3. Fisheries capacity management in APFIC countries

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3. Fisheries capacity management in APFIC countries

3.1 Have countries of the region identified fishing capacity issues that require management?

Of the ten responses received, nine countries reported that they had identified fishing capacity issues that required management (Table 1)1. All of the identified capacity issues related to overcapacity in some form or other in specific fisheries (see Box 2 for further information on optimal fishing capacity) and were usually a legacy of open-access arrangements.

Table 1: The current situation in the region in recognizing and taking action on fishing capacity issues

Capacity issues identified?

NPOA on fishing capacity developed? Date? If No, are there plans to develop an NPOA within the next 5 years?

Steps already taken to reduce fishing capacity?

Percentage of fisheries where capacity has been assessed
(a) large-scale industrial
(b) artisanalmarine
(c) inland

Australia

Y

Y – 2001

Y

(a) 75-100 percent
(b) 75-100 percent
(c) n/a

Bangladesh

Y

Y – 2006

Y

(a) 75-100 percent
(b) 25-50 percent
(c) 0-25 percent

Cambodia

Y

Y – 2005/08

N

(a) 0-25 percent
(b) 50-75 percent
(c) 50-75 percent

Indonesia

Y

Y – 2006

Y

No data

Malaysia

Y

Y – to be completed in 2007

Y

No data

Pakistan

Y

N – plan to develop NPOA within 5 years

Y

(a) 50-75 percent
(b) 50-75 percent
(c) 50-75 percent

Philippines

Y

N – plan to develop NPOA within 5 years

Y (moratorium on the issue of new licenses – reduction by attrition)

(a) 50-75 percent
(b) 25-50 percent
(c) 25-50 percent

Sri Lanka

N

N – no plans to develop an NPOA within the next 5 years

N

(d) n/a
(e) 50-75 percent
(f) 25-50 percent

Thailand

Y

Y – ongoing

Y, industrial and artisanal fisheries but not inland

(a) 50-75 percent
(b) 25-50 percent
(c) 0-25 percent

Viet Nam

Y

N – plan to develop NPOA within 5 years

N

(a) n/a
(b) 50-75 percent
(c) 0-25 percent

In three industrial-scale fisheries, the identified capacity issues were related to changes in the efficiency of industrial vessels over time, combined with interactions with small-scale fisheries who shared the same stock, rather than significant changes in the number of vessels.

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1 In addition, China has reported (this workshop) that it has identified fishing capacity issues and is managing them.

Box 2: What is 'Optimal Fishing Capacity'?

  1. The 'optimal fishing capacity' depends on the management objectives. These can be:
    • Biological/ecological, such as maximum sustainable yield
    • Social such as providing a social safety net or maximizing employment
    • Economic such as maximum profits, perhaps from non-consumptive uses such as Ecotourism.
  2. However, these three objectives are not independent. For example, economic objectives (such as improving profitability) can significantly impact on social objectives (such as poverty alleviation) and vice versa.
  3. In practice, 'optimal fishing capacity' will be that capacity that takes into account all of these objectives. There is therefore no "ideal" capacity that can be applied to all situations – each fishery should define its own objectives and the appropriate fishing capacity to achieve those objectives.
  4. Biological objectives are critical since the resource on which the fishery is based is the foundation for other objectives. These biological objectives should be orientated towards ensuring a sustainable fish resource in the longer term. To ensure such sustainability, the biological objectives may need to include ecosystem management issues to ensure that the marine ecosystem upon which the fish resource depends is also protected.
  5. Economic objectives are important if the exploitation of the fish resource is to be done in a way that generates profits and economic rent. In unmanaged, open-access fisheries, economic rent is usually near zero and profits from fishing minimal. In such fisheries, particularly if they are small scale, this low profitability can often contribute significantly to poverty.
  6. The management of fishing capacity also needs to take into account social issues, both in terms of specific social objectives (such as employment or poverty alleviation) and also the social impacts and appropriateness of implementing management changes.
  7. In Asia, defining the objectives of management and of optimal fishing capacity is vital, given the general state of fisheries of being overexploited and with low profitability.
  8. The scale of the problem is also significant in Asia. Nearly 88 percent of an estimated 41 m people (or 36.28 m) working full-time or otherwise as fishers in the world are in Asia (FAO 2007). Most of these are employed in small-scale or artisanal fishing.
  9. Therefore, solutions to defining management objectives (including optimal fishing capacity) and implementing actions to achieve those objectives should consider the social context in which they are operating. For example, it may not be appropriate to implement management arrangements that stress individual rights and do not fit the collective and cultural ethos of Asian countries.

Source: Adapted from "Scientific evidence – status of resources and optimal capacity" by Derek Staples and presentation "Social implications of capacity reduction" presentation by Chandrika Sharma at the APFIC Regional consultative workshop on Managing Fishing Capacity and IUU Fishing, Phuket, June 2007.

