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3. Information requirements


The economic health of the sector is closely linked to the condition of the fish resource base. Its assessment should be a multidisciplinary exercise closely linked to policy-oriented information needs. The 1993-94 situation of the Canadian northern cod fishery and the consequences for the fishers, for the whole Newfoundland community and for the Canadian Government are testimony to the importance of knowing and understanding the resource base (see Box D.4).

Newfoundland cod fishery

Depletion of the North Atlantic cod stock compared to historical levels was evident as early as the mid-1970s, yet adjustments to quota levels lagged behind stock declines. A special meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in June 1992 recommended that catches should not exceed 50 000 tonnes, the low range of F0.1 values. The meeting could not specify the cause of decline but, in addition to overfishing, it identified other negative influences such as the impact on cod recruitment of cold water currents in the northwest Atlantic and increased predation on young cod by harp seal populations which had expanded since culling was banned. Recent declines in capelin, the principal food organism of cod, might also be involved.

Disagreements on the management objective for this straddling stock may have been a prime cause of stock depletion, but the differences in the scientific advice based on commercial catch per unit effort versus research survey indices, also contributed to the uncertainty of advice. Possible biases in abundance trends can probably not be excluded, since the calendar of research surveys on the seasonally migrating stock was fixed, while seasonal patterns were in a period of change. Serious differences in the advice formulated, using several population dynamic models, was the main reason why it was not possible to make an agreed stock projection in June 1992.

The fact of the stock decline, about which no one disagrees, also raises a number of controversial political issues. These include the need to reinforce the roles of fisheries commissions and coastal states in regulating fisheries on those portions of straddling stocks lying beyond EEZs. Although the areas falling outside the Canadian 200-mile zone are relatively small, a more significant part of the stock, through migration, may occur in these areas at certain periods of the year. Here, there has been disagreement between the coastal states, who recommend F0.1 management criteria, and distant-water-fishing countries wishing to fish at higher levels of exploitation. Added to this were the problems of deciding on a uniform approach by all participants to fishery surveillance. This case also illustrates the difficulties faced by commissions not having independent means to control biases in statistical reporting and surveillance, particularly when such reporting has direct implications on quotas in the following year. The inertia of the quota allocation mechanism is evident, particularly in a period when some assessments did not unambiguously reflect declining stocks. The closure of domestic fisheries by the Canadian Government in 1992, followed by a compensation package to support fishers in a province with high unemployment and few job alternatives, has had severe consequences for coastal communities.

Source: FAO, 1994b.

3.1.1 Information requirements

The first information requirement is a sound description of the fishery resources themselves. The fisheries authorities, economists and scientists should be able to identify the most important species for the country and concentrate their efforts, at least initially, on those species. Determining these species and main issues concerning them will depend on the extent to which particular instances contribute to meeting the objectives of fisheries policy. Typical goals might include employment, contribution to balance of payments, earning foreign exchange and/or supplying domestic markets. However, research priorities often seem to have depended on the interests of particular scientists with the consequence that the best information may concern a species of relatively minor societal importance, notwithstanding its scientific interest. Such a situation represents a failure of fisheries policy. The fisheries authorities must establish research priorities, and possibly make funding for research depend on its relevance to management needs. Curiosity-driven research programmes are doubtless of interest, but they may turn out to be inadequately focused from a management perspective.

Priority issues. Priority issues will usually concern estimations of current yields, potential yields and their variability, and expected impacts of policy measures on future yields. The focus of fisheries science has traditionally been on estimating sustainable yields associated with different effort levels, and in particular on estimating maximum sustainable yields (MSY). There has been some tendency for fisheries administrators to consider MSY as a fixed potential of the stock, and as a management target. More recently however, management-oriented research has tended to move away from the assessment of target values and single-figure estimates.

