Please find my input to your consultation on the Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition.
Thank you for the invitation and opportunity to provide comments on the planned work.
With respect to issue 1 - Fisheries ecolabelling schemes that operationalize the FAO code of conduct provide viable mechanisms for fisheries to implement the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible fishing. Many fisheries are using Fisheries Improvement Projects as a route to work towards improving sustainability and meet fishery ecolabelling performance standards. The incentive of market support for sustainability provides strong encouragement for fisheries to improve practices and ultimately reap economic benefits from being sustainable. These benefits ensure the continued sustenance of the resource and ensure that livelihoods and food security is safeguarded.
The study will benefit from a review of the development and evolution of these Fishery Improvement Project initiatives and from exploring how uptake of Fisheries Improvement Projects may be scaled up to increase the extent of participation of fisheries in FIPs. This issue is also related to issue 3. The market should reward fishers for good stewardship of resources. Sustainability as a value-added attribute ensures sustainable growth.
With respect to issue 6, the lack of data for fisheries in many countries is a severe constraint to successful management of fisheries resources in many instances. Improved capacity for research and fisheries studies will be hugely beneficial to fisheries. Fisheries research particularly for developing countries needs to be tailored to country specific needs and needs to be affordable. Development of capacity in fisheries research will contribute immensely to sustainable management. The study should pay attention to understanding means and mechanisms to improve research capacity and identification of cost effective research tools and methods.
On the last issue, issue 10, the importance of resource accountability cannot be overestimated. It should in fact be treated as a separate component worthy of attention in own right. Transparency of information about fisheries resources, allocation, management and data will empower stakeholders to be able to participate effectively in how fisheries resources are managed and to robustly challenge misuse or misappropriation of fisheries resources. Access of stakeholders to fisheries information needs to improve to match opportunities provided in a digital age. Some of the challenges of accountability are related to data limitations. The lack of robust findings from credible research can often mean there is in fact no information available that can be used to hold management to account. The study should explore factors limiting transparency of information in fisheries information systems used in the fisheries sector and should aim at understanding constraints to sharing information with a view to identifying and recommending policies to ensure information about fisheries is more widely shared by government with the general public and key stakeholder groups.
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