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4. Policy and planning for integrated coastal area management25

Management of coastal fisheries, as with that of all agricultural sectors, must have the basic objective of ecological sustainability. Management will have to decide which policy measures will allow this general objective to be achieved in each local circumstance, taking account of economic and social factors as well as the condition of the fisheries resources. At the same time, management measures must take account of the dynamic nature of coastal fisheries whereby physical, ecological, social and economic processes interact constantly.

As a result of the nature of fisheries, the concept of sustainability cannot be compared with other subsectors or, indeed, with other economic activities. Fisheries resources are finite and increasingly scarce, and the biological limit of their productivity has been reached or surpassed virtually everywhere. Investing more resources in exploiting fisheries resources, with the exception of aquaculture, will no longer result in increased productivity and profitability. On the contrary, today, increased productivity for one user (thanks to improved gear or vessels, for example), will necessarily lead to decreased productivity for other users. Management actions will therefore revolve around resource allocation, trade-offs, careful monitoring and enforcement.

Management must take account of the constraints that will determine the policy options. These relate to matters such as:

The key issue is to achieve the stated objectives sustainably and this will depend on the condition of the resource base (stocks, habitat, environment) and the capacity of management measures to improve it, the economic performance of the fishing activity, and the effectiveness of the development and management framework.

Management strategies must be flexible, adapting to the changing nature and condition of the resource through time and concerned to improve socio-economic performance within the sector, while decreasing negative impacts deriving from other sectors and from the sector itself.


In the coastal area, there are many interests, often conflicting, not only within the fisheries sector but also outside it, competing for limited space and resources. An appropriate framework must be found to integrate these interests into a coherent and equitable framework and overcome the current and future conflicts between them.

Each coastal area has its own characteristics, making many aspects of management area-specific. Therefore, management decisions are likely to be more efficient if they are taken locally rather than being decided at national level and simply handed down for execution. With this in mind, it is advisable to envisage devolving responsibility for management of coastal areas, as far as possible, down to the local level, assuming the necessary competence to do this exists. A system of reporting and controls can be put in place as necessary.

4.1.1 Integration

Ministries and government agencies are the group most concerned with coordination and collaboration. Conflicts can arise in cases where jurisdictions overlap or are not clearly defined. These include the ministry (or department) of fisheries, but also those of agriculture, forestry, tourism, merchant marine and many others. To handle the issues that will almost inevitably arise, interministerial (and indeed intraministerial) groups should be set up at the national level, to define and share responsibilities. Decisions must be relayed to corresponding local bodies, or upwards if devolution is in place, through structured and functional linkages at the various administrative levels. Authority at the highest level should sanction such joint decision-making to ensure its results are effectively applied.

Stakeholders within the sector are the second group that must be integrated into the management and planning process. Local resource users are key actors in fisheries policies, often being at the base of the local economy. They generally know the area and its environment particularly well and can therefore be important allies in the monitoring of environmental impacts. In addition, traditional fishing and resource sharing techniques may show the way to more sustainable management. Social cohesion among local fishing communities provides a basis for successful implementation of management decisions, provided that traditional users have been associated with defining them. Although fishers are only one group of stakeholders, involving them is basic to success since they are the main users of fisheries resources. Since the nature of their work gives fishers little time to participate in meetings and consultations, it may be necessary to stimulate the establishment of fishers' organizations and committees, where these do not already exist; however, to be effective, the latter must truly reflect and represent a broad cross-section of views in the fishing community. They should take account of artisanal and larger-scale fishers, aquaculture interests, etc. Where rights of access have not yet been implemented, the search for consensus on resource use between those directly involved in the fishing operation will play an important role, for example when designing voluntary guidelines.

Stakeholders in other sectors. Stakeholders operating within the sector encompass all those interested in the marine and land-based coastal resources, from farmers and hoteliers to port authorities and municipalities. Relations with extra-sectoral stakeholders will also be handled at national, regional and local levels. Nationally, the fisheries authorities will be expected to defend the sector's interests vis-^-vis others making a claim to the resource. To do this, they should be involved in activities such as the review process for environmental impact assessment of coastal projects, in drafting laws and regulations related to coastal areas, in the spatial planning process, in awarding building permits for large projects where fisheries interests will be affected (for instance when building a hotel complex or marina) and many others. The stronger the institutional structure representing the fisheries sector, the more effectively fisheries interests will be represented.

Locally, consultative committees can be set up, with proposed solutions being submitted to higher authorities after due discussion and agreement. Such proposals must conform with national policy objectives (for instance, the government may give priority to promoting fish production for export rather than for domestic markets, or to tourism in a particular zone rather than fisheries), otherwise they will be overridden. When proposals are accepted, they will have a greater chance of being implemented if they derive from a consensus of a large majority of stakeholders.

Analysis of roles. The first step in setting up a suitable management framework will be to analyse the roles and responsibilities of each actor and to identify overlaps and sources of real or potential conflict, as well as ensuring that no essential issue is left out. The institutional mechanism for ICAM will therefore ensure that:

Article 10 of the Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries

10.1. Institutional framework

10.1.1. States should ensure that appropriate policy, legal and institutional framework is adopted to achieve the sustainable and integrated use of the resources, taking into account the fragility of coastal ecosystems and the finite nature of their natural resources and the needs of coastal communities.

10.1.2. In view of the multiple uses of the coastal area, States should ensure that representatives of the fisheries sector and fishing communities are consulted in the decision-making processes and involved in other activities related to coastal area management planning and development.

10.1.3. States should develop, as appropriate, institutional and legal frameworks in order to determine the possible uses of coastal resources and to govern access to them taking into account the rights of coastal fishing communities and their customary practices to the extent compatible with sustainable development.