Policy objectives will determine the choice of reference points for management, which in turn condition the performance indicators used and the related data needs. In a number of cases, for example, policies may rely on the objective of avoiding severe ecological, economic and social disturbances (Willmann, 1983). Avoidance of risks of overfishing, defined in various ways, have been granted growing importance in the definition of fisheries policies. The various possible reference points for fisheries management are reviewed by Caddy and Mahon (1995) and Garcia (1996). The latter includes threshold reference points based on biological or economic considerations (see Box D.5). From a management perspective, adopting such reference points implies the definition of a monitoring system that allows early detection of risks of `overshooting' agreed thresholds.

Precaution and management reference points

Reference points (RPs) have always been used in management, explicitly or implicitly, and are not a particular characteristic of the precautionary approach to fisheries. Precaution will relate to the choice of reference points (and their resource-related properties) and to the way in which they are used. A management reference point is therefore `an estimated value derived from an agreed scientific procedure and an agreed model to which corresponds a state of the resource and of the fishery and which can be used as a guide for fisheries management'. They are meaningful only with reference to the underlying theory, model, method and data used to estimate them, as well as species to which they apply. Thus, reference points should be reassessed periodically as new data are collected and new understandings or methods become available.

Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference point. For decades, MSY has been used as a reference point by research, development and management and considered as a last-resort threshold for stock `sustainability'. Research has amply argued that, even at MSY, stock instability and risk of recruitment failure are sometimes already high. This, added to the fact that MSY and the fishing rate corresponding to it are usually difficult to determine accurately, should mean that MSY is not considered as being a precautionary target, particularly for stocks with low resilience or high natural variability.

Target reference point (TRP). A TRP corresponds to the state of a fishery and/or resource that is considered desirable and at which fisheries management aims. In most cases, a TRP will be expressed as a level of desirable output from a fishery (e.g. related to catch) and will correspond to an explicit objective of the fishery. When a TRP is reached during a development process, management action should aim to maintain the fishery system at its level, e.g. through establishment of total allowable catches and quotas or through effort controls (see ` Precautionary use of RPs and threshold reference points', below).

Limit reference points (LRPs). A LRP indicates the state of a fishery and/or resource that is considered undesirable. Fishery development should be stopped before reaching the LRP, thus reducing the risk of inadvertently `crossing' the limit. Limits are usually expressed in biological terms (e.g. minimum spawning biomass required) but could be expressed in economic terms (e.g. minimum profitability), even though this does not seem to have been done yet. A common way to specify LRPs is to express them as a percentage of the virgin biomass below which the stock should not be driven. When a LRP is approached, management action should severely curtail or stop fishery development, as appropriate, and corrective action should be taken.

Precautionary use of RPs and threshold reference points (ThRPs). The two major sources of bad performance in a reference points system are the accuracy and precision with which the RPs are determined and their adequacy to the fishery system dynamics. Because of the uncertainty inherent in their determination, RPs should preferably relate to probabilities (e.g. specifying both their central value and confidence limits). This uncertainty, combined with uncertainty in the current value of the fishing mortality or stock biomass, implies a certain probability that RPs be `missed' (e.g. overfishing or underfishing, reliability of statistics). Furthermore, the fishery system has its own dynamics, and fishing fleets have a high level of inertia (resistance to change), as a result of various financial, technical, cultural and administrative factors. As a consequence, stopping fleets from evolving or expanding, and reversing or only modifying historical trends, are not trivial tasks and may require time in addition to political will and incentives.

Two solutions are generally offered to deal with both of these problems: choosing more precautionary references; and using the references in a more precautionary way. It is possible to select different reference points based on the level of precaution desired, or on acceptable risk, and this is usually achieved at the expense of some potential economic benefits. It is also possible to keep the same RPs, using them differently. The probability of inadvertently `crossing' a TRP when aiming strictly at it, is 50 percent. These results could only be obtained through fishing at a level somewhat lower than otherwise possible, on average, and this second solution is therefore equivalent to replacing the reference point by a more precautionary one. Precaution will be ensured by combining TRPs and LRPs which will most often refer to different control or status variables of the fishery system.