In essence, therefore, the fishing capacity issues that countries have identified relate to the significant problems associated with moving from essentially open-access fisheries (which have been the most common form of fisheries in the region) to some type of limited or restricted entry. However, the first pre-requisites for effective limitation of entry and control of fishing capacity of (1) a method, such as a vessel registration and licensing system or vessel census data, for measuring fishing capacity in all fisheries with associated enforcement and (2) reliable catch and fishing effort information, have often not been met in many countries, particularly for small scale fisheries (see Table 3).

Unless these pre-requisites are addressed, initiatives to address fishing capacity issues may not be successful. Only five countries of eight who reported (63 percent) stated that more than 90 percent of industrial vessels were actually registered while only two countries of nine (22 percent) reported that more than 90 percent of small-scale, artisanal vessels were registered2. Vessel registration systems in the region therefore appear generally ineffective and therefore may not be useful tool for the essential measurement of fishing capacity. To implement and measure the impact of any capacity limitation initiative under these circumstances will be extremely difficult, unless either the vessel registration systems are made more robust or alternative measures of fishing capacity (e.g. a regular census of vessels) are adopted. It is likely that the most appropriate tool for measurement of fishing capacity in the region will be different for large-scale, industrial vessels (where vessels registration systems are already reasonably well developed) than for small-scale fisheries where other methods such as vessel census may be more appropriate.

One approach to managing capacity reported by some countries was the imposition of a ban on the issue of new vessel licenses and to reliance on attrition to reduce the numbers of vessels in a fishery. However, unless this is accompanied, at least, by a robust vessel registration process and good control and surveillance (both of which are often lacking), such an approach is unlikely to be effective in reducing fishing capacity, since the most likely result would simply be an increase in the number of unregistered vessels.

Conclusion:The vast majority of countries of the region have now recognized fishing capacity as an issue that requires management and that there is a need to move from open access fisheries to some type of restricted or controlled entry. However, the essential pre-requisites for restricting or controlling entry (particularly in small-scale, artisanal fisheries) of enforceable vessel and fisher registration systems and fishing effort data collection systems are not yet in place in many countries and therefore it is likely that initiatives to address fishing capacity issues will not be successful. Moreover, the common absence of these registration and data collection systems may also mean that measuring the effectiveness (if any) of capacity-reduction initiatives will be extremely difficult.

3.2 To what extent have national plans of action to address fishing capacity issues been developed?

Of the ten responses received, six countries have already developed NPOAs to address fishing capacity with a further three countries planning to develop these within the next five years (Table 1). Several of these NPOAs have been developed within the last few years (Table 2). Unfortunately, copies have not been provided to FAO, and casts some doubt on the accuracy of reporting on this item. It suggests that the questionnaire approach and differences in interpretation of what constitutes an NPOA may over state the extent to which NPOAs have actually been developed. An example of this is a country response to a questionnaire in 2003 that an NPOA had been developed, but a more recent response indicating that it now has no NPOA and has no plans to develop one.

Table 2 provides information, based on responses from the questionnaires, as to how activity in the development of NPOAs on fishing capacity has changed since 2002. In the current survey, 66 percent of countries stated that they had already developed an NPOA on fishing capacity, with a further 25 percent stating they were planning to develop one within the next five years. This is a marked improvement over the situation in 2002 where only 40 percent of countries stated that they would meet a 2005 deadline for having an NPOA on fishing capacity in place. Table 2 also

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2 The measurement of fishing capacity in small-scale fisheries is a particular problem in Asia, given the large number of vessels and their wide distribution. The methods used to measure fishing capacity in such fisheries (for example, by regular census methods) may be quite different from that used to measure fishing capacity in industrial fisheries, such as robust and enforceable vessel licensing and registration systems.

Table 2: Reported progress in developing National Plans of Actions on fishing capacity and reducing fishing capacity

NPOA on fishing capacity?

Three largest industrial fisheries – steps taken to reduce fishing capacity?

Three largest artisanal fisheries – steps taken to reduce fishing capacity?

2003

40 percent of countries

31 percent of fisheries

16 percent of fisheries

2007

66 percent of countries have developed NPOAs. A further 25 percent have plans to develop NPOA within 5 years

36 percent of fisheries

33 percent of fisheries

demonstrates that practical implementation of capacity reduction measures has been undertaken in 33 percent of small-scale fisheries (see Box 3 for a summary of small-scale fishers views on fishing capacity and IUU issues), compared with only 16 percent in 2002, although the proportion of large industrial fisheries that have been the subject of capacity reduction initiatives has remained about the same. In addition to the progress on NPOAs reported, China has also developed a NPOA on reducing fishing capacity through vessel buy-back schemes (Pitcher, Kalikoski and Ganapathiraju, 2006).

Conclusion: Significant progress has been made in the region since 2003 in developing national approaches to the management of fishing capacity. This has included actual implementation of capacity reduction programmes, particularly in small-scale fisheries. The effectiveness of these capacity reduction programmes will be further examined below. However, in some countries there remains the question of what has actually been done in support of implementation of the NPOA and whether such NPOAs are seen as just paper documents or are used to guide and initiate concrete actions to address fishing capacity.

