Robin Tilney and M.G. Purves
Marine and Coastal Management (formerly Sea Fisheries), Private Bag X2, Rogge Bay, 8012, South Africa.
Abstract: South Africa implemented a new Marine Living Resources Act in September 1998, which has brought about major changes to the fishing industry. The paper explores the impact these changes will have on the ability of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) to maintain control over fishing activities, and the measures introduced in order to address short- and long-term deficiencies in monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS). The use of scientific observers and vessel monitoring systems (VMS) is discussed and South Africa's involvement in regional and international fisheries monitoring initiatives is raised. A case history of integrated monitoring in the Patagonian toothfish longline fishery is presented.
Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) is a governmental organisation which falls under the auspices of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Among other functions, it is responsible for the sustainable management of renewable marine resources and for the administration and policing of the many and varied fishing activities in South Africa's waters.
Following the democratic elections of 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) Government set about formulating a new Marine Living Resources policy for South Africa, which culminated in the Marine Living Resources Act, proclaimed in September 1998. Under the new Act, fishing rights and allocations are controlled by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, rather than by an independent quota board as in the past. This has given the Minister the power to transform South Africa's fishing industry into one that more fairly reflects the demography of the country. From December 1998, all existing and potential stakeholders were compelled to apply afresh for commercial fishing rights and applicants were evaluated according to a set of criteria that included;
- History of participation;
- Previous exclusion on the basis of racial classification;
- Composition of company shareholders;
- Historical association with the ocean (coastal fishing communities);
- Vessel and infrastructure availability, and
- Other criteria aimed at promoting an equitable redistribution of fishing rights.
Whereas the majority of the established fishing companies rendered themselves socially, politically and economically relevant, prior to the implementation of the new Act, by striking deals with Black empowerment groups and implementing internal restructuring programmes, the Minister has been under considerable political pressure to accommodate new entrants. Substantial redistribution of commercial fishing rights is anticipated. At the time of writing, the reallocation process is underway, and in two fisheries already processed (West Coast rock lobster, Jasus lalandii and abalone, Haliotis midae), there have been substantial increases in the number of participants (30% and 20% respectively). Although these additional role players have been accommodated within the total allowable catches (TACs) recommended by MCM scientists, the salient point is that the restructuring of South Africa's fisheries is likely to severely test their MCS capabilities, and may impact negatively on the effectiveness of stock assessment procedures and the ability to manage South Africa's fisheries resources sustainably.
In the Cape hake (Merluccius spp.) trawl fishery, the mainstay of South Africa's fishing industry, small amounts of quota began to be re-allocated to new entrants after 1994, which significantly increased the number of role players. The need for access to fishing vessels by these emerging companies has resulted in a number of joint ventures involving foreign vessels, mostly from the European Union, and a concomitant vessel over-capacity problem. In addition, a three-year experimental longline fishery for hake, introduced in 1995, resulted in over 50 additional small vessels entering the hake fishery on a permanent basis during 1998. The potential for illegal fishing activity in the hake fishery has therefore increased considerably, and the monitoring and surveillance capacity will have to be boosted in response to this.
The hake quota made available to new entrants in the trawl and longline sectors was taken from the large, established companies who, perhaps in response to quota cuts, have begun to look for new resources and have embarked on exploratory fisheries for species such as orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus), oreo-dory (Allocyttus verrucosus; Pseudocyttus maculatus) and Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides), which has also increased the monitoring workload.
For MCM, the result has been that human resources have become over-extended, particularly in the exploitation control and research components. This problem has been exacerbated by a recent government initiative to downsize the public sector, which has resulted in severance package incentives claiming many experienced personnel. Budget cuts have meant that fewer fisheries inspectors can be remunerated for overtime work. By international standards, the protection of South Africa's marine resources is under-funded. Against a world average expenditure on fisheries management of 7% of total wholesale value of fish products, South African funding levels are below 1% (Robertson, 1998).
As a signatory to international organisations such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and shortly also to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the United Nations Agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, South Africa is bound to ensure that fisheries resources are subject to accepted principles of conservation and management. In order to meet these obligations, short-term solutions have been planned using the limited resources available, as well as long-term solutions that are to be implemented should sufficient funds be sourced.
Over the past several years, increasing use has been made of shipboard scientific observers for data gathering and catch validation purposes on foreign fishing vessels, and on local vessels engaged in experimental or exploratory fisheries in South African waters. This ad hoc observer programme evolved as the needs arose and, by default, became the responsibility of the scientists and technicians researching the fisheries. As a result a few individuals have had to manage the multitude of administrative and technical functions that are integral to a successful observer programme. On-board observers have been used for research and monitoring purposes in several fisheries, including hake (trawlers and longliners), Patagonian toothfish (longliners), orange roughy/oreo-dory (deep-water trawlers), tuna Thunnus spp./swordfish Xiphias gladius (South African longliners), horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus capensis (mid-water trawlers), anchovy Engraulis capensis and sardine Sardinops sagax (purse-seiners), and deep-water rock lobster Palinurus gilchristi (trap fishery). During 1999, observers will also be used aboard prawn trawlers and in an experimental octopus pot fishery.
During 1999, MCM will also implement a structured scientific observer scheme and vessel monitoring system for the first time. As the organisation does not have the flexibility to allow employment of additional personnel, the running of the observer programme is to be put out for public tender. The first priority is to put observers aboard foreign tuna longliners fishing under license in South African waters, followed by implementation of the system aboard national fishing fleets. It is anticipated that the observer programme will enable most of the outstanding research and stock assessment related requirements to be met within three years of implementation.
Surveillance needs will be confronted using the infrastructure and facilities available. These will include:
- The improved on-board scientific observer scheme and vessel monitoring system (VMS), together with the services of a presently under-utilised oil pollution spotter plane. This fixed-wing aircraft will be contracted to conduct regular airborne patrols and will be in constant communication with the operations control room at MCM;
- A revitalised operational procedure for MCM's three patrol vessels. Priorities will be to eliminate entrenched, personnel-linked inertia and jurisdictional boundaries in order to render the vessels more mobile and flexible in operation. Patrol vessel activity will be integrated with the airborne surveillance programme and will act upon intelligence relayed via the operations control room. Fisheries law enforcement officers will be deployed aboard naval craft whenever possible so that routine naval patrols will also have fisheries MCS capability.
