Re: The Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition - E-consultation to set the track of the study

Lindsay Chapman Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), New Caledonia
10.04.2013

Response from the Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)

Thanks to the HLPE for inviting comments and submissions on “The role of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition. We will provide some general comments to start and then comment under each of the key issues that have been identified.

General: The SPC through the FAME Division has been working in the area of fisheries and aquaculture for food security and small-scale livelihoods for many years and has produced some literature on this subject and these include Policy Brief 1/2008 on “Fish and food security” (http://www.spc.int/en/our-work/strategic-engagement-policy-and-planning-facility/policy-briefs.html), Planning the use of fish for food security in the Pacific Bell et al. (2009), Marine Policy 33: 64-76. and the “Vulnerability of tropical Pacific fisheries and aquaculture to climate change” (http://www.spc.int/DigitalLibrary/Doc/FAME/Reports/Bell_11_Vulnerability_Pacific_Fisheries_to_Climate_Change.pdf) where food security and livelihoods are themes covered in Chapters 11 to 13.

We also feel the document is too general, tries to cover everything and risks producing a document that may not be very useful. It would be better to focus on a few practical solutions.

Point 1: We feel this point is one that could be removed as there are other processes to review and implement the code of conduct.

Point 2: We certainly support and promote the ecosystem approach to fisheries, with more of a focus on community-based approaches in the Pacific, although there are many challenges. We do not see any discussion of the practical difficulties of implementing ecosystem based management, and there are many. The EAF is fine in principle, but it needs a simple commonsense approach.

Point 3: Socioeconomic issues and understanding these are very important to ensure the human factor is considered carefully. Community-based approaches to fisheries management are an appropriate way as it draws on the community structures and full participation of all the stakeholders.

Point 4: Overfishing in small-scale fisheries seems to be driven mainly by poverty and a lack of other opportunities. Broader economic development can help to solve these issues. Alternative approaches can also be used such as nearshore fish aggregation devices for tunas and coastal pelagic to assist small-scale artisanal fisheries and small-scale pond aquaculture in countries with adequate land and freshwater is available.

Fisheries subsidies should probably be an issue on its own as it does not fit well with this section.

Point 5: In the Pacific, not all women suffer from the handicaps listed (in parts of Melanesia title to land passes through the female line, for example). It would also be good to estimated the numbers of men and women employed in fisheries and associated services (the text just says ‘a significant portion’ are women) as this would seem like the first step in any kind of analysis of the issues.

An important issue here is to identify what are the barriers that may stop or discourage women or other disadvantaged groups from entering different work fields. Then the focus can be on removing or breaking down the barriers so that women can move into these work areas if they so choose.

Point 6: Institutional capacity is a big issue for fisheries departments in the Pacific (and many other government departments), with small staff numbers, limited budgets, and generally large mandates, covering oceanic fisheries, coastal fisheries and aquaculture.

For the internationally managed tuna fishery, regional fisheries management organizations exist, but for coastal fisheries in the Pacific, no such framework exists as the coastal resources for the most part are not shared resources.

Point 7: Clearly for the Pacific there are still opportunities to prevent the introduction of disease in aquaculture, and improved bio-security is key (not specifically mentioned in the text). We are not sure that ‘reviewing development and discussing policy options’ is going to achieve much – but it is a start. Reviewing aquaculture’s contribution to food security would be desirable.

Point 8: This is a complex field with a lot of other considerations and players involved. We do not think ‘providing policy options’ is going to help solve world trade barriers. We suggest it would be best to leave this out.

Point 9: Post harvest losses remain substantial in many fisheries, just as they are in most food production systems. There is no magic bullet here – just things like regulation to prevent/reduce discards in industrial fisheries and improved infrastructure (electricity, communications) for small scale fishing communities – again a broader development issue and not just fisheries.

Point 10: Utilization of fish waste (bones, guts, heads etc) from small-scale processing facilities is increasing and ways to process this into silage, fertilizer etc are being explored in the Pacific, although at small-scale operations.