

4

56.8

4

Oceania

113.8

5

177.7

5

136.0

5

144.2

5

EU

199.4

6

178.9

6

198.3

6

245.4

6

Africa

277.4

7

1 029.9

7

1 436.8

7

1 069.9

7

To Japan

               
Europe         0.3 2 0.3 1
North America         0.5 3 0.5 2
Africa         0.0

1

1.1 3

Central and South America

        0.8

4

1.5 4

Oceania

        3.9

5

5.7 5

Asia1

        6.6

6

12.5 6

1 2001 detention figures used are derived from an average 12-month period from April 2000 to October 2001; 2002 figures are from November 2001 to October 2002. 

Looking at the data from the perspective of the importing market, significant variations can be seen in the relative performance of the exporters in the six continents, dependent on whether fish is being sent to the EU, Canada or Japan. This fact alone is worthy of comment. There are two main reasons why this might occur. First, the importing regions - the EU, Canada and Japan - apply different criteria for border actions (whether sampling frequencies, limits for contamination levels or other procedures); and, second, the six exporting continents send different volumes and products (either different risk categories or of varying quality) to the export markets.

If the latter is the case, and given that the products exported to the EU and Canada are fairly similar (frozen fish dominates, with significant numbers of Crustacea, cephalopods, molluscs, etc.), it would seem that individual exporters recognize the differences and target their products to suit the market criteria. This certainly does happen, but it is probably more likely that importing regions treat the imports (as a whole) in different ways resulting in different border actions. In the case of the Japanese market, the high number of border cases reported for products imported from Asia may reflect the fact that neighbouring countries also have access to high-risk products that are similar, if not identical, to those produced by Japanese fisheries. And it is these products that account for the high number of border cases. However, this is only conjecture given the nature of the data available.

A comparison of the incidence of border cases by each exporting continent is interesting. Specifically, Oceania ranks highest when exporting to the EU, but ranks very poorly when exporting to Canada and Japan. Africa is the poorest performer in terms of exports to Canada and second poorest in exports to the EU. However, the continent performs quite well in exports to Japan. the poorest performer by some margin in exporting to the EU is Asia; this performance level has been exacerbated in recent years by the veterinary drug residue issue ment the poorest performer in terms of exports to Japan. However, it outperforms both Oceania and the EU in exporting to Canada, although it still performs only moderately. Central and South America performs very well in terms of exports to Canada but less well when exporting to the EU and Japan. North America is consistently a top-performing exporter.

It is not easy to determine the significance of this variation or what has caused it. It was noted above that there seemed to be a tendency for those exporting the smallest absolute quantities to have more border cases per unit volume – and this certainly applies in the case of exports to Canada. However, this does not apply to the EU, as Oceania is the smallest exporter but is one of the top performers with the lowest frequency of border cases. Neither does this pattern apply to Japan, as Asia is the largest exporter, but is a poor performer.

Additional research aiming to establish in more detail why these differences occur may give misleading results, mainly because of the overriding influence of two factors: the importing nations use different procedures (sampling plans, analytical techniques, type of defect) and/or the criteria regarding imports and the products exported differ among importing regions. Again, for the benefits of international trade, and ultimately the consumer, it is desirable that the importing rules are harmonized both in terms of the governing legislation and its implementation to enable proper evaluation of performance.

ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF BORDER CASES

While international efforts are focusing on harmonization, several development agencies and donors have been exploring ways and means, both financial and technical, to assist developing exporting countries in building national and regional capacity to meet international safety and quality standards. Proper assessment of the extent of assistance needed is key in decision-making about such assistance. therefore, costing the impact of substandard quality and safety products would be of interest not only to producers, processors, quality control authorities and consumers, but also to governments, donors, public health authorities and development agencies. In addition to the large economic losses incurred because of fish spoilage, product rejections, detention and recalls – and the resulting adverse publicity to an industry and even to a country – there are costs related to human health. Fish-borne illnesses cost billions of dollars in medical care and the loss of productivity of those infected causes large indirect costs to the community.

Furthermore, risk managers, who will be weighing different mitigation options, need economic data to assess the cost-effectiveness of the different options presented to them. Unfortunately, the detention/rejections data, as they are generally collected, cannot be exploited to assess the cost of border cases. It is important to have access to such information in future for the reasons mentioned above.