The wisdom of utilising the scientific observer programme for MCS purposes has been debated at length. It is hoped that information gathered by scientific observers could be used to monitor industry compliance, and the presence of illegal fishing vessels, without necessarily compromising the integrity of the scientific data collected. The deployment of fisheries law enforcement officers aboard fishing vessels achieves very little in the way of bringing about lasting changes in the way in which vessels operate. Inspectors do not keep databases and once they have left the vessel and filed their report, their impact ends. Scientific observer programme databases, on the other hand, can be pooled and used as tools of persuasion to convince industrial fishing bodies of the need for changes in the way in which their fishing operations are conducted. The experience gained to date suggests that fishing companies and vessel owners are often oblivious of the targeting and discarding practices employed by their skippers. However, once confronted with hard evidence, industrial fishing bodies have been very supportive of MCM and they have made real attempts to bring about changes in the way in which their members' vessels operate.
The long-term MCS needs of South African fisheries have recently been assessed by private consultancy. This analysis focussed on the surveillance technology and systems available within South Africa and on determining the number and sizes of the patrol vessels that would be most suited to South African fisheries control and enforcement requirements. An interim report based on the above analyses concluded that:
- RadarSat technology could prove useful for monitoring fishing vessel presence in the South African fishing zone off Prince Edward Island in the Southern Ocean and could eliminate the need for routine sea patrols.
- Airborne synthetic aperture radar would be a cost-effective method of surveillance that could cover extensive areas in short periods of time and which would provide coverage out to the edge of the South African EEZ.
- Coastrad, an integration of shore-based radar systems along the South African coast and linked to a central processing facility, could be used effectively for the monitoring of suspect vessels (e.g. foreign fishing vessels conducting innocent passage through South African waters).
- As back-up to the surveillance technology, three 35-m nearshore patrol vessels capable of operations out to 50 N.M., and a single offshore 75-m patrol vessel capable of patrolling out to the Prince Edward Islands would be the minimum requirement (Robertson 1998).
Fisheries are a major component of the economies of the coastal member states of the SADC (Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Mauritius and Seychelles), (Fig. 1). However, with the possible exceptions of Namibia and South Africa, the region's fisheries are poorly managed and there is inadequate control over domestic and foreign fishing activities. In a concerted attempt to stabilise the fishing economies of the region, the Marine Fisheries and Resources sector of SADC initiated a European Union funded development project, aimed at addressing the lack of MCS capacity within national Fishing Zones. The first phase of the initiative, a feasibility study, was completed at the end of 1996 and the second phase, involving the establishment of the Programme Management Unit (PMU), is presently underway. Implementation of the programme will focus initially on the West Coast member states (Angola, Namibia and South Africa), where the emphasis will be on the improvement of national institutional capacity for efficient, cost-effective and sustainable MCS, and on the establishment of effective regional co-operation with regard to MCS and fisheries management (Buescher, 1998).
Figure 1. The SADC coastal member states (shaded) and fishing zones.
A South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, to be financed by contributions from participating parties, is in the process of being constituted with the objective of promoting the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the high-seas fishery resources in the region (Fig. 2), especially those which straddle national boundaries. The convention specifically excludes the highly migratory species listed in Annex I of UNCLOS. The conservation objectives of SEAFO will be achieved by exercising a degree of control over high-seas fishing through;
- Co-operative management and conservation measures based on the best scientific evidence available;
- Application of the precautionary approach in line with the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries;
- Management of stocks on the basis of precautionary reference points adopted or established by the Commission;
- Accounting for the impact of fishing operations on ecologically related species such as seabirds, marine mammals and marine turtles;
- Ensuring that management measures do not result in harmful impacts on living marine resources as a whole, and
- Protecting biodiversity in the marine environment.
The convention is to implement a scheme of compliance, enforcement, inspection and observation in the region incorporating;
- A joint international inspector scheme with procedures for boarding and inspection on a reciprocal basis;
- A scheme of port inspection;
- A scheme of scientific observation, to be implemented by each participating party, and
- A satellite surveillance system.
Membership of SEAFO is open to all fishing nations with a history of fishing in the region. The Convention is still in the process of formulation and is likely to be completed within the next two years (Anon 1998).
Figure 2. The proposed SEAFO Convention area (bold outline).
By virtue of the involvement of South African fishing companies in CCAMLR waters, the MCM scientific observer initiative has forged international links. Exchange of scientific observers with other CCAMLR member countries (Australia, New Zealand and U.K.) has resulted in the setting and maintenance of high standards of operation. South Africa contributes information to CCAMLR regarding illegal operators in FAO statistical zones 58.6 and 58.7 and also provides details regarding southern African ports being used for illegal landings of Patagonian toothfish, together with estimates of the quantities of illegal Patagonian toothfish landings.
Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) stocks were discovered on the ridges and seamounts of the South east Indian Ocean early in 1996. Impressive catches were reportedly made on the South west Indian Ridge and Africana II Rise, which lie in the vicinity of the Prince Edward Islands. An influx of longline fishing vessels from Chile, Argentina, Namibia, South Africa, Portugal and Norway, among others, followed (Purves 1997). Up to 50 longline vessels were landing Patagonian toothfish catches in Cape Town and Walvis Bay in the following months and these high levels of unregulated fishing were placing the resource under tremendous pressure, making its sustained management almost impossible. Permits were issued to five vessels at the end of 1996, to fish inside the South African Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) at the Prince Edward Islands. Each of these operators had an allocation of 240 t and vessels were equipped with satellite-linked VMS and carried scientific observers.
Although some of the "newly discovered" Patagonian toothfish grounds fell within international waters, the largest and most productive areas were situated within the Prince Edward Island's EEZ. Most of this economic zone falls within the area managed by CCAMLR, of which South Africa is a signatory. Fishing vessels of members operating in CCAMLR waters are obliged to carry scientific observers, appointed in accordance with the CCAMLR Scheme of International Scientific Observation. Due to the sovereignty of the islands, South African citizens were appointed to serve as scientific observers. Additional tasks expected of the observers were the reporting of unregulated and illegal fishing vessels and their activity in the South African zone. Permit conditions also stipulated that fishing should be conducted in accordance with any CCAMLR conservation measures in force.
The presence of the licensed vessels in the area seemed to deter most of the illegal and unregulated operators, who started to move further east towards the Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Plateau and Heard Island (Purves 1997). Stricter port controls in South Africa simultaneously caused a large number of the unregulated fleet to move the base of their operations to Port Louis, Mauritius. Valuable information on the resource, the impact of fishing operations on seabirds and marine mammals and the extent of the unregulated fishery was gained from work carried out by the scientific observers.
