APFIC members at the workshop provided summaries of the status of capacity management and IUU fishing issues in their respective countries, together with future plans of actions to address these issues.
Australia recognized that there have been a lot of extensive discussions and introduction of regional and national initiatives, but believed what is needed now to address capacity management is action. Australia's shares common sea borders and common interests with several countries of the region and that it considers the RPOA on responsible fisheries a good initiative, since it concentrates on implementation and sharing of experiences. Australia outlined the following requirements for well-run fisheries and pointed out that Australia is endeavouring to meet them:
Bangladesh outlined the background and current status of its fisheries and described several initiatives to control fishing capacity that were underway, including licence limitation.
Cambodia outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries – per capita consumption is 30–40 kg per year. Fishing capacity statistics were presented using the number of fishers and vessels. 10.5 percent of the population are full time fishers, of which 87 percent are small-scale. The emphasis is on inland fish production (324 000 tonnes) with marine fishing accounting for about 60 000 tonnes. 71 percent of approximately six million fishers engaged in inland waters and 80 percent of approx. 10 000 fishers engaged in marine areas were small-scale fishers. Most small-scale fishers are poor and landless, and have declining livelihood options. Actions already taken to manage fishing capacity include licensing, MCS, artificial reefs, increasing awareness, strengthening fisheries law and future plans include implementing a NPOA on capacity, including participation by fishing communities and education/extension activities.
China outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries – increasing aquaculture production, 25 percent of production going to fish meal and a history of increasing fishing power. China has a policy of zero growth in marine catch which is being achieved by a combination of regulation, capacity reduction and education and extension services to support responsible fishing rather than encourage increased landings. To manage capacity, subsidies have been provided to scrap a target of 14 000 vessels with 1 275 vessels and 22 000 fishers being removed in 2005. This buy-back programme has reduced the number of vessels and also restricted building of new vessels. A Program of Action on Conservation of living aquatic resources was implemented in 2006 while the Fishery Law of 2003 requires that all fishing boats must have licence, which can be renewed, depending on previous good behaviour by the license holder. Closed seasons for fishing have been increased in duration and extended to all Chinese waters and closed areas implemented. The result of these capacity reduction measures has been a general improvement in fish stocks with increases in CPUE and landings being recorded. Compliance rates are also improving with, for example, the proportion of vessels with licenses having increased from 51 to 86 percent. Future plans include the continuation of the capacity reduction programme to at least 2010 to reach defined capacity targets. In response to questions, China emphasized that the capacity reduction and IUU fishing policies have to have support from whole community, not just fishers, and therefore needed to include extensive education and extension.
India outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries – production is 2.9 million tonnes, with most production coming from small-scale fishers. A cap on trawling capacity has been fixed and conversion of demersal trawlers to tuna longliners is being encouraged, with 6 already having been converted. In addition, the Central Government has told coastal states to register all vessels, while mandatory approval by the Central Government is required for fishing in EEZ. India reported that near shore waters are overfished but there is little or no foreign vessel IUU fishing. Offshore waters, however, are generally under fished, leading to an increasing commitment to increase offshore tuna longline vessels. IUU fishing in offshore fishers is being addressed by the coast guard. India is addressing inshore IUU fishing (destructive gears etc.) by better co-management. Fish breeding seasonal ban is also in place while the installation of VMS is in the final stages of implementation. Future actions include central legislation for fishing in India's EEZ, expanding tuna fishing and implementing better co-management.
Indonesia outlined the current issues of fishing capacity and IUU fishing in the country. These included data collection issues and controlling IUU fishing. It was also noted that under-capacity exists in some areas. Unlicensed fishing is a particular problem in many areas as is the operation of illegal foreign vessels that fly Indonesian flags. There is an increasing trend of IUU fishing by foreign vessels and a decrease by domestic vessels. However, Indonesia has a limited capacity to conduct surveillance and law enforcement. The drivers of capacity include increased demand, irreversible investment and fishing as a last resort while the main driver of IUU fishing is the avoidance of paying fees. Actions taken to manage fishing capacity include assessment of fish stocks, improvement of data collection system, regional cooperation, increased surveillance and development of community-based surveillance systems. The number of surveillance vessels has increased substantially and has had a demonstrable impact. Future actions include NPOA implementation on capacity and IUU fishing and actions under RPOA on responsible fishing.