3.3 For what proportion of fisheries (industrial, marine artisanal and inland) has fishing capacity been assessed?

Of ten countries that responded, eight were able to give estimates of the proportion of their fisheries that had been the subject of capacity assessment. The results are shown in Table 1 and Figure 1. From these limited figures, it appears that attention has generally been paid to the assessment of fishing capacity in industrial fisheries (where they exist) with capacity having been assessed in an average of 62.5 percent of major industrial fisheries in the respondent's countries. Although progress has generally been made since 2002 (see above), artisanal fisheries have received the most attention in recent years (see below), although capacity has still been assessed in only 54.7 percent of major artisanal fisheries. Inland fisheries have not received very much attention at all with fishing capacity having been assessed in only 33.1 percent of major inland fisheries. In 2002, countries3 reported that they had a process for measuring fishing capacity in 71 percent of their three largest industrial fisheries although fishing capacity was measured in only 33 percent of the three largest small-scale artisanal fisheries. While there was no data collected for inland fisheries during the 2002 survey, capacity measurement may be difficult in many inland fisheries of the region4.

Conclusion: The assessment of fishing capacity appears to have been given some attention since 2003 with most countries reporting that fishing capacity has been assessed in the majority of industrial fisheries and about half of small-scale, artisanal fisheries. However, little attention has

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3 A larger sample of countries, consisting of all APFIC members.

4 Also, there are relatively few examples of industrial inland fisheries so that most inland fisheries in the region are artisanal in nature which, generally, have not been addressed so far as capacity measurement is concerned.

 

Box 3: What the fishers are saying about fishing capacity and IUU fishing in Southeast Asia

  1. The fisheries of Southeast Asia are characterized by:

    • Complex coastal development and management
    • Conflicts among various aquatic resource users
    • A wide range of projects/initiatives and cooperation on fisheries at various levels
    • Well recognized signs and different extent of overfishing, declined fishery resources, overcapacity, destructive fishing, IUU fishing
  2. According to a study by SEAFDEC (this workshop), the fishers opinions are that:
    • There is unfair competition between large-scale and small-scale fishers
    • Fisheries conflict is a symptom but not a root cause of poor management – overcapacity & IUU fishing has resulted from ineffective management framework
    • Laws, regulations and rules are complicated and their enforcement is poor
    • There is a lack of an access regulatory system to provide certainty of access
    • Institutional arrangement are poor – there are too many agencies chasing fishers
    • There is a lack of clear management policies and frameworks that are clear, coherent, are updated regularly and have continuity.
  3. As a result, there has been:
    • A "Back Fire" of management as a result of shifting problems from long-term objectives to achieving short-term gains
    • Offshore fisheries development
    • A failure to identify acceptable alternative livelihoods for displaced fishers who are willing to leave a fishery
    • An undermining of social structures by management attempts although the community role and involvement is usually well recognized
    • Some good individual initiatives but there is a lack of continuity and scaling up
  4. The key regional directions that are therefore required are:
    • "Indicators" – a better tool for understanding of and communication about the status and trends of tropical fisheries
    • Co-management and rights-based fisheries (introduction of group-user rights and improvement of licensing systems)
    • "Freezing" and control number of fishing vessels
    • Strengthening existing regional collaborative framework to support national management, perhaps by the establishment of a Regional Scientific Advisory Committee for Fisheries Management in Southeast Asia.
    • Such a body could coordinate data and information, undertake and commission regional strategic research and package recommendations in the form of policy brief and guidelines
  5. The role of SEAFDEC and APFIC would need to be defined in contributing to these initiatives.

Source:Adapted from "Managing fishing capacity and IUU fishing in Asia" presentation by Suriyan Vichithekarn at the APFIC Regional consultative workshop on Managing Fishing Capacity and IUU Fishing, Phuket, June 2007.


Figure 1: The percentage of the three largest industrial, small-scale and inland fisheries in each country where fishing capacity has been reported to have been assessed

been paid to the assessment of fishing capacity in inland fisheries. Therefore, the situation withregard measuring fishing capacity in industrial fisheries does not seem to have changed significantly since 2002, although there seems to have been in increase in the number of small-scale fisheries where fishing capacity is being measured5. The proportion of small-scale fisheries for which fishing capacity has been assessed is, however, still only about 50 percent, compared with about 62 percent for industrial fisheries but only 33 percent for inland fisheries.

3.4 What are the legislative and institutional barriers to addressing fishing capacity in the region?

A review of fisheries legislation in the region in 2006 (Morgan, 2006) showed that 56 percent of countries of the region did not have the legislative ability within their national fisheries laws to limit the number of licenses issued to fishers and/or vessels. However, of the ten countries that responded to the current questionnaire, only two responded that they did not have such legislative powers for both industrial and small-scale, artisanal fisheries (Table 3a and 3b). This discrepancy may be due to the extent of administrative powers within national legislation6. The ability to limit licenses is critical to addressing capacity issues and countries that do not have these powers should be encouraged to review their relevant legislation.