Seabird mortality caused by longline fishing is a recognised concern, especially in the Southern Ocean, where many albatross and petrel populations are decreasing (Weimerskirch and Jouventin 1987, Croxhall et al. 1990, Alexander et al. 1997). The potential impact of longline fishing operations in the vicinity of the Prince Edward Islands was of great international concern as the islands are globally important as seabird breeding grounds (Williams et al. 1979). Scientific observer data on the interactions between fishing operations and seabirds were therefore of considerable importance.
Scientific observers were deployed on 28 out of 30 fishing trips undertaken in the South African EEZ from October 1996 to January 1999. Observers recorded data on CCAMLR haul-by-haul data sheets and in logbooks provided by MCM. Their main tasks were to:
- Record the details of fishing operations (e.g. positions, times, catches etc.);
- Collect biological data on target species (e.g. length frequency distribution, sex and maturity staging, and otoliths for age determination);
- Record interactions of seabirds and marine mammals with fishing operations;
- Monitor the total seabird mortality and mortality per unit of fishing effort;
- Evaluate the efficacy of mitigation measures;
- Record bycatches of other species;
- Collect data relating to conversion factors between green weight and processed product;
- Monitor adherence to permit conditions, and
- Report unregulated and illegal fishing.
Biological data included measurements of total lengths of randomly selected fish from as many hauls as possible. On average, 60 fish were measured from each haul. Length frequencies were generated in 2-cm length intervals, and separated by sex. Sex ratios were also determined. In order to assess trends in the size composition of Patagonian toothfish, data were analysed separately for the 1996/97, 1997/98 and 1998/99 seasons. Generalised linear modelling (GLM) was used to standardise a series of catch per unit of effort (cpue) data, which were expressed as kilograms per hook. Year, month, vessel and depth were considered as predictor values (SC-CAMLR-XVII/5 1998). Observers also collected otoliths for age determination.
Birds caught during fishing operations were identified, and as many birds as possible were returned to Cape Town for further analysis, including sexing. Bird mortality data were summarised for each trip, and bycatch rates calculated for day (defined as nautical dawn to dusk) and night sets. Seasonal and spatial differences in bird bycatch rates were assessed. Finally, because mitigation measures to reduce bird bycatch (e.g. use of streamer-lines during setting) were not employed throughout on some cruises, it was possible to assess the efficacy of these measures by comparing bycatch rates in the presence or absence of specific measures (Ryan et al. 1997)
From October 1996 to January 1999, 30 sanctioned fishing trips for Patagonian toothfish were made to the Prince Edward Islands by five permit holders using 11 different vessels. All vessels were equipped with Inmarsat-C vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and MCM constantly monitored their movements. Scientific observers accompanied the vessels on all but two of the sanctioned fishing trips. The vessels ranged in size from the 364 GRT Sudurhavid, with an LOA of 39.67m, to the 1 103 GRT Garoya, with an LOA of 73.5 m. The average LOA of the vessels was 50.9 m, whereas their average size was 794 GRT. Eight of the 11 vessels were equipped with automatic baiters and used a single-line system; two vessels had double-line systems that were hand-baited (Spanish system) and one vessel had a single-line system that was hand-baited. Mackerel, squid, horse mackerel and sardine were used as bait. A fishing trip lasted an average of 46.8 days of which 33.3 days (71.1%) were spent on the fishing grounds. The balance was spent in transit between port and the fishing grounds, dodging bad weather and exploring grounds in international waters.
The fishing effort since the inception of the regulated fishery at the Prince Edward Islands has comprised 2962 longline sets, totalling 10610 million hooks. Scientific observers sampled the catches of 58.1% of these sets to determine the biological characteristics of the target species. The lengths of 106565 toothfish, ranging in length from 34 to 204 cm, were measured; the sex, maturity stage and mass of a further 41290 fish were determined and 16072 otoliths were collected. A shift in the length frequency distribution of catches was noted, with the average size of fish becoming progressively smaller. During the first two years of fishing (October 1996 - June 1998), the size ranges caught remained relatively stable with a mode at 70cm. During the first two years of the fishery, 44-50% of the sampled catch were >80cm in length whereas 10-12% were <60cm. Since July 1998, a marked decline in fish size has been noted, despite the mode remaining at 70cm (Fig. 3). Between July and December 1998, the percentage of fish >80cm declined to 30%, whereas the percentage of fish <60cm increased to 20%.
Figure 3. Length frequency distribution of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) catches made off the Prince Edward Islands over three fishing seasons between 1996 and 1998.
Standardised cpue has decreased substantially between 1996 and 1998 (Fig. 4). The major drop in cpue between 1996 and 1997 occurred over a period when substantial illegal and unregulated catches were taken from this region (SC-CAMLR-XVII/5 1998). The cpue data, together with the length frequency and length at sexual maturity data, indicate that the species may be vulnerable to recruitment overfishing. In addition, it is believed that the levels of unreported catches in some areas may be so high that future stock sustainability may be compromised (SC-CAMLR/XVI/5 1997).
Sex and maturity data collected by the observers confirmed differences between the populations in the South west Atlantic (Patagonia to South Georgia) and those of the sub-Antarctic region of the Southern Ocean as recognised by Hureau and Ozouf-Costaz (1980). Fishes from the Prince Edward Islands had a slower growth rate and smaller maximum size than those caught in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean. Sexual maturity was reached earlier and at smaller sizes than at South Georgia. As with Patagonian toothfish populations at Kerguelen (Duhamel 1991), a distinct difference in length frequency distributions of male and female fish was noted, with males generally being smaller (Moreno 1991). The relationship between ocean depth and fish size has been described a number of times for Patagonian toothfish fisheries at Kerguelen (Duhamel 1991) and off the Chilean coast (Moreno 1991), among other localities, and it has been shown that larger fish are generally found in deeper water. The data collected at the Prince Edward Islands support these findings.
Figure 4. Standardised annual cpues (kg/hook) of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) in the sanctioned fishery off the Prince Edward Islands (from SC-CAMLR-XVII/5 1998).
Bycatch species comprised an average of 5.3% of total catches for all Patagonian toothfish trips monitored. Macrourids, primarily bigeye grenadier (Macrourus carinatus) comprised 86% of the bycatch. Deep-sea cods contributed 9% of the bycatch, with the blue antimora (Antimora rostrata) being most predominant. Skates and rays contributed 4% of the bycatch, with Murray's skate (Bathyraja murrayi) being most common. Entanglements of Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) in longline gear were reported on a number of occasions.
