Up to date information on fishing capacity and IUU fishing is notoriously difficult to access because much of the information is held within country Ministries and is not often published in media that is widely available. The approach that has been used for this synthesis has been to develop a questionnaire that was sent to each of the APFIC member countries prior to the June 2007 workshop requesting current information on issues related to fishing capacity management and IUU fishing, and how the various countries were dealing with these issues. The questionnaire that was distributed was designed to build on information that was already available, particularly that from previous surveys by FAO in 2003 (De Young, 2006) and information collected from selected countries by the University of British Columbia, Canada, in 2006 (Pitcher, Kalikoski and Ganapathiraju, 2006). To ensure this connection with previous work, the questionnaires requested information on specific fisheries for each country, which were the three largest, by quantity, industrial scale fisheries and the three largest artisanal fisheries. These fisheries were, in most cases, the same fisheries for which countries reported to FAO in 2003 and therefore updated information was gathered on what progress had been made in addressing fishing capacity and IUU issues since that time. While recognizing that initiatives in addressing fishing capacity and IUU fishing had been taken in a number of countries for a large number of fisheries, the questionnaire's concentration on the three largest industrial-scale and artisanal fisheries in each country ensured that the overall scale and impact of actions that had been taken by countries to address these issues were fully taken into account.
The questions within the questionnaire were also specifically designed to gather quantitative data on the extent of fisheries overcapacity and IUU fishing in each country with a clear separation between fisheries in which nationals of the country were the main producers and fisheries that were primarily undertaken by foreign vessels. Questionnaires were sent to 15 member countries of APFIC (ten countries submitted responses). Data from the ten responses has, therefore, been used to develop a regional picture of fishing capacity and IUU issues, while recognizing that the picture is incomplete because of the missing (five countries) responses. As such this review can be considered an ongoing review and a contribution to our overall understanding of the IUU and fishing capacity issues in the region.
In addition to some countries not being able to provide information, a further note of caution should be added in using the available questionnaire responses for any definitive inter-country comparisons regarding fishing capacity and IUU fishing issues. Inevitably, questionnaires responses may be compiled by different personnel in different Government agencies, each with their own individual, and sometimes limited, perspective on the issues being addressed. As such the responses may reflect these individual and/or agency perspectives rather than provide a broader view. This is not a criticism of the diligence with which individuals have provided information for this work but rather an observation that inevitably limits the value of questionnaire responses, no matter where or by whom they are collected.
Analysis of the responses to the questionnaire was, however, undertaken so as to address a number of key questions related to fishing capacity and IUU fishing in the region. These questions were:
A. Management fishing capacity
B. Addressing IUU issues