Management plans, which often have a formal legal status7, (see below), are becoming increasingly common in most countries. Of the ten respondents, eight reported that they had developed management plans for their major industrial fisheries (Table 3a). However, management plans are much less common for small-scale fisheries (Table 3b) with only four countries reporting that they have these in place for their largest small-scale, artisanal fisheries. This contrasts with responses in 2003, when only two countries reported that they had developed management plans for any fishery. It is, however, important that management plans for any fishery in the region are actually used to guide implementation of management measures and are widely disseminated. In this regard, it is encouraging that, of the fisheries that were reported as having management plans, 86 percent of these management plans were reported as having a formal legal status although in 35 percent of

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5 Although this is based on a limited sample of countries.

6 China and India also reported at the workshop that they have the power, at either national or state (provincial) level to limit licence numbers and have used these powers in capacity management programmes.

7 Since some countries are still using fisheries legislation which dates back more than thirty years, revising and reforming the legislation is an essential accompanying activity to introduction of management measures.

 

Table 3: A summary of tools available to address fishing capacity issues

(a) In the three largest industrial fisheries:

National or foreign vessels?

Vessels registered?

Fishermen registered?

Fishing gear licensed?

Catch and effort statistics collected?

Management plans in place?

Laws allow license limitation?

Australia

100 percent national

>90 percent registered

>90 percent registered

Y

Y

Y

Y
Bangladesh

(1) 70–90 percent national
(2) 100 percent national

>90 percent registered

>90 percent registered

(1) N
(2) Y

Y

Y

Y for both fishers and boats

Cambodia

100 percent national

(1) 30–50 percent registered (2) 50–70 percent registered (inland)

(1) 30–50 percent registered
(2) 50–70 percent registered (inland)

30–50 percent licensed

Y

Y

Y for both fishers and boats

Indonesia

(1) 100 percent national
(2) 100 percent national
(3) >90 percent national

>90 percent registered

>90 percent registered

>90 percent licensed

Y

(1) Y
(2) being drafted
(3) in draft

Y for both fishers and boats

Malaysia

100 percent national

>90 percent registered

70–90 percent registered

>90 percent licensed

Y

N

Y for both fishers and boats

Pakistan

(1) 100 percent national
(2) >90 percent national
(3) 100 percent national

>90 percent registered

Not fisheries specific

N

Y

N

N for both fishers and boats

Philippines

(1) 100 percent national
(2) 100 percent national
(3) 100 percent national

70–90 percent registered

70–90 percent registered but not fisheries specific

70–90 percent licensed

(1) Y
(2) N
(3) Y

(1) N
(2) Y
(3) Y

Y for both fishers and boats

Thailand

100 percent national

70–90 percent registered

Not fisheries specific

(1) 70–90 percent licensed
(2) >90 percent licensed

Y

Y

N for fishers, Y for boats


(b) In the three largest artisanal fisheries:

National orforeign vessels?

Vesselsregistered?

Fishermenregistered?

Fishing gearlicensed?

Catch and effortstatistics collected?

Management plansin place?

Laws allow license limitation?

Bangladesh

100 percent

national

10–30 percent

registered

Not fisheries

specific

N

N

N

Y for both fishers and boats

Cambodia

100 percent

national

30–50 percent

registered

30–50 percent

registered

30–50 percent

registered

Y

Y

Y for both fishers and boats

Indonesia

100 percent

national

>90 percent

registered

Y

Y

Y for both fishers and boats

Malaysia

100 percent

national

70–90 percent

registered

70–90 percent

registered

70–90 percent

licensed

Y

N

Y for both fishers and boats

Pakistan

100 percent

national

>90 percent

registered

Not fisheries

specific

N

N

N

N for both fishers and boats

Philippines

100 percent national

50–70 percent registered

Not fisheries specific

(1) 30–50 percent licensed
(2) &
(3) not fisheries specific

Y

(1) Y
(2) N
(3) Y

Y for both fishers and boats

Sri Lanka

100 percent

national

70–90 percent

registered

Y

70–90 percent

licensed

N

N

Y for both fishers and boats

Thailand

100 percent national

(1) 70–90 percent registered (2) N (inland)

Not fisheries specific

(1) 70–90 percent licensed
(2) 50–70 percent licensed (inland)

Y

Y

N for both fishers and boats

Viet Nam

100 percent

national

50–70 percent

registered

30–50 percent

registered

50–70 percent

licensed

Y

N

Y for both fishers and boats

fisheries with management plans, there were no actual published regulations8. This would therefore suggest, at least in some instances, that management plans are being seen as policy statements of intent rather than management tools.

A further trend in the region seems to be the move towards clarification of national policy on fisheries management generally and limitation of fishing capacity in particular. Although implementation of such management policy is often carried out at regional or provincial level, there has been reported an improved coordination between national policy-setting agencies and local implementation agencies. Such trends enable greater consistency in the application of fisheries policy. Most countries (78 percent) reported that they had formal coordination mechanisms in place between national and regional authorities to implement fisheries regulations and provide monitoring, control and surveillance activities.