Observer reports indicated that 1489 seabirds from five species were killed since the inception of the sanctioned fishery toward the end of 1996. White-chinned petrels Procellaria aequinoctalis comprised the largest percentage of all birds killed (81%), with smaller numbers of giant petrels Macronectes spp., yellow-nosed mollymawks Diomedea chlororhynchos, and crested penguins Eudyptes spp.. The average catch rate was 0.148 birds per 1000 hooks, but this varied greatly among trips. Incidental seabird mortality data was analysed separately for the first two years of the fishery and the results were presented to CCAMLR (Ryan et al. 1997, Ryan and Purves 1998). A marked reduction in observed seabird bycatch was noted in the 1998/99 season, coinciding with a reduction in the amount of daylight setting and an increased awareness of, and compliance with, mitigating measures.
Observers played an important role in the education of crewmembers and in creating awareness of mitigation measures in the following ways;
- monitoring the time of longline sets;
- improving and testing bird line designs;
- reporting on the timing and position of offal discharge;
- reporting on weighting of lines in order to improve sink rates;
- monitoring and reporting the discarding of hooks;
- monitoring seabird abundance in the vicinity of the vessel, and
- reporting on other seabird interactions with fishing operations.
From spatial, temporal and environmental data collected by observers the following trends in seabird bycatches were observed;
- Seabird bycatch occurred primarily in summer, with bycatch rates peaking during the chick-rearing period for white-chinned petrels. On the strength of the data collected by observers, it was recommended that the fishery be closed from February to mid-March (Ryan and Purves 1998).
- Although permit conditions stated that lines should be set at night only, in accordance with CCAMLR guidelines, this did not always happen. There was a considerable improvement between the 1996/97 season, when more than half of the hooks were set during the day (Ryan et al. 1997) and the 1997/98 season when daytime sets comprised 15% of the sets. During the 1997/98 season the bycatch rate of giant petrels during day-sets was almost 20 times greater than during night-sets (Ryan and Purves 1998). The increased compliance of vessels with permit conditions can, to some extent, be ascribed to the greater vigilance and experience of the scientific observers. A further innovation to minimise bird mortalities is the testing of a sub-surface setting funnel, which limits the time that baits are near the surface. Two scientific observers, one of whom constantly monitors setting operations and interactions with seabirds, have been deployed on vessels using the setting funnel to monitor efficiency. Preliminary results seem to indicate that seabird bycatch can be reduced substantially by sub-surface setting.
- Analysis of observer data showed that seabird bycatch rates were considerably higher in gale-force winds (Ryan and Purves 1998). It was recommended that fishers should be discouraged from setting their lines in these conditions.
- Seabird catch rates were greatest close to the islands, with most birds being caught within 100 km of the islands (Ryan et al. 1997, Ryan and Purves 1998). On the strength of this evidence, an exclusion zone of 5 N.M. was created around the islands in which the setting of longlines was prohibited.
Scientific observers also reported increasing interactions between the fishing vessels and orcas (Orcinus orca) and sperm whales (Physeter catodon). Orcas usually "worked" the longline between 200 and 300m ahead of the vessel during the hauling operation. The appearance of fish-oil slicks on the sea surface, together with frenzied seabird feeding activity over these slicks, strongly suggested that the orcas were taking hooked Patagonian toothfish from the longlines during hauling. The presence of severed Patagonian toothfish heads on the longlines following such observations supported this assumption, particularly as the wounds were ragged, as though caused by ripping rather than by cutting (C. Heinecken, CCAMLR observer, pers. comm.). Orcas and sperm whales were often in attendance simultaneously, diving next to lines during hauling operations, and observers frequently reported what they interpreted as "aggressive behaviour" between them. In one instance, a pod of four orcas was seen attacking a sperm whale, following which a large quantity of blood was seen in the water around the whale. Observers have collected data on pod sizes, observed predation off the lines, and noted fish that might have been damaged by marine mammals. They have also reported on possible entanglements of mammals. On some lines, observers have estimated fish losses due to predation to be as high as 50%. In preparation for the 1999 season, one of the licensed fishing vessels has requested permission from MCM to test an acoustic deterrent device, commonly used on salmon farms to deter predation caused by seals, in order to monitor the effect it has on orcas and sperm whales. The testing will be conducted to an agreed experimental protocol and a scientific observer will record the results.
Due to the unprecedented and unsustainable scale of the illegal and unregulated Patagonian toothfish fishery at the Prince Edward Islands, scientific observers were instructed to report sightings of these activities. The safety of the observers and the integrity of the scientific data collected by them were an important consideration when assigning them this extra task. For stock assessment purposes, it was also important to have an idea of the total catches taken from the area. Valuable information such as the number and types of vessels active in the area, their sizes and carrying capacities and other intelligence data on illegal fishing activities collected by scientific observers gave greater accuracy to estimates of total removals from the area. Observers reported a total of 19 sightings of illegal vessels between November 1996 and January 1998.
In summary, Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) is working hard to maintain control over South Africa's fisheries resources, under difficult circumstances and with limited resources. The use of scientific observers aboard a limited number of fishing vessels has proved to be very effective and it is hoped to considerably expand observer coverage in the next few years. The success of this initiative will rely heavily on co-operation and financial support from the fishing industry. In many instances, additional accommodation facilities will have to be arranged aboard vessels and observer fees will need to be paid by vessel owners. The limited use of VMS has proved most beneficial in boosting surveillance capabilities and has also proved to be very useful as a convenient means of communication with scientific observers aboard vessels. MCM is optimistic that the SADC and SEAFO initiatives will have very positive MCS spin-offs for the fisheries resources of the southern African region and anticipate that they will lead to much improved co-operation regarding the sharing of data and the assessment of straddling fish stocks.
Thanks to Tony van Dalsen and Cathy Boucher for preparing the illustrations and to Denzil Miller for useful discussion.
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George. V. Everett
Fishery Policy and Planning Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
The Norway funded FAO project for "Assistance to Developing Countries for the Implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries1 in Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and in Improving the Provision of Scientific Advice for Fisheries Management" (GCP/INT/648/NOR) became operational in April 1998 for an initial duration of three years. One of its first activities was to hold a regional workshop on MCS, in Malaysia from 29 June to 3 July 1998, convened for three days in Kuala Lumpur and for two days in Kuala Terengganu. Countries bordering the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea were invited to attend. The project funded forty participants to come from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Human resources were provided by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) (at UK Government expense), the United States of America (USA), Namibia (a Norwegian national on a NORAD MCS project) and three FAO Rome staff. Presentations also made by two, independently financed participants from New Zealand, one privately funded participant from India (salary and travel paid by INMARSAT), and a Canadian resident in the Philippines.