10.1.4. States should facilitate the adoption of fisheries practices that avoid conflict among fisheries resources users and between them and other users of the coastal area.

10.1.5. States should promote the establishment of procedures and mechanisms at the appropriate administrative level to settle conflicts which arise within the fisheries sector and between fisheries resources users and other users of the coastal area.

10.2. Policy measures

10.2.1. States should promote the creation of public awareness of the need for the protection and management of coastal resources and the participation in the management process by those affected.

10.2.2. In order to assist decision-making on the allocation and use of coastal resources, States should promote the assessment of their respective value taking into account economic, social and cultural factors.

10.2.3. In setting policies for the management of coastal areas, States should take due account of the risks and uncertainties involved.

10.2.4. States, in accordance with their capacities, should establish or promote the establishment of systems to monitor the coastal environment as part of the coastal management process using physical, chemical, biological, economic and social parameters.

10.2.5. States should promote multidisciplinary research in support of coastal area management, in particular on its environmental, biological, economic, social, legal and institutional aspects.

10.3. Regional cooperation

10.3.1. States with neighbouring coastal areas should cooperate with one another to facilitate the sustainable use of coastal resources and the conservation of the environment.

10.3.2. In the case of activities that may have an adverse transboundary environmental effect on coastal areas, States should:

  • a) provide timely information and, if possible, prior notification to potentially affected states;
  • b) consult with those States as early as possible.

10.3.3. States should cooperate at the subregional and regional level in order to improve coastal area management.

10.4. Implementation

10.4.1. States should establish mechanisms for cooperation and coordination among national authorities involved in planning, development, conservation and management of coastal areas.

10.4.2. States should ensure that the authority or authorities representing the fisheries sector in the coastal management process have the appropriate technical capacities and financial resources.

Source: FAO, 1995a.

4.1.2 Allocation of rights

The constraints imposed by the limited natural productivity of the stock and the open-access nature of fisheries will only be overcome by measures to limit access. Since scarcity will normally lead to price increases, allocations should be made on the basis of value, rather than quantity.

Fisheries scientists have identified the limit of physical productivity as the maximum sustainable yield (MSY). However, this maximum tends to be seen by managers as the target for fisheries development and, in the absence of access rights, this is very unlikely to result in sustainability (see Section 3.1.1).

Ideally, the implications of various levels of exploitation on major species should be researched jointly by fisheries biologists and economists. Even without sophisticated methods, it will be possible to make a reasonable working estimate of an adequate level of fishing from both the economic and biological standpoints. Similarly, the consequences of (continued) overexploitation will be estimated (risk of collapse of the stock and of the industry, for example). Explanations of such risks on the basis of research will form the basis for consultations with fishers aimed at reaching a consensus on the need for reducing the catch.

Major problems - economic, social and even political - arise when, as is often the case today, the resource is already overexploited and measures must be taken to bring exploitation down to a more sustainable level. Where still possible, it is preferable to avoid overexploitation in the first place, which is a manner of applying the preventive approach.26

Given the need to limit access to fisheries resources, the question is how to achieve it. For both capture fisheries and aquaculture, policy measures can be classified in two broad types; those based on regulatory instruments and those based on economic instruments. The former imply direct control of the uses by a regulating agency, while the latter are based on approaches seeking to modify the economic incentives with which users are faced. Institutional instruments are used where the former cannot be successfully put into place.27 Choice of the instruments (which can also be used in combination) for the implementation of policy directions will depend on local circumstances, and can rest on a comparison of their relative economic efficiency (comparing total benefits to total costs including transaction costs), cost-effectiveness (comparing total costs of different instruments providing similar expected benefits) and distributional consequences (Grigalunas and Congar, 1995). In addition to these instruments, policy measures will need to be defined concerning cross-sectoral impacts and conflict resolution, and the monitoring of management effects on the fisheries sector.

BOX D.10
Towards integrated coastal fisheries management (ICFM) in Malaysia

The situation analysis of Malaysian fisheries, conducted by the Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DOFM) and the Bay of Bengal Programme (BOBP) in 1994, identified several broad-based issues within the project area of the Pulau Payar Marine Park. These include: general degradation of resources, particularly mangrove areas, corals and sea grass beds; overfishing; conflicts between artisanal and commercial fishers; organic and inorganic pollution from industrial development; multiuse conflicts; and loss of fishing grounds. The analysis recommended a sustainable resource management approach to emphasize the importance of marine parks as productive ecosystems contributing to fisheries and biological diversity. The project design evolved during the planning stage of the project in 1995. Outputs included the design and initiation of a Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) approach for the Pulau Payar Marine Park and surrounding areas (Kuala Kedah and Langkawi) to allow for focused management that integrates local community participation, multiple government agencies, and ecological and sociological components. Pulau Payar was the first marine park in Malaysia, established in 1995. The SAMP approach is incremental.

The first phase has been to form a working group to complete the groundwork needed to take the process to a wider audience of local decision-makers in the SAMP area. The Fisheries Resource Working Group (FRWG) was formed by DOFM in 1995 for this purpose. Policy implications of SAMP would require the FRWG to report or go through the already existing high-level Management Committee of DOFM at the HQ level. Therefore, it was useful to have this working group composed of a multidisciplinary team. Four key disciplines within DOFM are represented in FRWG: the Marine Parks Branch; the Fisheries Resource Management Branch; the Fisheries Research Institute; and the Fisheries Planning Division.