Conclusion: Most countries have reported or demonstrated that they have the legislative powers to limit fishing capacity. Management Plans for specific fisheries (which should provide guidance on capacity issues) are becoming more common in the region for industrial fisheries although they are still not commonly used for small-scale, artisanal fisheries. Appropriate legislative powers and supporting Management Plans for specific fisheries are critical in addressing fishing capacity and providing a strategic context for long-term management. Therefore, those countries that do not have the legislative powers or specific fisheries Management Plans should be encouraged to review their legislation and to develop Management Plans.

3.5 Do countries of the region have the necessary tools in place to assess and manage fishing capacity and are those tools appropriate to the region?

To develop appropriate policy and to implement, where necessary, capacity management or capacity reduction programmes, there is a range of tools that are necessary. For policy formulation and implementation on fishing capacity within any fishery, these tools are essentially (a) robust data on current production and capacity measurement within the fishery (b) clear capacity targets and an understanding, usually from research programmes, of the biological, economic and social impacts of those targets (c) a data collection system that allows the collection of relevant data on the fishery so that the progress and impact of capacity changes can be measured and monitored over time (d) an effective monitoring, control and surveillance capability to ensure the policy rules are followed and (e) political and administrative support to carry the implementation through to completion.

Ten respondents to date have provided information on to what extent these policy tools are available within the region and Table 3 provides a summary of this information.

As noted above, there has been significant progress in the development of management plans for industrial and artisanal fisheries of the region, although there remains a question of whether such plans are actually being used in all countries as a management tool to guide long-term strategic directions for fisheries management. In two countries, capacity management was legislatively extremely difficult because national legislation did not allow the limitation of fishing licenses.

Although some type of vessel and fisher registration system is reported to be in place and fishing effort statistics were being collected for most of these major fisheries, the accuracy of some of these statistics must be questioned because a number of countries reported that up to 80 percent of vessels and the fishers that were fishing were unregistered. The ineffectiveness of licensing systems (and data collection on landings and fishing capacity) was most acute in small-scale fisheries, which are the fisheries where most capacity reduction programmes have been implemented in recent years

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8 Although in one instance, it was reported that regulations were in the process of being developed, based on the Management Plan.

(see below). Boxes 4 and 5 provide an assessment of the policy tools that have been shown to work in addressing fishing capacity and those that do not.

Conclusion: While there has been progress in the region since 2002 in developing appropriate policy instruments (mainly fisheries-specific Management Plans) for long-term strategic management of fishing capacity, there appears to be a major issue within the region of a lack of appropriate tools for policy implementation. The tools that are lacking include methods, such as regular census or

Box 4: Capacity management tools – what does work

Tools that do work

Immediate Effect(s)

Longer-term Effect(s)

Individual effort quotas (IEQs) denominated in trawl time, gear use, time away from port, fishing days, etc.
  • enforcement difficult
  • additional regulations required to control input substitution
  • capital stuffing – where a vessel’s horsepower, length, breadth, and tonnage are increased – frequently occurs
  • requires regulations to ensure traceability and to control transshipment
  • create motives for IUU fishing
  • capacity will increase
Group fishing rights Community Development Quotas (CDQs)
  • reallocation of the fishery to the recipient community
  • requires group understanding of asset value of user rights, capability to manage
  • reduction of overcapacity or capacity containment depends on subsequent management
Territorial Use Rights (TURFs) Management and Exploitation Areas for Benthic Resources (MEABRs) Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPPs) Designated Access Privilege Programs (DAPPs)
  • reallocation of the fishery to the recipient community
  • requires group understanding of asset value of user rights, capability to manage
  • reduction of overcapacity or containment of capacity linked to subsequent management
Individual fishing rights (IFQs) Individual transferable quotas (ITQs)
  • market forces drive out overcapacity
  • consolidation occurs if overcapitalized
  • capacity managed automatically, overcapacity does not occur/recur
  • compliance concerns internalized by fishers to protect asset (rally against IUU fishing) supplementary regulations helpful to reinforce conservation
Taxes and royalties
  • market forces drive out overcapacity
  • consolidation if overcapitalized
  • administratively intensive: require constant adjustment of tax levels to maintain capacity at desired level
  • politically difficult to impose, easier to rescind

Source:Adapted from "Management tools _ what does not work and what does" presentation by Rebecca Metzner at the APFIC Regional consultative workshop on Managing Fishing Capacity and IUU Fishing, Phuket, June 2007.

registration and licensing systems, to effectively measure fishing capacity as well as policy tools that have been shown to be effective in reducing or managing fishing capacity. Without these tools, capacity measurement, management and reduction initiatives will be difficult. Data collection systems to measure catch and fishing effort are reported to be widespread among the largest industrial and artisanal fisheries although, given the commonly reported ineffectiveness of vessel