Topics covered in the workshop included: 1) Background to MCS, 2) Legal aspects, 3) Resource and management situations, 4) Information systems, 5) Inspection procedures, 6) Domestic artisanal fisheries and community participation in MCS, 7) Administrative and licensing procedures, 8) Foreign fishing and fees, 9) MCS in Namibia, 10) MCS in Malaysia, 11) Country reports, 12) ITQs, 13) MCS in the Forum Fisheries Agency, 14) VMS, 15) Boarding at sea and 16) Marine parks and controls. Video films were shown on fisheries enforcement procedures, inspection at sea, marine parks, and MCS in Namibia and working Groups were held on legal, financial economic, operational, institutional and co-operation aspects of MCS regimes.
In the South and Southeast Asian region there are concerns about fish resources and the need to ensure their sustainability, similar to those in other parts of the world. Resource exploitation is not only undertaken in inshore waters by fishermen with simple craft and gear, but also within the economic exclusion zone (EEZ), and on the high seas, by industrial vessels. Reef fisheries are of concern not only as a basis for fishing, but also, along with the coastal area, as being of increasing value for tourism. Marine parks and reserves also have a role to play in a number of fisheries, and in this regard the procedures for monitoring, control and surveillance will need to be adapted to the management priorities.
Fisheries in the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea have annual landings of some twelve million tonnes. These relatively large fisheries are becoming the focus of increased attention of many authorities in their efforts to ensure the sustainability of the resources. Data collection over the long term to allow analyses of fluctuations in abundance of the different stocks is a priority, but this needs to be linked to overall management, and as a contribution to this management the role of fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance will undoubtedly increase in importance. As the role of MCS2 becomes more crucial in each country so also will the need for sharing and exchange of information between nearby countries on experiences in MCS become apparent, contributing to the elaboration of some sort of overall common and intensified approach to fisheries management.
Table 1. Nominal marine fish landings reported from south and Southeast Asia by region and ocean sector. Source: FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics (1995), vol. 80.
|Pacific Ocean||tonnes||Indian Ocean||tonnes|
|Cambodia||31,231||India (Bay of Bengal)||848,904|
A director of the Department of Fisheries (DOF) is primarily responsible for marine and shrimp fisheries including the issue of licences and monitoring the operations of fishing vessels. The Ministry of Industry is currently authorised to accord permission for acquisition of fishing trawlers in consultation with the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. The Marine Fishing Rules, amended in 1993, provide for licensing and monitoring of artisanal fishing boats; they also provide for regulation of mesh sizes, area of fishing and the prohibited methods of fishing. The Rules apply to both local and foreign fishing vessels. Procedures laid down for obtaining a licence and reporting on fish catch are quite detailed. The DOF procured two ships ("Meghna" and "Jamuna") for patrolling the EEZ, and placed them under the operational control of the Bangladesh navy. The coastguard (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) and the navy (under the Ministry of Defence) are directly involved in fisheries protection activities in addition to their other normal duties. It is not clear how many prosecutions have taken place relating to infringement of fisheries regulations, although it is known that a number of foreign, unlicensed vessels have been arrested in the Bangladesh EEZ.
The industrial fleet comprises 71 trawlers. Ninety-five percent of all marine landings, by weight, are from the artisanal fleet. The catch of hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha), by gill-netters classed as artisanal, makes up a substantial part of the total marine catch; in view of its great importance to food security throughout the country this would appear to be a priority fishery to determine MCS procedures in support of fishery management.
The industrial fleet are prohibited from fishing in waters of less than 40 m. All waters are closed to fishing activities by industrial vessels between 15 January and the 15 February. It is reported that the regulations concerning fishing zones and closed seasons are being contested in the courts. It is understood that each fishing trip by an industrial vessel requires three permits. In accordance with the Marine Fisheries Ordinance, 1983, the stretched mesh size of the cod-end in shrimp trawl, fish trawl, and set bag are 45 mm, 60 min. and 30 mm respectively. At the entry to the port of Chittagong there is a Department of Fisheries, surveillance checkpoint where vessels can be inspected with regard to gear used, documents, freezing facilities, catch composition, etc. Shrimp trawlers are obliged to land at least 30% of their entire catch taken during a fishing trip. Some skippers are introducing turtle excluder devices (TEDs) on their trawls. No new licences are being issued for industrial operations under joint venture or charter.
At present there are no staff of the Department of Fisheries that undertake inspection at sea (log book, catches, etc.) although coastguard personnel are authorised to undertake this activity. When the navy arrest a vessel for illegal fishing it is handed over to the Deputy Director (marine) who is empowered to auction the vessel as well as the fish and other goods. Crew and other personnel of the vessel are taken for trial in accordance with judicial procedures.
Other ministries and agencies directly or indirectly involved in fisheries are the Ministry of Land (leasing property), the Ministry of Industry (licensing and promotion of fish processing), the Ministry of Commerce (export of fishery products and import of fishery and fishing inputs), the Ministry of Irrigation (water development and flood control for developing embankment and water control structures); Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (registration of fishermen cooperative societies) and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (management of water bodies within reserved forests and conservation of mangrove ecosystems).
The fisheries sector in Cambodia has been the traditional source of animal protein in the country. The resources should and could be managed in such a way as to retain this prominence in the future. However, a combination of poor management and development practices, environmental degradation and a lack of monitoring, control and surveillance and enforcement over the past two decades has left inland capture fisheries and the inshore marine capture fishery in a depleted state. With external assistance some determined efforts are being made to improve the situation, most notably with aid from DANIDA, and for marine areas with aid from the Asian Development Bank.
Through a notification of the Ministry of Agriculture in India, dated 19 February 1983, the central officers of the coastguard as well as commissioned officers of the Indian navy have powers to enforce fisheries regulations in the maritime zones of India. The regulation of fishing by foreign fishing vessels, decreed in 1982, detail the procedures that are to be followed by foreign flag vessels operating in Indian waters. Other legislation establishing the territorial waters, continental shelf, exclusive economic zones and other maritime zones was enacted in 1976.
At a symposium of FAO organised in 1993 on socio-economic issues in coastal fisheries management it was reported that "open access" has encouraged non-fishermen to take an increasingly large role in mechanised fishing. Competition for shrimps between the traditional sector and mechanised trawlers has led to increased fishing pressure within inshore waters and the development of serious conflicts regarding fishing rights. These conflicts at times have become very severe resulting in damage to craft and gear and on certain occasions leading to violence. The growth in the labour force and the inability to expand the resource base are inducing small scale fishermen to engage in destructive types of fishing such as dynamiting, poison, etc.