The second phase was to characterize the geographic area under the SAMP to help identify and gain a broader understanding of: 1) the list of issues and problems to be addressed under the SAMP; 2) the probable causes of the problems and issues; and 3) the possible solutions. This phase is on-going and has been guided by the FRWG and DOF Management Committee since 1995. Activities under the characterization phase include the implementation of scientific characterization studies, a socio-economic baseline study, institutional review, public outreach materials, training of fishers in alternative livelihoods from ecotourism, training of DOFM staff in integrated coastal management, and a first draft SAMP. During the second phase, the results of the early characterization provided a greater understanding of the issues for management within the SAMP area, and the issues became more focused. They include: decline in fisheries resources; impacts from tourism development; impacts from the changes in land- and sea-based development; and protection of the area's high marine biological diversity and ecosystem health.

The third phase was designed to overlap with the second phase and begin to develop solutions to the problems and issues with a wider audience of local decision-makers in the SAMP area. For this purpose, a State-level Coordinating Committee (SCC) is being established which will comprise all the government agencies at the state level that have programmes affecting the issues in the area. As the initial activity of the third phase, an integrated coastal management workshop was held in October 1997 to build consensus among the various agencies, academia and invited NGOs, who will become members of the SCC, as well as to identify and commit to roles and responsibilities for SAMP implementation. The workshop consolidated opinions and achieved consensus on the objectives of the SAMP and potential solutions for action among the participants. It laid the foundation for increased multisectoral participation. It provided the early results of the scientific studies to the seven agencies represented and gained their active participation in contributing ideas towards potential solutions to improve management of the area's environment.

A second workshop was organized for early 1998 to build on this foundation and ensure greater participation from additional agencies and the wider public on the SAMP objectives and potential actions, and identify and commit to roles and responsibilities for SAMP implementation. The wider public includes such groups of stakeholders as fishers, tour operators and investors in marine tourism activities whose activities are seen to have a different level of impact than government agencies but whose perception of management issues is oriented more towards their impact on livelihoods and direct damage to the ecosystem. The opinions and feedback from the direct users of the SAMP area resources is a vital contribution for the final development, implementation and adoption of the SAMP by the wider public and its approval by the state and federal governments. It is expected that the public-stakeholder workshop would also help to identify candidates from these stakeholder groups for representation on the SCC. The workshop will also establish the SCC as a multidisciplinary and interagency committee with local-level management responsibility for the SAMP.

It is envisioned that SAMP development and implementation will be facilitated by the SCC and supported by the national-level FRWG. The two levels of support will benefit SAMP development and implementation. The SCC will ensure local-level change, while the FRWG will support SCC with funding, legislative backing and harmonization of policy initiatives. The SAMP for the Pulau Payar Marine Park and surrounding areas will promote the conservation and sustained production and use of the area's reef fisheries resources and habitats. The SAMP will be used as a model both for other marine park islands in peninsular Malaysia and to glean lessons learned to develop a national integrated coastal management programme.

Source: Nickerson, 1997.

Capture fisheries. Conventional management of capture fisheries has centred on measures of direct control of fishing capacity. Such measures, while they may prevent resource collapse, do nothing to prevent the depletion of resource rents, and have in some cases accentuated the overcapitalization problem. If the full economic benefits are to be achieved from a fishery, it seems clear that access to it has to be limited in some way.

Direct control of fishing activity implies that, once a target level of exploitation is fixed, the level of fishing effort required to achieve it must be determined. Various types of conservation and management direct control measures can usually be considered by fisheries authorities depending on local conditions. Typically, these will include:

The impact of such regulations has been reviewed in many places (e.g. Cunningham, Dunn and Whitemarsh 1985). If the fishery is managed only by control of the exploitation level, for instance by setting a total allowable catch and closing the fishery once this has been taken, the problem of overexploitation of the resource will be translated into a problem of overcapacity of the fishing industry. Such problems have long been documented in the fisheries economics literature (e.g. Crutchfield and Pontecorvo, 1969). The history of the United States Pacific halibut fishery over the period since the Second World War provides an example of how far this process may be pushed.

A number of palliatives might be implemented to try to improve the situation. For example, the exploitation level might be limited weekly rather than annually so as to try to make the season last longer. However, the fundamental problem will remain that, unless access is limited, effort and capacity will be excessive.

An alternative would be to try to limit fishing effort directly. This approach is difficult to implement because of the practical difficulty of defining and measuring fishing effort and fishing capacity and the relationship between them. Control often works by limiting the number of vessels that are licensed to participate in the fishery, but this approach faces at least two difficulties. First, effort may be increased by existing vessels operating more intensively as well as by the addition of new vessels, so that the impact of a reduction in vessel numbers often proves far less than hoped. Second, over time vessels will need to be replaced, but new vessels are usually more technically efficient than older vessels and allowance must be made for this if the effort is to be controlled. In theory, therefore, working via effort seems technically more difficult than operating on catch. However, there is some evidence that fishers find it more difficult to alter the configuration of their fishing vessels than has often been assumed by economic theory so that some improvement in economic performance can occur under such schemes. Whether such improvements will be permanent remains to be seen.

The best approach to the establishment of exclusive use access rights will depend on the nature of the fishery and on the legal system of the country. The fundamental question to be answered prior to the establishment of any system of use rights is who owns the resource. Frequently the response is that the government manages the resource on behalf of society in general. In this model, fishers are exploiters of the resource and access rights that they may acquire will be exploitation or use rights, not ownership rights. Regardless of how this is decided, a use-right system should improve the economic performance of the fishery; but the issue is critical for determining who receives the benefits of improved performance, in particular who receives the resource rent.

Resource rent may be captured by the management agency, either through taxation (on catch or effort) or by use of resource charges associated with use rights. Alternatively, a decision might be made to leave rents with the industry, in which case their value may be capitalized into property rights. In any event, it is unlikely that the management agency could capture all rents, so use rights will take on some value whatever the system. However, this value will be much greater under the property right scheme.

