direction in Asian APFIC member countries
This review by the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) examines the trends in fisheries and aquaculture policy in selected countries in Asia. The analysis is based on national policy documents and relevant literature as well as feedback from fisheries officials/experts in the region. The review assesses the policy status and trends relating to the use of development and/or management targets, natural resource management issues, financial, economic and marketing issues, and socio-economic and poverty issues. Some of the specific policy issues examined to see whether they are included in policy documents were: co-management; exploitation of offshore fisheries by local fleets; marine protected areas; subsidies; increases in value-added and exports; poverty reduction; and the use of alternative livelihoods. Individual country information was analysed to generate a regional synthesis of fisheries and aquaculture policy content and direction in the region, and the key drivers for change. The review highlights the differences in fisheries and aquaculture policy between countries, but also reveals a surprising degree of similarity between main policy directions, the issues included, and the strategies being used to manage the sector. Many countries’ governments have initiated recent policy changes, often as a result of awareness about international views, policy changes/norms in other countries, and emerging ideas about what constitutes ‘best practice’. In some cases donor projects and assistance have also been an important catalyst for policy change. The regional review suggests that much policy in the region is already well specified, and that while countries could certainly improve their policy content, greater challenges may lie in implementing policy than in improving policy itself.