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4.1 Formulating Management Plans to Reflect Selected Objectives and Constraints
4.2 Identifying and Agreeing on Objectives for the Fishery
4.3 Implementation

4.1 Formulating Management Plans to Reflect Selected Objectives and Constraints

(i) A fisheries management plan is a formal or informal arrangement between a fishery management authority and interested parties which identifies the partners in the fishery and their respective roles, details the agreed objectives for the fishery and specifies the management rules and regulations which apply to it and provides other details about the fishery which are relevant to the task of the management authority (see Section 1.6.2). The relationship between the management plan and the fisheries policy and objectives is discussed in Section 1.7.

(ii) It is suggested that management plans reflecting the management objectives should be drawn-up for all fisheries (7.3.3). These management plans will then serve as a reference and information source for the management authority and all interest groups, summarizing the current state of knowledge on the resource, its environment and the fishery, and reflecting all the decisions and actions agreed upon during the course of consultations between the management authority and the interest groups. Ensuring plans are developed and implemented for all fisheries helps to avoid planned management measures on one fishery creating unforeseen problems and externalities in a neighbouring fishery for which no plan is available (see Section 1.5.2).

(iii) The considerations which would normally be included in a management plan are indicated in Table 4. The details of the data required for the formulation of a management plan are discussed in Section 2.3.

4.2 Identifying and Agreeing on Objectives for the Fishery

4.2.1 The need for consultation with recognized interest groups
4.2.2 Determining the appropriate management measures
4.2.3 Reviewing the management plan

4.2.1 The need for consultation with recognized interest groups

(i) In most fisheries, governments have the primary responsibility and accountability for making decisions in relation to fisheries management. However, such decisions should be preceded by a number of processes, the details of which will vary according to the nature of the fishery.

(ii) It is essential that the decisions made on objectives and management measures for a fishery should reflect the best scientific information available (7.4.1). The amount of information will vary according to the nature of the fishery and the capacity of the management authority. However, in all cases, every reasonable effort should be made to have sufficient information to make informed decisions which reflect the probable productivity of the resource and the nature of its environment. Failure to do this will substantially increase the risks of biological, social and economic damage, unless the precautionary approach is invoked. Wherever the information (or the precision of the advice) is deemed insufficient, a precautionary approach should be adopted (see Section 1.8).

(iii) The utilization of living aquatic resources and the management of this utilization should be seen as partnerships between the management authority and the interest groups (see Section 3.3). The objectives should reflect the reasonable desires of the interest groups, within the constraints imposed by the biological and ecological limitations of the resources and the overriding objectives of national planning. Therefore, consultation and joint decision-making are essential in determining the objectives.

(iv) Many reasonable objectives will be mutually incompatible (see Section 1.5). For example, maximizing average yield from a fishery is incompatible with minimizing biological risk to the resource or minimizing impact on other stocks, such as those predators also dependent on the resource. Similarly, maximizing the economic returns from a fishery may be incompatible with maximizing employment opportunities. Therefore, interest groups will frequently have opposing objectives. In order to achieve maximum compliance and cooperation from all parties, it is important to arrive at a compromise which will at least be accepted, if not without reservation, by all or most of the interest groups. This will require open and transparent decision-making (7.1.9) and close consultation with all recognized interest groups and the application of effective decision-making procedures and approaches.

(v) The interest groups may include non-fishery groups and, in the case of coastal and inland fisheries, frequently will include such groups. Where a fishery is substantially impacted by external environmental factors, it is important to reflect this and to include interest groups or authorities responsible for the external factors in the management plan. There are four possible scenarios to be considered within the time frame of the management plan:

Different management responses will be required depending on which of these scenarios is believed to be correct. Liaison with the external interest groups is important to: identify the most likely scenario; through discussion to avoid undesirable changes or promote favourable changes; estimate the most desirable management options within the macro-economic context of the region, State or local area; or to negotiate compensation to adversely affected interest groups.