A number of approaches suggest themselves. One possibility is to grant rights in the form of percentage shares of the total allowable catch (TAC). Where rights are tradable - i.e. individual transferable quotas (ITQs) - it should be possible to allocate them efficiently between users, those who put a low value on rights being expected to sell them to those who value them more highly. For example, in many fisheries, fish prices increase with fish size. In such cases, fishers who concentrate on smaller fish would be expected to sell to those fishing larger ones. In this way, the value derived from the given exploitation level would be maximized. Clearly a key issue in the case of ITQs concerns the ability to enforce them and prevent cheating. Studies would be required of the feasibility of introducing ITQs in particular cases and of the conditions necessary for effective enforcement.

In some cases, it may prove impossible to control either catch or effort, e.g. because the fishery is small-scale with many landing points, as is the case with many artisanal fisheries. One approach in such cases is to strengthen any traditional management systems that may exist and use social cohesion and self-control. However, fairness in the distribution of access and income are more important to communities than efficiency. This implies giving (or returning) rights to traditional groups and devolving some management authority to them. Alternatively, the fishery might be divided into areas with control of each area given to a particular group of fishers, especially where social cohesion is strong. Although the mobile nature of most fish stocks probably rules out this approach as a general solution, it is useful in coastal regions and has frequently been advocated in the case of artisanal fisheries in the form of territorial use rights (TURFs) (Christy Jr, 1982).28

One issue to be considered is the duration of rights. If rights are granted in perpetuity, cost reductions associated with technical progress will be captured by rights holders via increases in the price of rights. Some of this might subsequently pass to the resource owner (i.e. the state) if a tax is imposed on the price of rights when these are sold. If rights are simply leased for a limited period then the resource owner will capture the benefits of technical progress through increased prices for the next allocation of rights (those with better technology will be able to afford to bid more for rights.)

One advantage of use rights is that they allow for changing resource usage over time. If catches are allocated administratively then it may prove very difficult to change allocations over time in response to dynamic economic effects.29 An additional advantage is that the beneficiary is more likely to take notice of negative impacts and report these with a view to their being tackled than when access is open to all, in which case no-one will have any sense of responsibility.

The issue of reallocation does not only affect fishers or groups of fishers. It also affects allocations between sectors of the economy. In fact, probably the strongest argument in favour of use rights is that they allow for transfers of fish between sectors and for one sector to compensate the other in a very simple manner.

Under some conditions, it may be possible to use fish prices to control fishing activity. For example, the government might establish a marketing agency to deal with all shellfish in an area. Anyone fishing shellfish would be required to sell to this organization. If the organization buys at a low price and resells at a higher one, the government can extract resource rents. Alternatively, a tax might be imposed on domestic consumers. In this way the exploitation level might be reduced and the government would collect the resource rent via the taxes. From the point of view of rent collection, a domestic tax would be more appropriate in situations where the domestic market dominates, while a marketing organization would be more appropriate in cases where much of the catch is exported. In fact, a marketing organization may provide countervailing power to foreign buyers, enabling the country to achieve better export performance. In some cases it may be possible to work via traders, although their activities are often difficult to control. If this kind of management approach is to be used, it is important that the nature of marketing arrangements is properly understood so that the best point at which the tax collector should intervene can be identified.

Where a fishery interacts with other fisheries or other coastal activities, which is almost inevitable, a taxation system will be inadequate to deal with allocation problems. In this case, allocation will have to be organized through an administrative (planning) approach or an economic approach based on use rights, or some combination of the two.

Aquaculture. In the case of aquaculture, a combination of direct intervention of the management agency through regulation and of the use of economic instruments seeking to modify individual incentives of fish farmers can usually be considered.

Legislation will be required relating to a number of aspects of the operation of an aquaculture facility, mostly public health-related issues (e.g. water quality, harvest and processing of the product). There may also be specific requirements imposed by countries to whom the output is to be exported (e.g. those within the European Union). These regulations will affect the kind of activity that can be placed near an aquaculture area and will require regulatory measures (unless some kind of market in environmental rights can be developed). The impacts of aquaculture on the coastal environment will also need to be considered.

A number of regulatory instruments can be considered, depending on the characteristics of the activity and the site. These include: land-use planning and zoning (e.g. distance limits between sites, restricted areas); control over installation and operation of the facilities (e.g. limits on production, water depth regulations, moratorium on new farms, regulations on ownership); and pollution control (e.g. waste discharge limits) (Barg, 1992). Some large-scale aquaculture projects may be placed under regulations requiring authorization by the management agency, in which case environmental impact assessments30 may be required from large-scale operators before the authorization of an installation is granted.

In a regulatory context, economic analysis may be limited to a cost-benefit analysis (CBA).31 One problem here is that, to date, relatively few environmental impact assessments or CBAs have been carried out, so that in many cases the wider economic impacts of aquaculture development are simply not known.

As for capture fisheries, economic instruments will either seek to establish tradable rights systems or rely on charging systems to adjust supply and demand for environmental goods and services. In attempting to deal with the specific problem of pollution caused by aquaculture, Soley, Neiland and Nowell (1992) suggest that economic approaches based on the polluter pays principle32 should be implemented. They suggest three possibilities that might be considered. First, a tax (or tariff) might be applied to stocking density to encourage environment-friendly stocking decisions (this is however difficult to enforce). Second, a tariff might be applied to continuous production. The idea would be to encourage fallow periods, where these are feasible, to prevent the cumulative build-up of environmental impacts. The exact nature of such a tax would depend on the hydrological characteristics of the site, and its impact on the profitability of the enterprise would have to be considered. The third suggestion is that a system of tradable permits might be introduced. Similar schemes have been suggested for pollution control generally and the approach is simple in principle. The acceptable level of pollution (e.g. nutrient discharge) is determined and broken into many small units. Only holders of units may legally discharge into the environment and they are free to trade in these entitlements. Another instrument which could be used is fiscal incentives (e.g. tax deductions and exemptions) to promote the installation of water treatment equipment, for example.

