Fisheries Management

Designing and implementing an appropriate system of fisheries management can reduce pressure on the fishers to harvest fish before others do so. Developing an effective approach to safety at sea involves: prevention, survival and self-rescue, and search and rescue. Training programmes in safety must be designed to adequately meet the needs of fishers and of key officials and aim to enhance familiarity and compliance with established safety procedures.

It has often been speculated whether and in what way different fisheries management systems may have an effect on safety at sea. Co-management in the regulatory process, in which stakeholders/user groups have the formal opportunity and the power to participate in the design and implementation of fisheries regulations, is especially important given the impact that fisheries management regulations have on reducing or increasing dangers at sea. Such an impact is not a new concept, but unfortunately, it is not one that has been widely studied.

In open-access fisheries, competition is the order of the day. Getting to and from the fishing grounds as fast as possible and carrying home the largest possible catch, calls for increasing engine power, vessel size and gear efficiency. Although working conditions and efficiency have improved in many ways with increased mechanization, new dangers have been introduced and the strain on the crew is still considerable, not least because of the reduction in numbers to cut costs. Safety regulations accepted by the merchant fleet met with reluctance in the fisheries, where people resented any infringement that might affect their income.


Under the open-access fisheries, the capacity of the fleets was bound sooner or later to exceed the yield of the fishable stocks. In many countries, this coincided more or less with the advent of the 1982 UN Convention, which divided the former "high seas" into EEZs for coastal states, allowing each nation to control the fisheries up to 200 miles off its shores. Different management systems have subsequently been developed to control the fisheries. These are outlined below.

Access limited by size (and type of gear) 

Total Allowable Catch (TAC) 

TAC with restricted days at sea

Individual Quotas (IQs)

Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs)

Various FAO publications related to fisheries management and safety for fishermen.



More publications could be found at the FI website.

last updated:  Wednesday, April 4, 2012