ThRPs indicate that the state of a fishery and/or a resource is approaching a TRP or a LRP and that a certain type of action (preferably agreed beforehand) is to be taken to avoid (or reduce the probability) of the TRP or LRP being accidentally exceeded. It provides an early warning when critical reference points are being approached, reducing the risk of these points (and the management objectives they give rise to) of being violated.

Ecosystem reference points. Ecosystem management is `the maintenance of ecological relationships between harvested, dependent and related species' as well as the `prevention of change or minimization of the risk of change in the marine ecosystem which are not potentially reversible'. This requirement is precautionary in nature in the sense that it requires the integrity and essential functions of the ecosystem to be preserved as a prerequisite to fisheries sustainability. In practice, however, the way of managing entire ecosystems is not yet known. Management therefore has to be flexible, adaptive and experimental at scales compatible with the scales of critical ecosystem functions. It has been proposed, for instance, that in multispecies management, a reasonable strategy would be to exploit all species in proportion to their abundance in order to maintain the overall ecosystem structure.

Source: extracted from Garcia, 1996.

In addition, advice offered to managers is tending towards range estimates sometimes associated with probabilities. There is a need to reinforce this approach in order to force managers to consider explicitly the risks and uncertainties inherent in the exploitation and management of multispecies fisheries and ecosystems. This is particularly true where complex coastal interactions are taken into account.

In this context, research is needed to evaluate the degree of stability of different fisheries. Long-term data sets need to be developed to deal with this kind of question. Along the same lines, consideration must be given to the resilience of the fish stock in the face of its exploitation. The search for answers to these questions may require a different approach to management whereby measures are implemented deliberately with a view to generating information about the exploited system's response to various events. This kind of experimental approach to management has long been advocated by some fisheries analysts (e.g. Walters, 1986).

Resource characteristics. An appropriate characterization of the resource base will rest on complementary biological and socio-economic information.

For the major targeted species, estimating potential yields will require assessment of key parameters, such as growth, reproduction and biomass. Given the biological/fisheries science background of many fishery research institutes around the world, such features are often among the most investigated aspects of fisheries and fish stocks. For aquaculture, in addition to information relating to the fish species, biophysical information on the resource base will also include space characteristics on land and at sea (e.g. topographic and hydrographic characteristics), related availability of water of the quality required, and availability of nutrients, food organisms, etc.

On the other hand, economic and social information is often weak for both fisheries and aquaculture, certainly in comparison with biological and technical information. Economic information has usually been collected in an ad hoc manner, meaning that few time series of data of the same quality and consistency as that developed for biological assessments are available.

Economic and social impact. Economic impact analysis estimates the activity generated in the economy from the various activities related to the fisheries sector. The anticipated impact of policy measures on the economy, both within and outside the sector, can thus be assessed. Developing the fisheries sector may have an important economic impact in terms of labour and capital employed on the sector itself and, via multiplier linkages, on other sectors related to the fisheries sector. Typical indicators of the economic impact of the fisheries sector would include gross value of production, value added, capital and labour operating in the fishery and income and employment multipliers.

Another requirement is to establish the social significance of the sector. Various indicators might be taken, depending to some extent on the objectives assigned to the sector by the management authorities. Typical variables would include earnings, employment and contribution to food security.

However, such impacts per se do not reflect the social value of the activity because the labour and capital employed have an opportunity cost (i.e. if they were not involved in fishing, they would be employed elsewhere). Because of political factors and because a sectoral approach is adopted, undue weight is often given to economic impacts.

Economic value. If access to the fish stock is not restricted, the economic returns on the stock will be perceived as profit to exploiters and will encourage more labour and capital to be employed.13 If the stock were to be placed in the hands of an owner, then the owner could be expected to charge for use of the resource. Such payments would be similar to payments made to landowners for the use of land.