Research will be required to determine the enforceability of various schemes. The methods do, however, indicate the way in which economic incentives might be used to regulate demands on the environment.

Aquaculture may be subject to various other externalities that limit its rate of development. One of the most significant of these is the problem of defining property rights in certain situations. Although in aquaculture the open access issue is more easily dealt with than in fisheries, there are situations where it is a problem. One example concerns ocean ranching; ocean ranching involves the release into the wild of captive bred young fish, almost invariably anadromous species such as salmon which at maturity return to their birthplace to spawn. Under international law and most national legal systems, fish in the wild have no legal owner (i.e. they are regarded as res nillius) and ownership is acquired by the person who captures them. This means that unless the `rancher' who releases young fish into the wild is given some form of property rights in those fish and/or exclusive or preferential rights to harvest them on maturity, a third party may freely reap the fruits of the rancher's investment simply by catching the fish. This substantially diminishes the economic incentives to invest in ocean ranching. Policy instruments need to be developed to deal with this problem, but it is not easy to see what kind of system might be used, especially for very wide-ranging species.

A second problem may concern private research into farming methods for new species. It is generally difficult to keep the results of such research secret, especially when they are of broad public interest. If matters are simply left to the market it is likely that too little research and development will be undertaken by private companies since they cannot be sure that they will benefit from the results of their efforts. In this situation national governments may want to assist research either through national research institutions or by funding research at company level.

A similar problem concerns the availability of skilled labour, especially in the early days of the sector since workers trained by one company may move on to another. In this case, training by one firm benefits all firms (actual and potential) in the sector. To resolve this problem, the government can either provide training directly via aquaculture degrees and vocational qualifications or subsidize company training programmes.

BOX D.11
Participatory coastal area management in Soufri_re, Saint Lucia

In the late 1980s, the situation in the Soufri_re Bay, on the southwest coast of the island of Saint Lucia, resembled that of many other Caribbean coastal areas. With the expansion of tourism, the impact of land-based activities on coastal environments and changes in fishing technology, new and serious conflicts emerged between the different groups of users of the area's coastal resources. These conflicts had become grave and acrimonious, as pot fishers began to compete with dive operators for access to reef areas, seine fishers began to lose traditional fishing territories to permanent yacht moorings and jetties, and all sectors began to suffer from the effects of general resource degradation and overexploitation.

The initial response of government agencies and other institutions was to establish fishing priority areas, in order to secure fishing access to the most critical fishing grounds, and marine reserves for recreational diving and stock replenishment. These measures, however, failed to reduce the conflicts and, on the contrary, served to exacerbate them further; the resource users had not been consulted in the zoning and establishment of the areas, boundaries had not been clearly demarcated, and rapid changes in the local economy had created new demands and pressures on the resource.

Against this background, a process was started in July 1992. The process sought to resolve the conflicts and to identify management mechanisms that would allow desired economic and social activities to take place in the area. The Department of Fisheries, the government agency responsible for marine resource management in the country, recognized the need for such a consultative process, and collaborated with a NGO, the Soufri_re Regional Development Foundation, in conducting it. A regional NGO, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) assisted with design and facilitation.

The main features of the process, which lasted for a period of 18 months, included: careful identification of all stakeholders; use of both popular and scientific knowledge to assess the resources and the problems affecting them; conduct of formal and informal meetings; use of the mass media and other information channels to generate public interest and `control' over the process; and negotiation of all decisions among all concerned parties. As a result, the Soufri_re Marine Management Area (SMMA) was created as a collaborative management arrangement between government and local stakeholders, which provided for a new zoning of uses in the Soufri_re coastal area, and identified a number of measures to facilitate multiple uses (fishing, recreational diving, marine transportation) whenever possible. The SMMA was formally inaugurated in July 1995.

Within Saint Lucia, the SMMA has been a unique learning experience for all parties involved, and it has also offered important lessons to coastal and marine management agencies in other parts of the Caribbean. It has shown the value of participatory decision-making processes which seek to involve all stakeholders, and it has demonstrated that it is indeed possible to restore the harmony between conflicting uses and activities. But the implementation of the SMMA has also revealed many shortcomings. It has shown that a participatory planning process does not automatically lead to a decentralized and participatory institutional arrangement, and that safeguards are always needed to prevent the return to the status quo of centralized management. It has highlighted the need for local institutional development work that can equip resource users and facilitate their full involvement in management. It has shown that resource-user communities are very diverse, and that indirect representation often leads to the marginalization of the most powerless among them. Above all, it has demonstrated that conflict over resource utilization cannot really be `resolved', but only `managed'.

What is needed, therefore, in the insular Caribbean as well as in other areas where coastal fisheries are threatened by changing patterns in resource use, are conflict management institutions that allow all stakeholders to adapt to changing conditions, to prevent disputes and to gain greater control over the resources on which their livelihoods depend. This is, possibly, the most important lesson from this innovative experiment in participatory coastal area management in Soufri_re, Saint Lucia.

Source: CANARI, 1997,

4.1.3 Conflict resolution

Conflicts are to be expected in the operation of coastal fisheries, both within the sector between sectoral actors and cross-sectorally. Given the finite and limited nature of coastal resources, it is not always easy to avoid conflicts, but they can often be handled effectively and to general satisfaction.