In accordance with the Coastguard Act, 1978, it is the duty of the Indian coastguard to protect by such measures, as it thinks fit, the maritime and other national interests of India in its maritime zones. Without prejudice to the generality of this provision the measures referred to therein may provide protection to fishermen including assistance to them at sea while in distress, and assist in the enforcement of fisheries regulations. This includes designing and implementing a code of conduct for responsible fisheries, monitoring and surveillance systems, and suitable regulatory and the control measures. For this purpose the coastguard works in close unison with the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1978, has enabling provisions for defining fishing zones for the traditional, mechanised and deep-sea fishing sectors, restricting or banning trawling in inshore waters, preventing destructive types of fishing, regulating certain types of fishing gears and their mesh size and declaring closed seasons, etc.
The central (federal) government provides general guidelines relating to regulations and management of fisheries. Individual states can implement them with any necessary modifications or improvement appropriate to state needs. States normally regulate marine fisheries within the territorial water limit of 12 N.M. Regulations beyond the territorial limit and out to the limits of the EEZ are the responsibility of the central government, particularly with reference to fishing by foreign vessels. A model Marine Fisheries Regulations Act was prepared by central government and circulated to states for consideration. This model provides states with the necessary provisions to regulate fishing operations by area, time, season, gear and craft or in combination. Most of the coastal states have adopted this model and enacted laws and introduced regulations concerning zones and vessels. In some states the fisherfolk themselves have agreed regulations to prevent clashes among different vessel operators and await the legislation of these agreements by state governments.
In Andhra Pradesh no Act has been passed, but executive orders issued in 1983 regulate coastal fishing. Traditional boats have exclusive access to the zone out to 10 km. Beyond 10 km mechanised boats can fish, and beyond 23 km mechanised boats over 20 m in length overall (LOA) have access. An Act for Tamil Nadu was passed in 1983 to authorise traditional boats to fish in the zone up to 3 N.M. from the coast, and mechanised boats in the zone beyond. West Bengal does not, it is reported, have fishing regulations. According to the 1982 Act in Orissa, only traditional boats can fish in the zone up to 5 km offshore, mechanised vessels of up to 15 m LOA in the 5 to 10 km zone, and larger vessels in waters out to the EEZ.
The Indian navy is under the control of the central government and does not normally become involved in fisheries management, except in special circumstances when it may be necessary to assist the coastguard in apprehending a foreign vessel, in search and rescue operations and during natural disasters such as cyclones. The coastguard is also under the control of the central government and has stations along the entire coast. Their vessels patrol the seas for national security purposes, and this includes handling cases of unlicensed vessels fishing within the EEZ. Illegal fishing by foreign vessels normally leads to the crew and vessel being impounded; the crew for lack of valid entry papers, and the vessels for fishing without a permit. Both are handed over to the local state departments of police, port/harbour and fisheries for custody. Police in a number of states have patrol craft. Legal action may be initiated on orders of the central government, and receipts from sale of fish catch on board placed on deposit pending instruction from central government.
Violations of State marine fisheries regulations by coastal fishermen are handled by designated officers of the Departments of Fisheries, as per rules of the respective State Act, who may suspend the fishing permit for a few days, and impose a fine. Trawlers may be stopped in the 12 N.M. zone by inshore fishermen, when coast guard vessels are not available or not able to arrive in time, and the State/central government often provide support to the "informal" control measures taken by fishermen. The Government of India has initiated a scheme to provide financial support for coastal states to procure patrol craft. At present, Kerala has a few patrol boats in operation, and the process of procurement is proceeding in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
In Indonesia the navy continues to maintain the strongest interest in fisheries enforcement, and appears to control authorisations of foreign vessels (Thai, Taiwanese, Korean and Philippine) operating under various joint venture agreements (and in the case of vessels from the Philippines with a number of fish aggregating devices). The navy is reported to have received 15 'Nomad' light aircraft from Australia for coastal surveillance. Department of Fisheries (DOF) officials do not have the power to stop, inspect and arrest vessels. It is understood that, according to recently issued regulations, ships with foreign flags should no longer be allowed to fish in Indonesian waters from the year 2000. DOF staff is giving increased attention to public awareness campaigns, and close co-operation and contact with fishermen. Contact is maintained with the board of sea security under the navy. Governance of Indonesia's marine and coastal resources fall under the central, provincial, and district authorities. The provincial authorities are given much autonomy in developing legislation and mechanisms for resource management. There are also local customary traditions and codes and informal influences impacting on resource management.
Part of the 1998 budget of the Directorate for Resources Management was projected to be spent on three small patrol boats of 350hp. In addition, communication equipment is to be purchased to continue improving contact between vessels, harbours and HQ. Approximately 225 staff is attached to MCS units around the country.
Under the coral reef rehabilitation and management project (COREMAP), which has been in various stages of preparation for three years, and financed by agencies such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, special emphasis will be given to four pilot areas in the early stages and probably some equipment will be made available to ensure enforcement. Most emphasis, however, will be given to involving local communities in management of the coral and fish resources. The Department of Forestry is responsible for mangroves and marine parks.
The objectives of the Malaysian department of fisheries, and functions of each division, are presented in the website http://dof.moa.my where it is clearly stated that the Fishery Act 1985 and the EEZ Act of 1984 must be enforced.
Large fishing vessels, which may have been built and operated elsewhere, then reflagged to Malaysia, can obtain authorisation in the 'C2' zone (30 to 200 N.M., reserved for vessels over 70 GT). In the 'A' zone of 0 to 5 N.M. no trawling is permitted, so small boats use anchovy purse seines, hand lines, gillnets and jigs. Small trawlers of up to 40 GT can work the 5 to 12 N.M. zone and vessels of above 40 GT can work in the 12 to 30 N.M. zone. The number of smaller vessels appears to be in decline as a number of fishermen leave the sector and move into other sectors of the resilient economy. Certainly no increase in the number of trawlers is permitted in inshore zones. The number of larger vessels appears to be increasing, however. The minimum authorised cod-end mesh size in trawls is 37 mm (1.5"). When passing through the Malaysian EEZ en route to fishing grounds elsewhere, non-Malaysian flag vessels report on entry and exit to the Department of Fisheries in Kuala Lumpur.
The key to the relatively good statistics in Malaysia may well be due to the close supervision of enumerators. In each State there is one staff member responsible for statistics, with an enumerator in each fisheries administrative district. Vessels are stratified by GT and gear and randomly chosen for data monitoring and analysis. All districts will soon be equipped with computers so information on fleets and catches can be kept up to date and sent online regularly to Kuala Lumpur.