Malaysia outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries – 1.2 million tonnes marine production and 4 500 tonnes inland production. IUU fishing issues are encroachment of foreign and local vessels into fishing zones, using destructive fishing methods, landings by foreign IUU vessels and unlicensed vessels. Drivers of fishing capacity and IUU fishing include the migration of rural people to the coast, Government incentives, unskilled workforce, higher fish prices and greater demand of fish for processing industry and insufficient MCS. Actions taken to manage fishing capacity and eliminate IUU fishing include drafting of NPOA on IUU fishing, increased surveillance, establishing community-based management approaches, formulating specific laws to deal with foreign IUU landings, installing VMS on large-scale commercial vessels and implementing an Exit Plan Program for trawlers using a buy-back scheme. In response to a question for clarification, Malaysia explained that there has been no significant increase in trawlers or small-scale fishing in the past 10 years although this is now changing. Future actions include reducing the number of coastal trawlers by 15 percent by 2015, improved MCS, continuing establishing community-based management approaches and completing the formulation of specific laws to deal with foreign IUU landings.
Myanmar outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries, including the significant contribution of inland fisheries. 66 percent of 113 000 fishers were marine inshore fishermen with 183 000 fishers in inland waters. IUU fishing issues included inadequate MCS capabilities, transhipment at sea, and encroachment of foreign vessels into national waters. Drivers of increased fishing capacity include increasing demand and declining fish stocks. Action taken have included imposing license conditions, development of appropriate legislation, a catch reporting system at landing sites, inspection by Myanmar navy and an education programme. Future actions include seeking external assistance for upgrading MCS capabilities, improving education programmes and developing aquaculture as an alternative to capture fisheries.
Pakistan outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries – it has 300 000 fishers and 20 000 registered vessels (of which 8 000 are mechanized) and a significant inland fishery. Three fishing zones are recognized in Pakistan, arranged inshore-offshore with each zone being reserved for appropriate vessels. Landings are made into 40 identified fishing stations. Pakistan is addressing fishing capacity by not licensing any additional foreign trawlers in the EEZ, requiring all vessels to be licensed and prohibiting harmful fishing practices. However, there is no comprehensive data collection system in place. IUU fishing issues are poaching from India and Karachi-based vessels and also poaching in deep sea areas. `Green' and `Red' areas have been established to reserve fishing grounds near villages to local fishermen. In response to questions, Pakistan explained that it had legislative barriers to restricting fishing licenses.
Philippines summarized the situation in its fisheries of being too many fishers and dwindling resources. There is also a lack of reliable data on fisheries and capacity. Drivers of capacity increases are declining resources, degraded coastal habitats, inequitable distribution of benefits and inter- and intra-sectoral conflicts. Actions taken include a moratorium on the issue of new vessel and gear licenses, establishment of a data collection system, establishment of no-take zones and facilitating access to alternative livelihoods. Future plans include strengthening fisheries policy, introducing VMS and improving MCS capabilities, establishing catch quotas and ensuring adequate funding for these initiatives.
Sri Lanka outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries, including the impact of the tsunami. Current production is 251 000 tonnes of which 215 000 is marine fish. There are 170 000 active fishers and 35 350 vessels, almost all small-scale. Although there is no current stock information, production is below the MSY identified 30 years ago. The offshore areas appear to have potential for increased production. IUU fishing issues include poaching by foreign vessels and IUU fishing in the coastal sector. Licensing systems are in place (including a register of fishers) and ten fisheries management committees have been established, linking fishers and regulatory authorities. Fishing reserves have also been established. Future plans to address fishing capacity and IUU issues include strengthening MCS capabilities and introducing VMS. In addition, the promotion of co-management approaches and exploring alternative livelihoods for coastal fishers will be examined. Diverting fishing effort offshore will also be undertaken.
Thailand outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries – 2.6 million tonnes production with most of this (96 percent) derived from large-scale fisheries. Small-scale fisheries only contributed a minor proportion of marine landings. There have been significant reductions in CPUE in the Gulf of Thailand and therefore most vessels now fish offshore. Targets for capacity management are to reduce the number of trawl and push net vessels in the future in the Gulf. Actions taken include: freezing the number of trawlers and push netters, limiting the mesh size of purse seine vessels, implementing closed areas and prohibiting destructive fishing gears. Actions taken to address IUU fishing include developing a NPOA and establishing a new committee to address IUU fishing issues. For Thai vessels operating outside of the Thailand EEZ, a catch reporting and license system has been introduced. Future actions include continuing with trawl and push net vessel reduction, introducing a zoning system for fishing gears and reviewing the Fishery Act.
Viet Nam outlined the general background and characteristics of its fisheries, including an estimated MSY for all stocks of 1.4–1.6 million tonnes. Production is currently 1.8 million tonnes. 76 percent of the 84 000 fishing vessels have a horsepower less than 45hp and the trawl fishery contributes about 44 percent of total catch. CPUE has been declining since at least 1985. Fishing capacity issues were identified as an inadequate legal and institutional framework and an open access system. Also, fishing licensing and registration system were inadequate. Future actions include developing a NPOA on fishing capacity and moving from open access to limitation of fishing access.