Conflicts will arise within the sector, for example between artisanal and commercial fishers, between commercial fishers when different groups use incompatible gear, or when commercial and recreational fishers' interests diverge. Capture fishers and fish farmers may also come into conflict over site location or for other reasons.

Fishers will come into conflict with other resource users, including those from the agriculture and forestry sectors,33 but also with mining interests (e.g. coral, sand, gravel), tourism and local authorities, when roads or ports are envisaged. Some conflicts will involve locally identifiable actors, others may involve parties that are difficult to pin down (e.g. oil spills, siltation resulting from erosion provoked by distant deforestation).

It is most important to establish strong and effective mechanisms for conflict resolution and this should be a concern of coastal area managers. Various approaches are possible, among which are direct or assisted negotiation and other appropriate means34 which avoid the heavy procedures of the legal system. Administrative approaches may involve the appropriate authority making spatial and/or temporal regulations that favour one group over another or simply ban resource use at least for a period; zoning35 is one form of administrative approach. Economic measures, especially transferable access rights, can, in some cases, enlist the market to solve conflicts; those who place the highest value on resources are able to purchase access to them from others.

The clearer the policy and regulatory frameworks, the more precise the valuation of disputed coastal resources, and the more efficient the management regime, the easier it will be to solve, or even to avoid, conflicts early on.


Policy measures should take account of the value of the resources to be managed, the need to reduce risks and the time-frame over which they may be used. Public awareness and participation in decision-making will greatly increase the chances of successful implementation. Finally, indicators must be designed to assist in the monitoring process.

4.2.1 Public awareness and participation

The public - including the general public but especially local populations and resource users - must be aware of the importance of protecting and managing coastal resources and be able to participate in the management process. Adequate participation in this process, provided for within the legal and institutional frameworks, will contribute to the long-term success of policy measures. A significant public input by stakeholders is especially important at local level; this will increase the likelihood of compliance as mentioned above, reduce the risk of serious errors being made, and reduce alienation of those most likely to be affected. Typical means to achieve local participation include, among many others, consultative committees, public information meetings, discussion papers and debates.36

4.2.2 Valuation of resources

Decision-making on the allocation of coastal resources will be greatly assisted by a proper assessment of their value, taking account of economic, social, cultural and environmental factors. Indeed without such assessments, rational decisions will be virtually impossible. As explained in Part A,37 however, while many coastal resources can be clearly valued, the values are not the same for every user, and some resources have values that cannot be determined in monetary terms. In other words, assessing values is not easy, and various methods proposed generally fail to give satisfactory results.

The aim will be to promote optimum use of resources taking account of the interests of users, non-users and future generations. Valuations can be derived from the clear identification of the goods and services being assessed and, when markets do not exist for them, making valuations that may be purely intuitive.

4.2.3 Reduction of risk

Reducing risk, in the context of ICAM, means identifying impacts on fisheries from both within and outside the sector, and taking measures - or negotiating, through appropriate bodies, with other sectors that have a negative impact or are affected - to reduce such impacts, preferably through preventive action. While it will be impossible to trace all possible linkages, those groups most likely to be substantially affected should be identified.

As for risk assessment, even though this may not be very precise, at least some range of most likely outcomes of particular actions is known. Where an activity is likely to have a negative impact, the user could be required to purchase a bond that would not be refunded if the impact occurs; such a system encourages prevention rather than clean-up. If no effective measures are introduced, negative impacts will continue and society will in effect be subsidizing those who benefit in the short-term from an activity that results in degradation of fisheries resources. Where a conscious decision is be taken by the state to allocate benefits to another sector to the detriment of fisheries, adequate compensation must be provided for.

Given the above factors underlying, and providing the basis for, the state's response to risk and uncertainty there must be an appropriately flexible legal approach.

4.2.4 Indicators and monitoring

Monitoring the application of policy measures and of their effects on the fisheries sector is an essential aspect of the management strategy. A baseline study must be made, and measurable criteria established against which the success or failure of the policy can be assessed and corrective measures implemented. Such criteria will concern the impact of policy measures on the resource base, the environment, the institutional context, the reduction or elimination of conflict, and the control of pollution and other negative impacts. Most important will be the effect of policy on the economic health of the fisheries sector and on the state of the resource.

There is a need to identify those indicators that must be monitored.38 The range will depend on particular circumstances (the nature of the problem, the budget available) but might include (FAO, 1996b):

Perhaps the key issue in the success or failure of any management programme is the monitoring and enforcement of regulations. If regulations have been designed in collaboration with the fisheries industry, including artisanal fishers, the chances of voluntary compliance will be enhanced. Equity and justice are important elements in voluntary compliance, as well as ensuring that measures are economically bearable while having the desired impact.

Monitoring the condition of the resources is also essential. This is usually the aspect that is done best because fisheries biology is the chief area of competence of fisheries research institutes. However, it is the management process that should determine which resources to monitor, not the researchers alone. The functioning of the user-rights system, and the rents extracted, will be relatively easy to monitor; monitoring the impact of policy measures on stock structure may often be more difficult.

Aquaculture will be subject to regulations and criteria relating to choice of site, quality of the water, hygiene, stocking density, waste discharge, etc., aimed partly at avoiding negative impacts on other sectors (in particular, pollution from chemicals, feeds and fertilizers) mainly on capture fisheries and on neighbouring aquaculture sites. Ideally, monitoring of the environmental and socio-economic performances of aquaculture, and of the impact policy has on it, as well as monitoring of the reduction of negative impacts received from elsewhere, should be combined and coordinated in order to facilitate integrated subsectoral information that can be compared with other sectors active in coastal areas.