Box 5: Capacity management tools – what does not work
Tools that do not work Immediate effects Long-term effects
Gear & vessel restrictions Initial reduction in harvests
  • Substitution of unregulated inputs or new gear types to replace restricted inputs
  • regulations lose effectiveness and additional regulations required
  • create motives for IUU fishing
  • capacity will increase
Limited entry programs Limits participation
  • capital stuffing – where a vessel’s horsepower, length, breadth, and tonnage are increased – typically occurs
  • drives changes (technological innovations) in gear, in fishing periods or areas
  • create motives for IUU fishing
  • capacity will increase
Aggregate quotas total allowable catches (TACs) Likely to accelerate, not reduce, the growth of fishing capacity
  • capacity and effort increase if effort and entry unrestricted
  • race for fish ("fishing derby") develops
  • potential for frequent overruns of the TAC resulting in overexploitation frequently result in excess processing capacity and processing plant down time during closed season(s) additional regulations required, particularly to limit discarding and false
  • reporting, ensure traceability and to control trans­shipment
  • create motives for IUU fishing
  • capacity will increase
Non-transferable vessel catch limits (individual quotas/ IQs) Overcapacity not addressed may limit additional growth of capacity
  • requires regulations to ensure traceability and to control transshipment
  • additional regulations required
  • create motives for IUU fishing
  • capacity will increase
Buy-back programs Purchase of vessel(s), license(s), and/or gear(s) capacity may be temporarily reduced in the fishery
  • any improvements in stock abundance will attract additional capacity
  • create motives for IUU fishing
  • capacity will increase

Source:Adapted from "Management tools – what does not work and what does" presentation by Rebecca Metzner at the APFIC Regional consultative workshop on Managing Fishing Capacity and IUU Fishing, Phuket, June 2007.

licensing systems (Table 3), and the assumed consequent uncertainty in the numbers of vessels actually fishing, the quality of data on fishing effort at least must be questioned. Effective monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries regulations is also a major issue in many fisheries of the region and will be further discussed below.

3.6 What methods have been most commonly used in the region for capacity reduction?

Of the ten respondents, seven have reported that they have actually undertaken capacity reduction programmes in their fisheries, with most of these occurring within the last five years. In addition, China has also undertaken significant reduction capacity reduction programmes while India has ceased issuing licences in a number of industrial fisheries9.

The ten respondents reported on a total of 42 fisheries, of which 18 were industrial scale and 24 small-scale (Table 3). Within these fisheries, 33.3 percent of industrial fisheries and 29 percent of artisanal fisheries had been the subject of capacity reduction programmes. The most common tools used to reduce capacity varied, as would be expected, between the two types of fisheries and these are summarized in Table 4. Boat and gear restrictions were common for both types while, as expected, social support measures as an incentive to leave a fishery were restricted to small-scale fisheries. However, the tools that have been shown to be effective in addressing fishing capacity issues (see Box 4) have been little used in the region while the most commonly used tools, such as boat and gear restrictions, are the tools that have been proven to be least effective (see Box 5).

Table 4: Tools used by countries of the region to reduce fishing capacity in industrial and artisanal fisheries

Industrial fisheries

Small-scale fisheries

Total

No. fisheries reported:

18

24

42

No. and proportion of fisheries where capacity reduction programmes have been implemented

5 (27.8 percent)

6 (25.0 percent)

11 (26.2 percent)

No. and proportion of fisheries where the following has been used:

Boat restrictions

4 (80 percent)

5 (83 percent)

9 (82 percent)

Gear restrictions

4 (80 percent)

6 (100 percent)

10 (91 percent)

Fisher restrictions

1 (20 percent)

0 (0 percent)

1 (9 percent)

Boat building restrictions

2 (40 percent)

5 (83 percent)

7 (64 percent)

Subsidy removal

3 (60 percent)

4 (66 percent)

7 (64 percent)

Buy-back of vessels10

0 (0 percent)

0 (0 percent)

0 (0 percent)

Space or time restrictions

4 (80 percent)

6 (100 percent)

10 (91 percent)

Incentive schemes

3 (60 percent)

4 (66 percent)

7 (64 percent)

Social support schemes to leave fishery

0 (0 percent)

6 (100 percent)

6 (55 percent)

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9 Reported at this workshop.

10 Buy-back schemes have been used by China.

It is also interesting to note from Table 4 that, although there were no small-scale fisheries reported where capacity reduction programmes actually targeted a reduction in fisher numbers, all of these small-scale fisheries were provided with some sort of social support programme. Social support measures for small-scale fishers, if well designed and targeted, can provide income support for fishers who are required to leave a fishery because of a capacity reduction programme but there are not, in themselves, a method that can achieve capacity reduction. Rather, if they are implemented in isolation, they can act to increase fishing capacity by effectively subsidizing the costs of fishing. It is therefore of some concern that these programmes are being reported as being implemented without parallel programmes to achieve real fishing capacity reduction.

Another significant aspect of Table 4 is the lack of use of buy-back schemes to reduce fishing capacity11. This rather surprising result may be because of the significant costs of such programmes but is worthy of further investigation, particularly since such schemes, when well designed, remove capacity permanently rather than re-allocate capacity to other fisheries (see Box 4). It is also interesting to note that eight of the ten respondents intend to implement capacity reduction programmes over the next five years (see below), and, of those that are implementing such programmes, two are intending to use buy-back schemes12 while none intend using the mandatory scrapping of vessels.