In the case of fish stocks, it is often argued that the government should assert ownership of the resource on behalf of society in general (trusteeship). Whatever the ownership structure, the economic value of the resource will become apparent only where there is someone who takes it into consideration.

Important elements are therefore an estimate of the resource rent potential of a fishery and consideration of the impact of different policies on such rent. Such studies might be done on the basis of simulations. Estimates should at least be made of their level in the different parts of the fisheries system, including factors of production (e.g. labour), upstream sectors (e.g. boat-building) and downstream sectors (e.g. marketing and processing). As noted by Willmann (1983), the former two will influence input costs of fishing, while the latter will influence the output value of fishing; imperfect market conditions may lead to a part of the resource rent being appropriated by factors of production, upstream activities or downstream activities through underpriced outputs or overpriced inputs. At least a qualitative assessment of these effects should be made available.

The difference between economic impact and value can be particularly important, for example, in the analysis of conflicts between different components of the fishing sector on fishing grounds, e.g. conflicts between industrial fleets and artisanal fleets. In this case, comparisons based on economic impact and those based on economic value may yield different conclusions as to the relative contribution of each component to the welfare of a country (Palfreman and Insull, 1994). From an economic welfare perspective it seems far more important to estimate economic value than impact, although studies of both may be required.

Integrated coastal fisheries management in Trinidad and Tobago

The FAO/UNDP project, Integrated Coastal Fisheries Management (ICFM), has undertaken a pilot project in Trinidad and Tobago (Gulf of Paria) with the objective of developing improved methodologies and coordinating mechanisms for ICFM. The project's principal strategy was to strengthen the capability of the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources to integrate the subsector's concerns in the wider framework of coastal area management and development planning. This entailed the following broad elements:

  • consolidation of the information base on fisheries and on other sectors' impacts on them;
  • creation of awareness of the socio-economic contribution of the fisheries sector and of its role as a natural monitoring unit of the environment;
  • strengthening of organization and representation among fishers, fishing communities and other related occupations;
  • promotion of the supportive role of the Fisheries Division in coastal area management matters.

Source: extracted from Trinidad and Tobago, Government of the Republic of, FAO/UN

3.1.2 Identification of research requirements

In addition to the impact and value studies referred to above, investigations may be required into: costs and earnings of vessels; the distribution of earnings between participants in the fishery; economic and social linkages; fish distribution margins; margins of input suppliers; and alternative employment opportunities.

Market structures should also be investigated to ascertain the degree of competition and, in particular, to identify market imperfections. In themselves, high margins are not particularly revealing since they may arise from many sources (e.g. skill shortages in particular areas such as fish trading), and profits serve a socially useful resource allocation function by signalling areas of the economy to which more resources should be devoted.

3.1.3 Tools for collecting information

The responsible authorities should be able to provide a description of the sector which would include, for example, the capture fishery and marine aquaculture subsector, its history, location, size, structure, markets and fleet dynamics.

This is not a trivial task since, in many situations, information on the sector is collected by numerous different agencies. It is common to find, for example, that different agencies use different codes for the same species. In some cases, different agencies may have different definitions of the same species and, therefore, different aggregations of species may be used. It is the role of the authorities to ensure the compatibility of collection and archival systems.

One agency should be responsible for the country's fisheries statistical system and coordinate the activities of the various agencies involved. Such agencies might include one or more research institutes (collecting biological and economic information), the customs service (collecting export and import data), the enforcement agency (often the navy), fish markets, the licensing authority, the regulatory agency (responsible for drafting regulations), etc.

Information collection and analysis will only lead to a learning process if a reliable record is kept of past data and analysis concerning the dynamics of the resource. An important task of the fisheries authorities is to establish baseline studies with which future assessments are to be compared in order to improve understanding of the biological and socio-economic impacts of policies.