Table 20 represents an attempt to estimate the cost of border cases in Japan using data available from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW).61 Unfortunately, similar data were not available for the other importing countries. the table estimates the total volume of Japan border cases at 255.2 tonnes and 490.6 tonnes, respectively, for 2001 and 2002. these represent a small fraction (0.0083 percent and 0.016 percent, respectively) of total imports to Japan in those years. They were valued at US$1 159 870 and US$2 230 465 (or 0.009 percent and 0.017 percent of total import values), respectively, for 2001 and 2002. For the period 2001-02, the average revenue lost was estimated at US$4 546 per tonne detained and US$10 000 per border case.

Table 20
Estimated quantity and value of border cases for Japan

Product type

 

 

Import

Border cases

Quantity

Value

Unit cost

Number

Quantity

Value


(Tonnes)


(US$ million)


(US$/tonne)


(Tonnes)

(US$)

2001

           

Fresh fish

375 000

1 849

4 931

16

35.2

173 571

Frozen

2 344 000

8 647

3 689

84

184.8

681 727

Canned

281 000

1 786

6 356

4

8.8

55 933

Cured

34 000

320

9 412

11

24.2

227 770

Live

37 000

351

9 486

1

2.2

20 869

Total 2001

3 071 000

12953

 

116

255.2

1 159 870

           
2002            

Fresh fish

329 000

1 603

4 872

15

33

160 776

Frozen

2 362 000

8 730

3 696

174

382.8

1 414 829

Canned

353 000

2 033

5 759

4

8.8

50 679

Cured

36 000

329

9 139

28

61.6

562 962

Live

38 000

356

9 368

2

4.4

41 219

Total 2002

3 118 000

13 051

 

223

490.6

2 230 465

The revenues lost to exporting companies when consignments are rejected are, as a rule, much greater than the costs of prevention needed to enable the companies concerned to avoid these border cases. This affirmation has been confirmed by several studies, compiled and reported by FAO,62 which estimated the costs of implementing good management practice and HACCP. In the United States of America, 1995 cost estimates for HACCP implementation for seafood-processing plants averaged US$23 000 in the first year and US$13 000 per year in subsequent years. In parallel, prices for seafood were also estimated to increase by less than 1 percent in the first year and less that 0.5 percent in subsequent years, with the larger cost increase expected to reduce consumption by less than 0.5 percent.

Other studies carried out in the United States of America estimated the costs of implementing the HACCP-based Model Seafood Surveillance Program (MSSP) in the United States crab industry at US$3 100 per plant or US$0.04 per kg, representing 0.33 percent of the processor price. Compliance costs were estimated at US$6 100 per plant. Investment costs averaged US$3 200 for large plants and US$1 700 for small plants. In all, the added cost per kg of product for compliance was US$0.02 for small plants and insignificant for large plants. For molluscan shellfish (oysters, mussels, clams), these costs were estimated at US$5 500 per plant. Annualized compliance costs per kg were estimated at US$0.11 for small plants and US$0.01 for larger plants.

In Bangladesh upgrading the plant and implementing HACCP for the shrimp industry were estimated to cost between US$0.26 and US$ maintenance. Those were higher than the corresponding estimates for the United States of America, mainly because the Bangladesh shrimp industry had to start from scratch and also had more small- and medium-sized enterprises. It is well established that in the fish-processing industry economy of scale lowers the costs of safety and quality systems in large enterprises. Nevertheless, even though these costs were high, they represent only 0.31 percent (implementation) and 0.85 percent (maintenance) of the 1997 prices.63

More importantly, the cost of installing and operating HACCP systems remains very low in comparison with the revenue lost by exporters in border cases, currently estimated to be US$4.55 per kg on average. Indeed, the per kg costs of implementing and maintaining HACCP or HACCP-based systems would represent between 1.46 percent and 3.4 percent (United States of America) or 6.45 percent to 17.6 percent (Bangladesh) of the revenue lost in border cases. Furthermore, these revenue losses should be considered only as the visible part of the iceberg. the cost of transportation, the resulting adverse publicity, the requirements for systematic physical checks of subsequent shipments, the loss of client confidence and ensuing market shares, market diversions, loss of momentum, decreased prices, reduced capacity owing to temporary or permanent closures, are certainly additional costs with far-reaching impacts, but unfortunately difficult to quantify.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The study details the regulations governing imports into the EU, Canada, Japan and the United States of America and presents and discusses the data available about the border cases (detentions, rejections, re-exports, etc.) in the same countries/region.