Conclusions: Approximately 33 percent of fisheries that have been reported on have undergone some type of capacity reduction programme within the last five years. The most common tool used in industrial fisheries capacity reduction in the region has been boat and gear restrictions, followed by space/time restrictions. In small-scale fisheries, the most common tool used for capacity reduction has been gear restrictions and space/time restrictions followed by boat and boat building restrictions. As expected, social support schemes have also been important in trying to reduce fishing capacity in small-scale fisheries. Significantly, restrictions on the number of fishers have not often been used, which is probably a reflection of the significant social implications of reducing fishing capacity in the region. Also, somewhat surprisingly, boat buy-back schemes have been little used, despite their efficiency in permanently reducing fishing capacity, although China has used such schemes and Thailand is considering using buy-back schemes to reduce capacity in their industrial demersal trawl and push net fisheries in the Gulf of Thailand. This latter observation is in stark contrast with other areas of the world where buy-back schemes are the method of choice for reducing fishing capacity, particularly in industrial fisheries.

3.7 Have previous attempts at capacity reduction in specific fisheries been successful?

Of the six respondent countries that had undertaken capacity reduction programmes, only one country reported that the resources management, economic and social objectives of its previous capacity reduction programmes had been successful. Another two reported that the objectives had been partially met while none reported that the objectives of capacity reduction had not been met at all (no data were provided by another three respondents). These responses are not surprising since other data, presented in Table 5 below, show that fishing capacity in the region has continued to increase significantly across the region since 2002 and landings have fallen in most fisheries (see Box 6 for a summary of the status of the region's fish stocks).

Conclusion: Both the responses from countries that have undertaken capacity reduction programmes in recent years, and regional capacity and landings data for the major industrial and artisanal fisheries indicate that capacity reduction programmes in the region to date have not been successful in limiting or reducing fishing capacity. The reasons why the programmes have not been successful will be explored further below but some of the apparent causes, such as ineffective or inappropriate policy tools, inadequate MCS capabilities and, despite recent improvements, the still-general lack of management plans have already been identified.

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11 Although China reported at the workshop that it has used such schemes.
12 These two countries have actually begun implementation of these buy-back schemes.

Box 6: State of commercial fish resources in Asia _ the scientific evidence

  • The World's production from capture fisheries is now about 95 million tonnes with 46.7 million tonnes from Asia Pacific region.
  • China remains the largest producer with a reported catch of 17.5 million from capture fisheries
  • There is a clear trend in marine landings of a decline in "other Asia" areas and increase in Southeast Asia, which now has largest share of landings in the region
  • Landings from freshwater fisheries show that both South Asia and Southeast Asia increased in the late 1990s but are now leveling off
  • Statistics on total landings however masks what has really been happening.
  • Of the two main marine fish groups (pelagic and demersal), pelagics peaked in late 1980s and then declined and leveled off. Significantly, demersals peaked in mid-1970s, declined and then leveled off. Neither group has returned to their mid-1970s level.
  • About 25 percent of landings in the Asia-Pacific region is now low value or trash fish
  • Most stocks are considered to be overexploited although only a few counties in the region carry out regular stock assessments and use these in management. The reason for this is that given the large number of species and the diversity of gears and fisheries this would be an enormous task and most countries don't have the capacity to do it.
  • There is current interest in tuna in region. All species, however, except skipjack and perhaps albacore are already fully or overexploited.
  • Scientific surveys, which have been carried out regularly in many areas of Asia including India, Viet Nam, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia, are one of the best sources of information in the region for information on fish stocks, particularly demersal stocks. In almost all areas, these surveys show there have been dramatic declines in fish biomass with current biomass estimates being between 6 and 30 percent of the biomass recorded 20-30 years ago.

  • There have also been significant changes in the composition of the catches from scientific surveys over the past 20-30 years as `fishing down the food chain' occurs. This is supported by an analysis of mean trophic levels of landings within the Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) of the region which show that these mean trophic levels are declining in all LMEs except Southeastern Australia.
  • In summary, the capture fisheries of the region are almost all significantly overexploited with the history of exploitation being one of `sequential' overexploitation of moving from one species or area to another as stocks become exhausted. However, there are now no more obvious stocks or areas to move to. Therefore the region faces a critical point where the existing stocks must be managed sustainably.

Source:Adapted from "Scientific evidence _ status of resources and optimal capacity" presentation by Derek Staples at the APFIC Regional consultative workshop on Managing Fishing Capacity and IUU Fishing, Phuket, June 2007.