In the enforcement service there are 20 officers and 492 crew. Currently there is no plan to increase the number of patrol vessels beyond the present 100, although there will be some replacements. . The enforcement unit based at Kuala Terengganu has 65 staff. In waters 0 to 12 N.M. off the States of Paliang and Kelantan patrol craft are the responsibility of State officers. However, in offshore waters, beyond 12 N.M., the staff based at Kuala Terengganu maintains overall responsibility. The patrol fleet consists of 3 `Boston whalers' which cover the 0 to 5 N.M. zone, 45 ft wooden hull craft with twin 1000 hp engines, 55 ft steel hull '300' series, and 65 ft steel hull '100' series which cover both the 5 to 12 N.M. and 12 to 30 N.M. zones, with two 26 m (or 100 ft with diving deck) craft with twin 1500 hp engines to cover the EEZ out to the boundary (actually about 150 N.M.). All patrol vessels have GPS systems, with a background chart to facilitate a general assessment of position, which assists them in the regular reporting of their positions by email.
In the area covered by the Kuala Terengganu enforcement unit there are 20 registered deep-sea vessels (16 trawlers and 4 purse seiners). Much fishing activity is centred on the Ambas and Natunas Islands. Many vessels are tempted to fish around oil platforms, where light attracts many fish. A closed area or zone of 500 m around the platforms has been gazetted for safety reasons. Drilling for oil is soon to take place in the area jointly claimed by Malaysia and Thailand, and this will mean there is a line of gas and oilrigs about 100 N.M. off the coast.
Many fishing vessels now carry GPS and can direct patrol craft to positions where local or foreign fishing is taking place illegally. Kuala Terengganu vessels have easily identifiable numbers and a deckhouse painted light green (this colour is different for each State). Trawlers have two diagonal white lines painted across the deckhouse. Off the marine parks/islands all purse seiners and trawlers must keep a distance of 5 N.M. whereas, traditional craft must keep 2 N.M. distant.
The Territorial Sea and Maritime Zones Law, 1977, of Myanmar, defines the territorial sea as twelve miles, an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of two hundred miles, and a contiguous zone twenty four miles from these baselines and adjacent to the territorial sea. It is not possible to conduct any activity in the EEZ in relation to exploration, exploitation or research, without the prior, express permission of the Council of Ministers. A law relating to the fishing rights of foreign fishing vessels was introduced in 1989, and this was followed by the Myanmar Marine Fisheries Law of 1990 and the amendments of 1993. An FAO lawyer visited the country in 1991 to advise on the legal regime governing fishing and advised on future work needs and fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance requirements.
The Philippines Fisheries Code of 1998 came into force on 23 March 1998. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) with 14 regional offices and 5 000 staff is currently being reconstituted from a "staff bureau" to a "1ine bureau" with greater jurisdiction over fisheries management. With regard to MCS, BFAR will lead an interagency effort, comprising its own law enforcement officers, navy, coastguard, the Philippines national police (PNP), the PNP maritime command, law enforcement officers of local government units in consultation with fisheries and aquatic resources management councils (FARMC), which in themselves are formed by fisherfolk organisations/co-operatives, and NGOs in the locality. BFAR will be provided with financial resources for the procurement or charter of aircraft and inspection vessels. The Code declares that the policy of the State is to ".. grant the private sector the privilege to utilise fishery resources under the basic concept that the grantee, licensee or permittee thereof, shall not only be a privileged beneficiary of the State but also an active participant and partner of the government in the sustainable development, management conservation and protection of the fishery and aquatic resources of the country".
BFAR officials are available to assist municipal authorities implement MCS activities in inshore waters, in support of coastal resources management with existing ordinances and bylaws. Local government is responsible for MSC activities in the zone out to 15 km for vessels of up to 3 GT, and it is likely that BFAR will be taking the lead to monitor zones outside this area. MCS coordinating and operations centres have been established at Batan (Batares), Tacloban City, Davao City, Puerto Princesa City and in Quezon City, Manila. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for marine parks, but it is not clear that co-operation is maintained with BFAR. However, the marine police appear to be active with patrol vessels, including the use of `Boston whalers'. A number of fish sanctuaries are now under responsibility of municipal authorities in their programmes of coastal resource management. There have been a number of inputs from Canada and the Asian Development Bank in planning the introduction of MCS to the Philippines. There are presently 12 "priority bays" for which coastal resources and ecological reports along with socio-economic and investment reports have been prepared.
In Sri Lanka a FAO/UNDP project for marine fisheries management has been functioning since 1992. With the assistance of the FAO, new fisheries legislation has been prepared to promote the sustainable development of coastal fisheries. This includes a licensing system for all active fishing methods, declaration of fisheries management areas, and conservation based exploitation, together with substantial fines and the threat of jail terms in the case of violations. In certain fisheries (e.g. purse seining) a high resource fee is being introduced to limit entry.
As a result of the introduction of new technology to coastal fisheries in the late 1950s there were conflicts between the fishermen using traditional craft and gear, and those using motorised boats and nylon nets. Disputes between coastal trawl fishermen and groups engaged in other types of fishing led to a complete ban on trawling in certain areas in response to the representations of fishermen who were against trawling in spite of the effective management system introduced by the trawl fishermen themselves. As a result, the government is implementing a programme for the relocation of some fishermen to other fisheries. With a view to limiting entry to the coastal fishery, some concrete measures have been taken. For instance, the emphasis of the government in allocation of the producer subsidy (up to 50%) for fishermen to purchase boats, engines and fishing gear has been changed from coastal fisheries to offshore/deep-sea fisheries.
A programme to educate fishermen in the importance of fisheries management is being undertaken. It is of paramount importance that this programme makes substantial progress in order to encourage better fishing practices and to discourage inappropriate activities (e.g. taking berried lobster).
In Thailand the minimum cod-end mesh size is 25 mm. Recognising the conservation threat of such a small mesh size discussions are maintained between Department of Fisheries staff and fishery associations with a view to increasing the mesh limit to 40 mm. Further management measures include a ban on the use of trawls or pushnets within a distance of 3 km from shore and closed seasons for trawling. Some scientists report that it is as a result of this close season that catches of mackerel (Rastrelliger spp.) have stayed high.
Department of Fisheries (DOF) staff has been assessing the possibilities for the establishment of, further control zones for vessels of different type, a control on gear type in these areas, and the introduction of a quota management system. The 8th development plan for Thailand, starting in 1997, also emphasises the importance to the fisheries sector of involving communities in resource management. Typical of this type of initiative is the FAO Bay of Bengal Programme (BOBP) which has been assisting with the introduction of a community based management system for fisheries in Phangna Bay.