BOX D.12
Indicators of sustainable fisheries development

In a fisheries context, adopting sustainable development principles requires broadening the traditional fisheries management concerns with sustainable fishing of target species (with associated concepts such as maximum sustainable yield) to consideration of the health of the total ecosystem and the social and economic well-being of all stakeholders in the fishery. The development of a framework for evaluating progress towards achieving this sustainable development of fisheries then requires: specifying what is to be achieved in terms of the fisheries resource, the environment, and the economic and social benefits; defining what is meant by success in meeting these objectives; developing performance indicators against these objectives and a basis for comparison; and implementing the system to include a decision-making framework in which management actions result from a predefined change in indicators.

Performance evaluation. Conceptually, the evaluation process consists of, first, setting clear objectives (focusing on outcomes), defining what a successful outcome would be, developing performance indicators and developing a basis for comparing the indicators (see Figure D.1).

Multiple and hierarchical objectives. In order to achieve sustainable development in fisheries, objectives are needed for all components, not just the harvesting of the resource. The objectives need to provide a framework for decision-making that will sustain both short- and longer-term development. Objectives and strategies are linked in a hierarchy, in that the strategy of one level becomes the objective of the next. One classification of objectives is to start at the top level by considering the human needs and strategies to meet these needs (see Figure D.2). Policy and legislation are then developed to implement these strategies which, in turn, form the basis for overarching fisheries management objectives for a given fisheries jurisdiction. More specific objectives are then developed for individual fisheries; these state what management is attempting to achieve for that fishery. Objectives are often developed for individual stocks based on their biological status and methods of harvesting to make them easier to manage and their performance easier to measure.

Defining success. The next stage is to take each objective/outcome and define success. The main reason for this is that the objectives are written in very general terms and, unless success is defined, the outcomes can be interpreted differently by different people, depending on their perspective. Each outcome is taken separately and a perfect outcome described, considering issues such as cost, timeliness, relevance, accuracy, quality and quantity. Success is then defined in terms of the level of performance that can be realistically achieved.

Developing performance indicators. A performance indicator is a piece of information that focuses on important and useful information, expressed as an index, rate or other ratio in comparison with one or more criteria and monitored at regular intervals. In developing indicators, consideration should be given to who the main users of the indicators will be; the main users will probably be decision-makers in the public and private sectors as well as the general public. Indicators should therefore be highly aggregated so that they provide concise information devoid of detail. Each indicator requires a basis for comparison. Comparisons can be made: with a standard; with a target; with a threshold or limit value; before and after a change; and with a similar management objective made by another agency (a benchmark). Performance indicators should provide information on appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency. Appropriateness is a check on how well objectives match government priorities and community needs; effectiveness measures the extent to which management achieves stated objectives; and efficiency is the extent to which the inputs to management are maximized to provide outputs and outcomes.

Implementing performance indicators. The main problems encountered during the implementation of performance indicators include achieving a simple system that is practical and useful and making rational decisions about the level of investment required to obtain the information needed for a particular indicator. A cost-benefit analysis is needed to determine the level of research and effort that should go into indicators that are expensive to monitor and assess. Another difficulty is to determine who should be introducing the performance indicators. Ultimately, it is a management responsibility but, in cases where industry is heavily involved in management decision-making, the use of a `public watchdog' may be warranted.

Use of indicators in decision-making. One of the main uses of indicators should be to guide decisions. As well as the obvious benefit of providing performance criteria against which governments can assess their rate of progress towards meeting objectives, sustainability indicators can also be used operationally to link future management to agreed actions. These decision rules can provide commitment to remedial action when objectives are not met, providing long-term benefits to both the fishing industry and the public. The process becomes proactive rather than reactive and is transparent to all stakeholders.

`Management strategy evaluation' uses several different performance indicators to evaluate alternative harvest strategies. The problem is posed within a decision-making framework, and involves the following steps: clearly defining a set of management objectives; specifying a set of quantitative performance indices related to each objective; identifying various alternative harvest strategy scenarios; and evaluating the performance indices for each harvest strategy.

In many cases, the evaluation in the last step involves simulating the future development of the fishery over a specified period under each harvest strategy. Examples of performance indices include total catch (or profit) over the period, variability in catch and the frequency with which threshold stock sizes are transgressed. The results are presented as a decision box to allow trade-offs to be made across conflicting objectives.

Source: extracted from Staples, 1997.

Steps required to carry out a performance evaluation
of fisheries management
Hierarchical objectives/outcomes for fisheries management


The coastal fisheries management plan should cover the level of resource exploitation to be allowed, the determination of access to the resources and the means of ensuring compliance with plan provisions. These objectives should be pursued while avoiding irreversible changes in the resource base. However, account must be taken of changing economic, social, technical and environmental circumstances, and evolving societal perceptions.39 In other words, management must be willing to adapt plans over time and revise them in the light of changing conditions.

4.3.1 Negotiation of trade-offs

Trade-offs will be needed within the plan formulation process since some objectives will always be incompatible and a choice will have to be made. Similarly, where there is conflict over finite resources, compromise between potential users will be necessary. Such trade-offs must be negotiated through appropriate channels. Handling trade-offs satisfactorily is a central aspect of the policy process. In seeking to implement trade-offs, the difficulty lies in applying fairly simple solutions to complex situations (for example, how to `zone' the coastal area seawards).

4.3.2 Capacity building

Application of the plan, monitoring and ensuring compliance with related regulations, depends crucially on capacity building.