The constitution of the required information will rest on the acquisition of both primary and secondary data. The former involve direct observation of the biophysical and socio-economic factors of interest (e.g. censuses, surveys, remote sensing), and can also involve some form of measuring and recording equipment. The latter involve using information that is already available, organized in various formats (e.g. data sets, maps, photographs, published or unpublished texts), from sources including government agencies, research institutes, libraries and international organizations. Tools for the collection of primary and secondary data in fisheries are described in Meaden and DoChi (1996).

For both biophysical and socio-economic information, the choice of primary data collection methods (e.g. periodic sample surveys in capture fisheries or target study sites in aquaculture, continuous monitoring schemes for key parameters) will depend on data needs and the means available. In both components of the fisheries sector, regular observation and reporting by resource users may also play an important role in the rapid detection of significant variations.

Explicit inclusion of risk and uncertainty in the information provided as an output of monitoring and analysis of fisheries data can require a large amount of information and technicality. The subjective views of participants, based on their experience, can also be useful in the policy process (Caddy and Mahon, 1995).

Biological information. Assessment of the current and potential yields from exploited stocks requires both biological data on the resources and technical data on the fisheries. Where parameters such as growth are not known, and in particular when fisheries are not developed, it may be possible to derive an idea of likely values from studies of similar species in other areas. However, local studies are to be preferred and, if not available, should be initiated.

For capture fisheries, data collection methods include research vessel campaigns and/or the monitoring of commercial fisheries. However, where a fishery is already developed, it will usually provide most of the information required.

Information on patterns and trends in magnitude and distribution of catches and landings are usually considered as the minimum requirement of an information system for capture fisheries. Most often, a catch assessment survey will be based on a sampling framework designed to monitor catches in time and space. Catch data can, however, also be collected either systematically or using sampling methods (Neiland et al., 1994), as the production passes through transport and marketing.

Both in research vessel surveys and in monitoring of commercial fisheries, catch sampling frameworks will usually be designed to collect complementary data, including effort, length and age frequencies, length to weight ratios and data concerning fishing gear and operations. While some of these data will be easy to record (e.g. length or weight), others may prove more difficult to measure accurately (e.g. age of fish).14

Economic and social information. Much of the economic and social information required may be available through secondary data. However, as a result of potential gaps in the data and the need for consistency in the information available, primary data should also be collected, with cost-effectiveness being the main determinant of methods chosen.

For example, where information on the main units of the fisheries system (farms, fish farmers, ports, boats, fishers, markets, transportation network) is required, tools could include land- or water-based censuses, periodic sample surveys and/or the use of remote sensing techniques.15

Data on income and profitability can be collected as part of a catch assessment survey or in a separate costs and earnings survey. Once the results of such studies are known, they can be used to assess the fishery and its management, for example via bio-economic simulation models, such as FAO's BEAM 4 (see Box D.7).

Bio-Economic Analytical Model: BEAM 4

Bio-economic models can address three basic questions.

First, they can help explain why a fishery has developed in a certain pattern, for example, why many investments were made in one type of fishery while no significant developments have taken place in other fisheries.

Second, they can help in the identification and selection of the most effective policy measures to achieve one or a set of economic and social objectives. For example, a fairly widespread policy measure is the provision of subsidies during periods of economic distress. Without a thorough analysis of the bio-economic effects of subsidies, the government may aggravate the economic crisis rather than contribute to a lasting economic recovery of the sector.

Third, they can help in determining the appropriate prescription for the selected policy measure(s). Here there are a wide variety of examples, ranging from the right minimum mesh, to the right timing of the closed season and to the right numbers and types of vessels to be allowed to exploit a particular fisheries resource. Taking the latter example, determining the optimum fleet size is, of course, also of direct relevance in the planning of investments into fishing harbours and allied onshore facilities.

