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APFIC Action plan to Capacity reduction and combat IUU fishing in the APFIC region

Derek Staples, FAO/APFIC Consultant

53. The participants of the APFIC regional consultative workshop held in Phuket from 13 to 15 June 2007 agreed that overcapacity and IUU fishing are major issues threatening economic development and food security. The proactive tackling of overcapacity and IUU fishing would deliver benefits throughout the fisheries sector and to the economy at large.

54. International plans of action are needed to turn policies into actions within a five to ten year timeframe. Coordination and partnerships need to be strengthened. Policy-makers and ministers need to be brought on board. Key steps in fishing capacity reduction were outlined including assessing current fishing capacity, developing national plans of action (NPOA), and introducing rights-based measures. It was stressed that excess fishing capacity should be removed and not transferred to other fisheries. Support from regional and international organizations is expected for fishing capacity reduction programmes.

55. Participants called for a focus on IUU fishing within national EEZs, and the development of NPOA to tackle this problem. Steps must be taken to ensure that flagged vessels do not undermine conservation and management efforts. The adoption of port state measures will assist in this. The sharing of data and information between APFIC Members is essential to tackling IUU fishing in the region. Details on the status of resources and fleet capacity need to be shared and MCS efforts strengthened. A closer engagement with regional organizations is also called for.

56. Comments from the RCFM included the observation that recent literature suggests that the optimal fleet size may be hard to determine and less practical than imposing more stringent natural resource management measures. In response, the speaker commented that the way forward is to decommission fleets and pay compensation to boat operators.

Regional initiatives promoting more effective fisheries management

The Regional Plan of Action

Purwanto, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia

57. The RPOA, adopted in May 2007, covers three areas: the South China Sea, the Sulu Sulawesi Sea and the Arafura and Timor Seas. The sustainable management of shared fish stocks is essential in helping to achieve regional food security and economic development. However, IUU fishing and overfishing are depleting these resources. Responsible fishery management practices are needed including the prevention of IUU fishing. Four meetings have been held since August 2007 when the coordination committee was formed and the outcomes of these RPOA implementation meetings, workshops and coordination meetings were described.

SEAFDEC support to an ASEAN Regional fisheries development and management mechanism

Magnus Torell, Technical Adviser for SEAFDEC

58. The SEAFDEC regional technical consultation in September 2006, recommended that Members work together to form a regional fisheries management body. The speaker outlined the process which is leading to an ASEAN regional fisheries development and management mechanism (ARFMM). ASEAN requested that the developing agreement cover both marine and freshwaters. The scope of the ARFMM would encompass: fishing capacity; monitoring; registration and licensing; zoning, IUU fishing and transboundary issues. Experience from other regional arrangements suggests that agreements of this nature should not be too complicated; mechanisms must be implemented under the framework of national laws, and the focus should be on boats, gears and people. Implications of conventions and regional agreements were also outlined by the speaker. Follow-up actions will include the continued development of the ARFMM and the establishment of an ad hoc working group to improve the speed of intersessional work.

Bay of Bengal Programme-IGO initiatives for fisheries management

Yugraj Yadava, Director BOBP-IGO

59. The BOBP-IGO was established in 2003, marking 28 years of continued support for fisheries in the Bay of Bengal. The focus remains on small-scale fisher communities. Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka constitute the current membership. Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have been Members in the past, and Myanmar remains an observer. Eight countries exploit fisheries in the BOB and fish landings have increased from 0.91 million tonnes in the 1950s to 5.16 million tonnes in 2005. There has been a marked slowdown in production increases since the 1970s. Recent initiatives include: the preparation of a management plan for hilsa fisheries; preparation of a management plan for shark fisheries; a regional workshop on MCS; a safety at sea project; and the continued provision of information through regular newsletters, reports, posters etc.

COBSEA and fisheries — bridging the gap

Srisuda Jayaraband, Secretary, COBSEA

60. Established in 1981, involving Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Australia, Cambodia, China, Republic of Korea and Viet Nam joined in 1994. Now, has a new strategic direction focusing on three areas: marine and land-based pollution; coastal and marine habitat conservation; and management of and responses to coastal disasters. Recently, COBSEA has worked on: improving information management; building national capacity; developing nutrient pollution models; organizing the ‘Clean up East Asia’s Seas Campaign’; habitat protection; management of national disasters; and developing regional cooperation links. A major difference between COBSEA and main fisheries organizations is that COBSEA is concerned with the impact of fisheries and aquaculture practices on the environment rather than the effects of the environment on fisheries and aquaculture. Areas for inter-organizational cooperation include information exchange and tackling lost and abandoned fishing gear.

WWF’s Coral triangle programme — regional dimensions

Geoffrey Muldoon, WWF — Coral Triangle Network Initiative

61. The speaker described the Coral Triangle Network Initiative (CTNI), its geographic scope (Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste) and areas of interest, which include MPAs, sustainable tuna fisheries, the sustainable live reef trade, turtle and bycatch mitigation, climate change and travel/tourism. Developing private/public sector partnerships are central to CTNI operational principles. Subprograms include the WWF-CTNI Tuna Sub Initiative and the WWF-CTNI Live Reef Food Fish Trade. The close interaction between the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and the CTNI was outlined by the speaker.

Arafura-Timor Sea Action Plan

Tonny Wagey, ATSEA Regional Coordinator

62. Established in 2002 at the Prep-Com UN Summit on Sustainable Development. Current member countries are Australia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. The objectives of ATSEA are: the sustainable use and development of the Arafura and Timor Seas; poverty alleviation in coastal areas; and research and data sharing. Foci include: IUU fishing; preservation of fish stocks, habitats and diversity; alternative livelihoods, including aquaculture; understanding ocean dynamics; and information management capacity. ATSEA is closely aligned with the CTI. The project will be fully implemented by 2009 and will be completed by 2013.

Towards addressing fisheries concerns through implementation of Integrated Coastal Management

Raphael Lotilla, Executive Director, Partnership for the Environmental Management in the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA)

63. Challenges to fisheries in East Asia highlighted including; the open access nature and unsustainable harvesting now causing overfishing in many areas; and the impact of other forms of economic activity on the region’s fisheries. The speaker presented a common framework for sustainable development of coastal areas through integrated coastal management (ICM). The ICM program and implementation cycle was described; the demonstration sites shown and plans for replication outlined. Policies, strategies and Action Plans currently focus on how to integrate fisheries management and ICM, conflict resolution between fisheries and navigation, and mangrove rehabilitation; anti illegal fishing campaigns; supplemental livelihoods programs including crab condominium projects. PEMSEA has also established a network of local governments comprising of 23 member and 7 observers across 9 countries in the Region. PEMSEA aim to have activities covering 20 percent of the regional coastline by 2015.

End of session

64. The chairperson summed up the day’s proceedings by stressing the growing prominence of co–management, the recognition of excess fishery capacity and the need to address this problem in many areas and the limitations of the promotion of offshore fishing. The rapid development of aquaculture requires the harmonization of the many certification schemes and a clearer understanding of potential costs and benefits. The many regional management mechanisms appear to have many commonalities and present a range of options for improving management.

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