Collection and analysis of information. Collecting reliable information on coastal areas, fisheries in particular, is notoriously difficult. As mentioned in Part A,40 it will often be necessary to make do with such information as is available in formulating plans and applying the precautionary principle where there is doubt. Given the need for flexibility, the plan will, in any event, be adapted as changes, including additional information, arise.

Research requirements. Research will be an important source of information, especially about the resource but also, potentially, about the economic and social impact of the plan. Research should be interdisciplinary, taking account of environmental, biological, economic, social, legal and institutional aspects of coastal fisheries management. Since many countries face budgetary constraints, care is needed to determine research priorities. Fisheries authorities, traditionally concerned mainly with the fish stock, must enlarge their research horizons to cross-sectoral aspects such as socio-economic issues. Mechanisms should also be found to ensure that research results are widely circulated and, if possible, that summaries are available in simple language for use by non-specialists, in the form of information leaflets, for example. Research can be commissioned on the impact of regulations under the plan to demonstrate their benefits, but also to suggest adjustments where necessary. Finally, it is desirable that suitable representatives of the fishing community sit on boards of directors of research institutes.

Use of information and research for policy analysis. Agencies of government must have the staff resources to analyse and exploit information and research results and apply them to fisheries management policy and plans. Where necessary, training should be provided to this end since, otherwise, resources spent on research and the generation of information will be wasted. Similarly, fisheries authorities must ensure that they dispose of the capacity to use tools such as environmental impact assessment, cross-sectoral policy analysis, geographical information systems and various economic valuation techniques.

Institutional arrangements. Institutional arrangements for integrated coastal fisheries management must begin by defining the appropriate management unit, which should be broad enough to include all the elements that play a significant role in the fisheries system. The agency with major responsibility for coordination should have a mandate to initiate cross-sectoral planning. Setting up consultative committees, stimulating the establishment of fishers' organizations where they do not exist already, ensuring that legislation avoids overlapping (a strong risk in the area of aquaculture) and allows for participation will also contribute to the physical institutional structure. Ensuring that information circulates as widely as possible, as mentioned above, is also part of the institutional arrangements.

Enforcement capacity. A strong enforcement capacity will be required if plan objectives are to be achieved, especially with respect to the environment and sustainable resources management. Legislation should be drafted in collaboration with the enforcement authorities to increase the chances of conviction in the courts when necessary. Ideally, the management authorities should control the enforcement authorities, which is difficult in cases where the navy ensures enforcement, but this is less likely to apply to coastal resources. Observers are often placed on vessels, especially foreign ones; the observer is paid for by the fishing company as part of its licence, and this could open the risk of abuse. Observers also provide very useful information about the fishing operation, including biological data which are difficult to obtain by other means.

As already mentioned, when regulations have been drawn up in consultation with users and agreed on a consensual basis, enforcement should be easier since compliance should be by common consent.

BOX D.13
Possible research topics for fisheries authorities relevant to the integration of fisheries into coastal area management

Ecological functions. These need to be understood to assess the impact of proposed projects on different users of the coastal area, including fishers, and will include studies of overall carrying capacity, impact reversibility, etc.

Resource dynamics. These include research to distinguish between the natural variability of resources and human impact, and to predict long-term trends resulting from management action and/or climate change.

Applied research. This includes research aimed at, for example, studying sectoral dynamics and developing cheap and simple ecological monitoring schemes based on appropriate environmental hazard assessment and prediction methods.

Socio-economics studies. These are carried out to identify the factors underlying the economic activities in the coastal area and impinging upon it, the application of valuation techniques, and the design and impact of economic incentive systems.

Institutional issues. These include the legal and property rights framework needed to allow market pricing, organizational arrangements for local-level management by communities and the development of co-management over larger areas.

Source: FAO 1996b.

4.3.3 Integrating fisheries plans into national plans

In the context of ICAM, fisheries plans will be integrated into overall plans for integrated management of the coastal area, at both national and local levels. The process for achieving this is described in Part A.41

25 This section takes account of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries adopted at the Twenty-Eighth Session of the FAO Conference in October 1995 (Resolution 4/95).

26 See Part A, Section 2.2.4.

27 See Part A, Box A.26.

28 Such methods are widely used in Japanese and Korean inshore fisheries for example. They have also been used in some shellfish fisheries, e.g. the Solent oyster fishery (Guillotreau and Cunningham, 1994), where the sedentary nature of the stocks simplifies the management problem. In the United Kingdom, the allocation of quotas to producers' organizations to manage is another step in this direction. In many situations, an important factor preventing fishers themselves from implementing management measures is their large number. If the numbers of fishers can be reduced, then area licensing is a possible means of achieving improved management (Wilen, 1988).

29 An example of the kind of problem is provided by the catch key of the European Common Fisheries Policy. This catch key was agreed administratively in 1983 together with a principle of relative stability. Over time, the preferences of different national fishers for different species have changed but allocations are still based on the original catch key. Various convoluted arrangements then have to be implemented to rearrange allocations among countries according to current preferences. A system of users' rights would allow such changes to occur as and when necessary with no need for any administrative intervention.

30 See Part A. Box A.6.

31 See Part A, Section 2.4.4 and Box A.22.

32 See Part A, Box A.5.

33 See Part A, Section 1.5.

34 See Part A, Section 2.3.4 and Box A.11 and Part E, Section 4.

35 See Part A, Section 2.2.5 and Box A.6.

36 See Part A, Box A.20.

37 See Part A, Section 1.6.1 and Box A.24.

38 See Box D.12 and also part A, Section 2.3.6

39 As societies grow more affluent, they tend to attribute greater value to the environment; developed country standards cannot be expected of poorer ones.

40 See Part A, Section 1.6.3

41 See Part A, Section 2.3 and 2.4 and Figure A.7.

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