The Bio-Ecomomic Analytical Model (BEAM 4) is a FAO-designed programme for deterministic bio-economic simulation models, handling several target and by-catch species and several fleets operating sequentially or simultaneously across several areas and landing in several processing plants. It takes account of migration and seasonal recruitment. The objective of BEAM 4 is to predict yield, value and a series of measures of economic performance as a function of fishery management measures such as control of fishing effort, closed season, closed areas and minimum mesh size regulations. BEAM 4 is a versatile tool for the rational management of exploited living aquatic resources.

The model behind BEAM 4 is an age-structured cohort-based fish stock assessment model combined with an economic model of both harvesting and processing sectors. The basic purpose of bio-economic modelling may best be derived from the objectives of fisheries policies at large. These objectives may include higher incomes for fishing families, better supply of fish to consumers, increased earning of foreign exchange or the creation of employment. The measures of economic performance calculated by the economic submodel include private profit, profitability, gross value added, net value added, national net value added, resource rent, employment, costs in foreign exchange and foreign exchange earnings.

BEAM 4 is primarily designed for the analysis of tropical mixed fisheries with penaeid shrimps as the target and fin-fish as the by-catch. However, in principle it may be used to analyse any fishery. It is suitable for the analysis of resources shared between artisanal and industrial fisheries.

Source: extracted from Sparre and Willmann, 1992.

For the aquaculture sector, various performance criteria might be developed similar to those used for agricultural activities, in terms of profitability, rates of return on capital invested, employment, physical production, labour productivity, etc. Information on these indicators will need to be collected, as for capture fisheries, e.g. through surveys.

In the case of small-scale artisanal fisheries, in particular in developing countries, special care should be taken in defining and measuring income and profitability indicators. First, the fishing unit may not be the relevant decision unit to consider where it is only an element of a larger household production function. A growing number of studies have shown the importance of such production structures in many developing countries. Second, and partly as a consequence, the unpriced nature of a number of inputs (e.g. gear, boat, labour) and outputs (e.g. production consumed by the household or traded outside the market) must also be acknowledged. These `non-market' dimensions of the activity should be taken into account in data collection and analysis. Participatory assessment surveys are useful tools for this purpose.16


In addition to an adequate description of the resource base, the integration of fisheries management into coastal area management requires information on the environmental parameters affecting its dynamics.

3.2.1 Information requirements

The importance of coastal ecosystems for the productivity of both wild and cultivated fish stocks is now well established. Assessing the nature and the extent of human-induced changes in the biophysical environment, their origin and their consequences is essential. This will mostly be based on the evaluation of local interactions, although in some cases it may also be necessary to consider wider biophysical changes (e.g. climate change, ocean circulation patterns)17 to explain locally observed dynamics.

Biophysical information may be required concerning changes in critical habitats, in water and sediment quality and in ecosystem structure. Where possible, the value of such changes should be assessed, for example, in the case of changes in economic value of the fisheries sector associated to these biophysical changes.

Habitat characteristics. The nature of the links between the various commercial fish stocks and their productivity must be understood, and critical habitats identified. A key role for the fisheries authorities is to provide information on these areas. To begin with, it will be useful simply to identify them and the kind of benefits they provide (e.g. in the case of mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass beds, estuaries). Information should then be provided on their present status, for instance the degree (percent) to which they have been affected and the implications for the fisheries sector. The authorities should try to identify the causes of these transformations.

Changes in the water column and sediment. A major cross-sectoral interaction in which the fisheries sector is involved (and usually suffers from) is induced by the quality of water and sediment. Information is needed on the impact of changes in water quality and on the dynamics of wild and cultivated fish stocks (e.g. recruitment, growth, mortality). A distinction is usually made between `contamination' and `pollution' of the marine environment (Barg, 1992). Only the latter implies adverse effects significant enough to become unacceptable. Measuring pollution will thus rest on a preliminary definition of acceptable levels of human-induced environmental change. To a large extent, this will be related to the priorities and objectives assigned to the fisheries sector.