3.8 What progress has been made by countries of the region since 2002 in addressing fishing capacity?

While countries that have actually undertaken capacity reduction programmes in recent years in specific fisheries have reported mixed success (see Question 7 above), information gained from the questionnaires has also enabled comparisons with similar data from the FAO survey in 2003, which reported fisheries production and capacity data for most countries up to 2002 (De Young, 2006). This comparison was possible because the present questionnaire specifically asked questions about the same three largest large-scale industrial and the three largest small-scale artisanal fisheries in each country that were addressed in 2003. The results of this comparison (Table 5) are illuminating, given the reported increase in implementing capacity reduction programmes over the past few

Table 5: Comparison between reported production and fishing capacity (measured as number of vessels) in 2002 and 2005

Three largest industrial fisheries in each country

Three largest small-scale fisheries in each country

Total

No. fisheries compared:

15 20 35

Production change 2002-2005

Production decreased in 73 percent of fisheries Production increased in 27 percent of fisheries

Production decreased in 100 percent of fisheries

Production decreased in 89 percent of fisheries Production increased in 11 percent of fisheries

Fishing Capacity (no. vessels) change 2002-2005

9.7 percent 14.4 percent 12.5 percent

years. In 2003, 71 percent of the respondents (which included the majority of APFIC member countries) reported that they had begun taking actions to measure fishing capacity in all marine capture fisheries as provided for in the FAO International Plan of Action (IPOA) for the Management of Fishing Capacity13 although actual assessment of fishing capacity in major fisheries had, generally, not been implemented (see Question 3 above). However, of those countries that reported they had not yet completed this process, 50 percent reported that they would not have this process completed by the 2005 target.

In 2003, countries reported that capacity reduction programmes had already been implemented in 31 percent of the largest industrial-scale fisheries while such programmes had been used in 16 percent of the largest small-scale artisanal fisheries. The most common method used to reduce fishing capacity in 2002 was reported to be the buy-out of fishing vessels and licenses from the fishery, which is in stark contrast to the responses received to the questionnaire where no respondent country now reported the use of buy-back of vessels as a capacity management tool (Table 4). The reason for this discrepancy is unclear but informal discussions indicate that few countries of the region have actually used buy-back schemes for capacity reduction.

By 2007, countries reported that capacity reduction programmes had been implemented in 28 percent of the largest industrial fisheries and 25 percent of the largest artisanal fisheries (Table 4) although these data are incomplete. Therefore, like the measurement of fishing capacity, there does not seem to have been any progress in implementing capacity reduction programmes in additional industrial fisheries although the proportion of small-scale fisheries in which these programmes have been implemented has apparently increased.

Interestingly, fishing capacity (measured as the number of vessels) has increased during the period 2002-2005 in almost all industrial and artisanal fisheries that have been reported on, with an average increase in capacity during this period of 9.7 percent in industrial, large-scale fisheries and 14.4 percent in small-scale, artisanal fisheries. These increases, however, have been accompanied by a decrease in production in 73 percent of industrial fisheries and in all small-scale fisheries for which data was provided.

Conclusions: There has been an apparent increase in the use of capacity reduction programmes in small-scale fisheries in countries of the region within the past few years but not in industrial fisheries. This parallels the increase in activity related to measurement of fishing capacity in small-scale, but not industrial fisheries. The overall effectiveness of these programmes, however, seems to have been limited with capacity increasing by 9.7 percent in the largest industrial fisheries

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13 Which is part of the UN FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

of the region and 14.4 percent in the largest small-scale fisheries during the period 2002-2005 and, despite this increase in capacity, production falling in 86 percent of fisheries.

3.9 What plans do member countries have to address fishing capacity issues within the next five years?

Of the ten respondent countries, six had already implemented capacity reduction programmes (Table 6) and all these six intended to implement further programmes in other fisheries over the next five years (Table 6).

One country, although not having implemented any capacity reduction programmes in the past, intended to do so over the next five years while two countries who had not implemented any such programmes did not intend to do so in the future, citing no capacity problems in their fisheries as the reason.

Conclusions: Within the countries that provided data, all countries that have already implemented capacity reduction programmes have plans to undertake further programmes within the next five years. One country that has not previously implemented these programmes plans to do so within the next five years while two countries are not planning any capacity reduction programmes.

Table 6: lans to address capacity issues within the next five years
  Capacity reduction programmes undertaken since 2000? Objectives of capacity reduction met? Plans to address capacity issues in next 5 years? Fisheries to be addressed in next 5 years
Australia Y Y Y Not specified
Bangladesh Y partially Y Shrimp trawl
Cambodia N n/a N n/a
Indonesia Y partially Y Artisanal seine net
Artisanal gill net
Other fisheries as needed
Malaysia Y not reported Y Not specified
Pakistan Y not reported Y Industrial shrimp, tuna and gillnet fisheries
Artisanal gill net, small pelagic and mud-crab fisheries
Philippines N n/a Y Industrial sardine, round scad and tuna fisheries
Artisanal frigate tuna and round scad fishery
Thailand Y (industrial)
Y (artisanal)
Y (industrial)
Y (artisanal)
Y (industrial)
Y (artisanal)
Industrial demersal trawl in Gulf of Thailand
Industrial Push net in Gulf of Thailand
Viet Nam N n/a Y Coastal trawl fishery

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