Key issues arising from the study include a need to harmonize the procedures and methods used to govern imports, to base the actions taken on risk assessment where consumer safety is in question and, importantly, to communicate the actions taken to all interested parties in a manner that is unambiguous, transparent and easily obtained and analysed. the study makes recommendations about the actions governments and industry can and should take to facilitate trade in fish and fish products by improving border control systems, border control data collection and dissemination, improving export performance and development assistance. It suggests further work that needs to be undertaken in this important, but little-studied, aspect of international trade.


NOTES

  1. This article is a summary of FAO. 2006. Review of the state of world marine capture fisheries management: Indian Ocean. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 488. Rome. Similar reviews covering the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are planned.
  2. Questionnaires were received from Australia (west coast), Bahrain, Bangladesh, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt (Red Sea coast), Eritrea, India (east coast), India (west coast), Indonesia (Pacific and Indian coasts). Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia (Pacific and Indian coasts), Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (east coast), Sri Lanka, the Sudan, Thailand (Indian Ocean coast). United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Questionnaires were not received for the Seychelles, Somalia and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  3. Occasionally as a stand-alone authority or fisheries ministry but more often in the form of a fisheries department within an agriculture/livestock or environment ministry or a combined agriculture/fisheries ministry.
  4. FAO. 2005. Review of the state of world marine fishery resources. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 457. Rome.
  5. Based on the questionnaire results, the concept of "managed" was mostly inferred to mean (i) published regulations or rules for specific fisheries: (ii) legislation concerning individual fisheries, and (iii) interventions/actions to support specific management objectives.
  6. See, for example, D. Thompson. 1980. Conflict within the fishing industry. ICLARM Newsletter, 3(3): 3-4; F. Berkes, R. Mahon, P. McConney, R.C. Pollnac and R.S. Pomeroy. 2001. Managing small-scale fisheries: alternative directions and methods. Ottawa, Internat Development Research Centre.
  7. FAO, 2005, op. cit., see note 46.
  8. Subregional reviews covering the eastern, western and southwestern Indian Ocean. Australia was left as a stand-alone review.
  9. FAO. 2007 (forthcoming). A study into the effect of energy costs in fisheries, by A. Smith. FAO Fisheries Circular No. 1022. Rome.
  10. FAO. 1999. Economic viability of marine fisheries. Findings of a global study and an interregional workshop, by J.-M. Le Rey, J. Prado and U. Tietze. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 377. Rome; FAO. 2001. Techno-economic performance of marine capture fisheries, edited by U. Tietze, J. Prado, J.-M. Le Rey and R. Lasch. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 421. Rome; FAO. 2005. Economic performance and fishing efficiency of marine capture fisheries, by U. Tietze, W. Thiele, R. Lasch, ?. Thomsen and D. Rihan. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 482. Rome.
  11. Energy intensity, measured in terms of the amount of energy required to produce a unit of GDP, increases during the first stage of industrialization in developing countries before decreasing as observed in maturing economies. OECD countries have a GDP of US$5 277 per tonne of oil equivalent (Toe), whereas non-OECD countries have an average of US$1 272 per Toe. Source: International Energy Agency Web site (http://www.iea.org/).
  12. Op. cit., see note 51.
  13. Flash point is the lowest temperature at which a liquid can form an ignitable mixture in air near the surface of the liquid. The lower the flash point, the easier it is to ignite the material.
  14. The flash point of biodiesel is 150°C; however, it does become highly viscous and could freeze at low temperatures. This can be avoided by mixing biodiesel with conventional diesel.
  15. Anon. 2003. The end of the oil age. The Economist, 23 October, p. 12. 
  16. This article summarizes FAO. 2005. Causes of detentions and rejections in international fish trade, by L. Ababouch, G. Gandini and J. Ryder. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 473. Rome.
  17. J. Allshouse, J.C. Buzby, D. Harvey and D. Zorn. 2003. International trade and seafood safety. In J.C. Buzby, ed. International trade and food safety: economic theory and case studies. Agricultural Economic Report No. 828, pp. 109-124 (available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aer828/aer828.pdf).
  18. National Academy of Sciences. 2003. Scientific criteria to ensure safe food. Washington, DC, The National Academies Press (available at http:/www.nap.edn/ openbook/030908928X/html./R3.html).
  19. MHLW Web site (available at http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english).
  20. FAO. 1998. Seafood safety. Economics of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) programmes, by J. C. Cato. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 381. Rome.
  21. J.C. Cato and C.A. Lima dos Santos. 1998. European Union 1997 seafood-safety ban: the economic impact on Bangladesh shrimp processing. Marine Resource Economics, 13(3): 215-227.

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