Social and economic environment. The environment in which the fisheries sector operate influences interactions between the components of the sector and between the sector and other sectors (e.g. economic linkages). It should therefore be possible to have information on selected regional and national indicators, such as prices of substitute products for fish, price of fuel, tax regime on inputs and outputs, employment, transport infrastructure and availability of alternative sources of income.

3.2.2 Research requirements

A number of issues will probably require further research, including effects of pollution on marine organisms or risk for human health posed by consumption of polluted marine organisms. More generally, research is required into the whole area of the valuation and pricing of environmental goods and services under various schemes of resource allocation,18 as well as into monitoring and analysis of the impact of management measures where implemented.

Better measurement of the multispecies dimension of coastal fisheries and improved understanding of coastal fishing's and aquaculture's impacts on the structure of coastal species assemblages are also required. Methodologies for assessing the extent and impacts of by-catch and discards in capture fisheries are being developed (e.g. Alverson et al., 1994). For impacts specific to aquaculture, environmental assessment and monitoring efforts should be related to the scale of the perceived impact of a given aquaculture operation (Barg 1992; GESAMP, 1996b).

3.2.3 Tools for collecting information

Primary data on the biophysical changes observed in the coastal environment and their causes (e.g. land use, effluents) can be collected through monitoring of key parameters, surveillance of target sites and/or species, and regular observation by resource users. Remote sensing is also very useful.19

Much useful secondary data concerning the economic and social environment in which the fisheries sector operates can be collected by improving links between the fisheries agencies and the other sectoral and/or governmental agencies and resource users.

The assessment of the economic value of human-induced biophysical changes in the coastal environment can rest on a variety of methods, depending on the nature of changes considered. Cost-benefit analysis is one such method.20

Co-management can work! Canada's Maritime Fishers' Union

The Canadian Atlantic fishery has been going through difficult times. However, not all inshore fishers depend on cod and many make a good living from lobster. Many fishers are members of the Maritime Fishers' Union (MFU) which has been successfully collaborating with government regulators and enforcers to ensure adherence to restrictions on size, egg-bearing females and limited entry to lobster resources.

Relations between unions such as MFU and the government have not always been peaceful. In the early days, one of the rallying cries of the movement was that collective bargaining rights for inshore fishers should be recognized. The demand was to include such rights in the same or similar bargaining legislation as Canada's trade union movement had won for industrial workers. However, over the past two decades, inshore fishers and their union have been caught up in the general upheavals of the Canadian fishing industry. In the case of both the cod and the herring fisheries, the Canadian Government did not prove effective in protecting either the livelihood of the inshore fishers or the resource itself against the expansion of catching capacity by the larger fleets.

Organizations such as MFU in the past were never really able to make themselves heard until the damage had already been done. However, the fisheries crisis itself has helped reinforce the demands of such organizations for more responsible fisheries policies in the future. There is little doubt that their efforts have helped to create a general consensus on fisheries management in Canada, with an emphasis on limited-entry licensing and a range of controls on fishing activities and quotas. And they have been able to prove that co-management between the government and fishworkers' organizations Ð for example, in the lobster industry Ð is both cost-efficient and effective.

Source: Belliveau, 1995.


3.3.1 Information requirements

Institutions determine the rules with which individual users are confronted within and outside the fisheries sector. They include national and regional legislative frameworks, but also the customary regimes under which individuals operate, in particular with respect to access to, and use of, coastal resources.21

Organizations influence the nature of the decision-making process, its structure (e.g. more or less decentralized) and its degree of integration (e.g. more or less fragmented). Interactions between fisheries organizations and other government agencies responsible for land-use planning and coastal development policy should be documented, as should the decision-making processes in all sectors that have an impact on the coastal area.

Existing institutions should be assessed with respect to their responsibilities for coordination and resource allocation in coastal areas. Most importantly, gaps in the institutional context concerning coastal resources must be identified. Also, the responsibilities of different institutions may overlap. This is particularly likely to concern the area of customary use rights, often neglected or obliterated by modern institutional set-ups, particularly in developing countries. Similar problems may arise in the case of legislation. For instance, it is not uncommon for different ministries to adopt laws and statutory instruments that are in conflict with one another.

