Fishing capacity management and IUU fishing in Asia

Fishing capacity management and IUU fishing in Asia


Fishing capacity management and
IUU fishing in Asia

Gary Morgan, Derek Staples
Simon Funge-Smith

Bangkok, 2007

The designation and presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries.

© FAO 2007


All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for sale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to the Senior Fishery Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Maliwan Mansion, 39 Phra Athit Road, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.



For copies write to:   

The Senior Fishery Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Maliwan Mansion, 39 Phra Athit Road
Bangkok 10200
Tel: (+66) 2 697 4000
Fax: (+66) 2 697 4445


In response to the recommendations of the 29th Session of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) to assist members improve management of their fishing capacity, APFIC Secretariat convened a regional workshop on “Managing fishing capacity and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Asian region in Phuket, Thailand, from 19 to 21 June 2007. This report has been commissioned as a background paper for this workshop to identify the major issues faced by APFIC Members.

The report provides a regional synthesis based on responses to questionnaires sent to 15 countries in the region in addition to the previously available information. These focused on the current status of the management of fishing capacity and how countries in the region are addressing IUU fishing by both national and foreign fleets. The report shows that there were still many fishing overcapacity issues in the region and that some progress to address these issues is being made. This included the formulation of National Plans of Action (NPOAs) on fishing capacity and attempts to assess fishing capacity and implement fishing capacity reduction programme in major fisheries, particularly small-scale fisheries.

At the regional level, fishing capacity in both industrial and small-scale fisheries has continued to rise and production had also decreased in the majority of fisheries for which data were provided, indicating that the problem still pervades in the region. Identified problems include lack of policy and operational tools as a major constraint to solving the problem, with only 50 percent of the major fisheries having management plan. Very weak vessel licensing systems and catch and effort data systems and monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) capabilities further hamper progress. IUU fishing also remains a major issue in the region, with many Members identifying illegal fishing by both national and foreign fishers in their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) as the main issues.

This background report gives a clear picture of the need for action to address capacity management and IUU fishing in the Asia region.

He Changchui                              
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific      

Table of contents

Executive summary



Fisheries capacity management in APFIC countries

      Have countries of the region identified fishing capacity issues that require management?

      To what extent have national plans of action to address fishing capacity issues been developed?

      For what proportion of fisheries (industrial, marine artisanal and inland) has fishing capacity been assessed?

      What are the legislative and institutional barriers to addressing fishing capacity in the region?

      Do countries of the region have the necessary tools in place to assess and manage fishing capacity and are those tools appropriate to the region?

      What methods have been most commonly used in the region for capacity reduction?

      Have previous attempts at capacity reduction in specific fisheries been successful?

      What progress has been made by countries of the region since 2002 in addressing fishing capacity?

      What plans do member countries have to address fishing capacity issues within the next five years?

IUU issues in APFIC countries

      What are the greatest IUU fishing issues reported by member countries?

      Where are vessels of the region that are engaged in foreign fishing operating?

      Do countries of the region control IUU fishing in other countries or on the high seas by their nationals?

      To what extent have national plans of action been developed to address IUU fishing?