The official policy of the DOF is to reduce fishing effort. A committee examines requests for trawler licences and stipulates conditions to licences issued (e.g. that a vessel only works outside the EEZ). In exceptional circumstances only will a licence be granted to a replacement vessel taking the place of a vessel already successful in the licensing process. . The Department of Harbours undertakes an annual survey of each vessel and gear licences are issued by the DOF at a nominal rate (200 baht per unit for a stake trap, 5 baht per metre of headrope in a trawl, one baht per metre for a purse seine).
About one thousand Thai vessels each obliged to carry a logbook are now in Indonesia under private arrangements circumventing the Indonesian government's prohibition of direct licence allocation to foreign vessels. Most of the waters are considered internal, but some foreign fishing is authorised in the EEZ.
The Department of Fisheries has 65 patrol boats (3 of 100 ft, 3 of 80 ft, 21 of 65 ft mainly with an aluminium hull, and a number of smaller craft). There are four patrol zones in the Gulf of Thailand, and one in the Andaman Sea. Ten of the patrol boats operate in the Andaman Sea with the larger craft spending up to 30 days at sea per trip. There are 460 staff in the unit responsible for the patrol craft, with an annual recurrent budget of 100 million baht. Two new vessels are added each year at a cost of 54 million baht. On occasion a plane is chartered to survey fishing operations in certain areas and the patrol plan approved in advance by the Director General of Fisheries. Inspection procedures target the detection of dynamite, poison or illegal gear, fishing in closed areas or seasons, catching protected species, and licence violations Successful prosecution can result in prison sentences of 3 to 6 months, and fines of 5 to 10 000 baht, as well as the possible confiscation of the catch, gear and boat. Between 1/10/96 and 30/4/97 surveillance and enforcement operations in the Gulf of Thailand were successful in prosecuting 290 vessels and 1050 crew whilst a similar programme brought 76 vessels to court for illegal activity in the Andaman Sea.
The law and treaty division (one of some 30 DOF divisions) bases much of its work on the 1947 Fisheries Act (itself more concerned with inland rather than marine fisheries) and recent amendments.
Remarkable for Thailand is the increase in coastal shrimp aquaculture, the relative decline in importance of waste or `trash' fish in overall landings, and the continued diversity of fishing gear (including the common use of squid light luring/dipping gear). International environmental pressures are being exerted on the sector so as to reduce catch of turtles in shrimp trawls.
Efforts are being made in Vietnam to improve resource management, and develop and implement a stock assessment and management plan, with immediate effect in inshore capture fisheries. Attempts are being made to determine the nature of the offshore resource, the economic feasibility of its exploitation, and the potential for developing an integrated plan for coastal and inland aquaculture development, primarily through semi-intensive production. Regulations are being implemented at central, provincial, and community levels for stock management and Government is developing education programmes to encourage the voluntary participation of fishermen and their communities in resource management programmes. Funds are also being made available to fishermen for equipment so as to encourage fishermen to fish offshore.
The fisheries resources protection department (FRPD) of the Ministry of Fisheries was created in 1990 following the adoption of the Ordinance on the Conservation and Management of Living Aquatic Resources and Decree of the Council of Ministers on fishing activities applicable to foreigners and their fishing equipment in the waters of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1989. The FRPD has a staff of over 600 with the majority of those staff based in the 28 coastal provinces. The functions of the FRPD are to (a) propose amendments or additional legislation to the minister, (b) issue and control vessel registration and licences (licences for vessels over 75 hp are issued at state level, and licences for smaller vessels are issued at provincial level), (c) manage and protect resources, (d) inspect the fisheries sector, and (e) ensure quality control of marine exports including those derived from aquaculture.
The FRPD has 40 inspection vessels, with 100 inspectors, mainly for assistance at the provincial level in the application of regulations concerning mesh size, closed zones and seasons, etc. The navy and coastguard patrol the EEZ and have successfully detained a number of foreign, unlicensed vessels in the course of their duties.
Certain countries are making strenuous efforts to improve fisheries management and MCS processes. In some countries there has been an intensified attempt to involve the fishermen themselves in decision making. Quite often management can be facilitated through a bylaw or law, which can be applied at the local level. Above all is the need for management systems to be fair to all concerned, not only through the overall objectives established, but also through the application and enforcement of the whole management process.
At an ASEAN meeting on capture fisheries, held at Bangkok between the 26 and 29 July 1994, a number of general recommendations were agreed, one of which was the need to improve MCS in the region. No doubt further meetings of fisheries regional bodies will encourage a co-operative approach to the sector and the long-term challenges which it faces.
One evident difficulty being faced by a number of fisheries administrations is the lack of firm advice on what management decisions to apply in the case of a fishery. Certainly, MCS can provide information of use to scientists as well as to fishery managers in their assessment of what is happening to a fishery, and on what problems need to be faced so that decisions can be taken. Where management decisions are being enforced there must be a feedback from MCS personnel to decision-makers so that reasonable measures are taken which are indeed applicable. In a number of situations the application of measures to reduce fishing conflicts must be taken both with sensitivity and with firmness, and this calls for considerable judgement on the part of the authorities.
Follow-up to the Malaysia workshop is being undertaken with visits by consultants to participants so as to assist them in taking steps forward with improvement in their own national MCS framework and procedures. It is planned to hold a further regional workshop for certain countries bordering the Northwest Indian Ocean, also to be followed up with activities to be undertaken at a national level.
1 The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries was unanimously adopted by the FAO Conference in October 1995. It provides a voluntary but necessary framework for national and international efforts to ensure sustainable exploitation of aquatic living resources in harmony with the environment. Article 7.7.3 makes reference to the need to implement effective fisheries monitoring, control surveillance and law enforcement measures. The Code, and associated guidelines, includes further elaboration of issues approved in the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, which was adopted by the U.N. on 4 August 1995. The project GCP/INT/648/NOR is in fact a response to the FAO resolution 4/95, which requests FAO to make advice available for implementing the Code.
2 In 1981, FAO organised in Rome, with funding from Norway, a technical consultation of international experts in MCS for fishery management. The experts agreed on the following definitions; (a) Monitoring: involves the collection, measurement, and analysis of fishing activity on catch, species composition, effort, discards, area of operations, etc., which is to assist fishery managers to arrive at management decisions. (b) Control: involves the specifications of the terms and conditions under which resources can be harvested, and normally contained in national legislation, and provides a basis on which management arrangements are enforced. (c) Surveillance: involves checking and supervision of fishing activity to ensure national legislation and terms of access and management measures are observed. This activity is crucial to ensure that the resources are not overexploited, poaching is minimised and management arrangements are implemented.