The technical capabilities of the various agencies (e.g. the planning and economics division of the fisheries authorities) need to be assessed in order to evaluate training needs. In relation to this, a study should be undertaken of research and training organizations relevant to the sector, in order to identify possible repetition, inadequacies to the sector's needs and potential economies of scale. Areas for improving links between official government research agencies and the higher education sector should be identified.

The role of the industry itself needs to be considered. The role of non-governmental organizations (e.g. industry organizations, employers' and fishers' federations, marine conservation organizations) should be assessed. A usual approach to the preparation of policy measures is to establish consultative committees where government officials, scientists and fishers' representatives can meet to discuss management problems and seek solutions. Such decision-making bodies should be identified and, where they do not exist,22 they should be set up.

It can be noted that the whole area of appropriate institutional and organizational arrangements merits much thought. Aspects that particularly need to be considered are, for example: the role and structure of the fisheries administration; consultation processes and the devolution of management authority; community-based organizations and management; decentralized versus centralized regulation; and the use of economic incentives, enforcement, etc.

3.3.2 Tools for collecting information

An important part of the institutional and organizational information will usually be available in the form of secondary data obtained from legal and administrative sources and various existing documents concerning the coastal area. Participatory methods and tools23 can give rise to primary information of particular interest in the field of institutional and organizational problems and opportunities.

It is highly desirable to store the information gathered on the fisheries sector in a way that facilitates combined use. This is particularly the case given the potentially wide variety of data sources, formats and dimensions to be considered when integrating information concerning the resource base, the environment and the institutional and organizational context of the fisheries sector. Given that important aspects of this information have a geographical dimension (e.g. location of catches or fish farms, patterns of environmental interactions and spatial coverage of institutional systems), geographical information systems (GIS) appear very useful for this purpose.24 GIS is a particularly useful tool in integrating fisheries information into the wider coastal area management information needs.

13 See Section 1.2.1 and Part A, Box A.2.

14 Basic sampling theory and sampling desig and examples of statistical procedures for the collection and analysis of capture fisheries data are presented, for example, in Caddy and Baziogos (1985); Sparre, Ursin and Venema (1992); and Hillborn and Walters (1992). Methods for the collection of biophysical information concerning the resource base for coastal aquaculture (including site requirements in terms of space and water) are reviewed by Barg (1992).

15 Application of remote sensing tools to fisheries are presented in Butler et al., (1998); see also Part A, Box A.18.

16 Indications on participatory appraisal methods are found in Part A, Box A.20.

17 The potential effects of global warming would presumably affect many coastal areas through sea-level rise, water temperature increase, deviations from present patterns of precipitation, wind and water circulation. Estuaries would experience loss of habitat, intrusion of marine waters and associated organisms, changes in circulation patterns that affect retention of some indigenous species, and increased hypoxia and storm surges (Barg and Wijkstr_m, 1994).

18 See Part A, Section 2.4.3.

19 FAO has produced a manual of methods on aquatic environment research covering the methodological aspects of detection, measurement and monitoring of the impacts of pollution on marine ecosystems. In particular, Gray, McIntyre and Stirn (1991) consider the specific aspects of impacts on marine life and describe techniques used for information collection and analysis. Aquaculture-specific pollution assessment and monitoring methods are described in Barg (1992), Kapetsky and Travaglia (1995) and GESAMP (1996b).

20 See Part A, Box A.22.

21 See Part A, Sections 1.6.1 and 2.2.2.

22 See Section 4.1.1 and also Part A, Sections 2.3.4.

23 See Part A, Box A.18 and Figure A.12.

24 See Part A, Box A.17. Applications of GIS to the fisheries sector are presented in Meaden and DoChi (1996).

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