4.2.2 Determining the appropriate management measures

(i) A variety of management measures is available to fisheries managers, and each of them will have different implications for the resource and for the objectives set for the fishery (see Sections 3.1 and 3.2). The most appropriate set of management measures should therefore be selected to facilitate achieving these objectives. This will require careful consideration of the effects and implications of the measures referred to in Sections 3.1 and 3.2.

(ii) In evaluating management measures, it is necessary to consider their implications for the biological, ecological, economic and social objectives of the fishery under consideration (7.2.1; 7.2.2; 7.2.3).

(iii) Any fishery exists within a broader ecological, economic and social context (see Sections 1.5 and 2.2). Failure to recognize this and to adopt management measures which are consistent with the policies, objectives and management approaches of the broader geo-political zone could result in failure, or reduced efficiency of the fisheries management strategy, or conflict between different users (7.2.3).

(iv) Similarly, management measures need to reflect the macro-economic policy for, for example, the catchment area, river basin, coastal zone, local area or State (see Section 1.5.2).

(v) There is seldom a single correct set of management measures that should be applied to a fishery; rather, there are trade-offs between desirable, less-desirable or undesirable effects. The most appropriate set of management measures is that which maximises the desirable effects and minimizes the undesirable effects for a particular fishery and the objectives set for it. It is therefore necessary, for responsible fisheries, to investigate the costs (in the broader sense) and the benefits of different sets of management measures to identify those most appropriate for the fishery (7.4.3; 7.6.7).

(vi) An important consideration in the implementation of a management plan is that any controls or constraints on the fishers or other interested parties should be implementable by the management authority. This requires that the management measures are feasible and that the management authority and interest groups have the capacity to put them into effect. For example, management by catch quotas will almost certainly fail if the management authority does not have the human and financial resources to monitor catches, or the use of closed areas will not work if the authority is unable to patrol the areas and prevent illegal activities within them. Therefore, the implications for monitoring, control and surveillance of the management measures being considered should be taken into account.

(vii) As with setting objectives, the management measures in operation form a part of the social contract or arrangement between the management authority and the interested parties. Consideration and selection of the set of measures for a given fishery should be undertaken openly and transparently and with full participation by all recognised interest groups. Failure to observe this recommendation could lead to non-compliance by all or some interested parties. The deliberations and final decisions should again be taken on the basis of the best available scientific information, including information on the biological, economic and social implications.

4.2.3 Reviewing the management plan

The status of the resource, the circumstances and priorities of the interest groups and the national circumstances and priorities of any geo-political zone change with time. This means that management objectives and measures can also become obsolete or inappropriate with time. For this reason, a regular evaluation should be undertaken of the effectiveness and efficiency of the management plan, normally every three to five years with revisions made as necessary (7.6.8). Such revisions should be undertaken with all the normal pre-requisites for decision-making discussed in this document.

4.3 Implementation

4.3.1 Effective legal and institutional framework (7.1.1; 7.7.1)
4.3.2 Effective administrative structure (7.7.1)
4.3.3 Effective monitoring control and surveillance (7.7.3).

4.3.1 Effective legal and institutional framework (7.1.1; 7.7.1)

(i) Within the context of these Guidelines, the term “legislation” is used in the broadest sense, encompassing all types of national and local laws and regulations. What follows here is intended to provide general guidance only and much will depend on whether the country in question has a civil law, common law, or other legal system, and whether or not it is a federal system. The term “legal regime” covers, as appropriate, these as well as international legal instruments. The relevant provisions of any legal regime which relate to the management of a fishery essentially guarantee that the rules, i.e. the general terms and conditions under which the fishery should be managed and the mechanisms that regulate conflicts, enjoy the force of law. Those provisions are usually framed, revised or amended to reflect the agreed fisheries management policy. The relevant segments of any fisheries management legal regime should not depart from reflecting the desired medium- to long-term management objectives for that fishery.

(ii) From a formal standpoint, at national level the primary legislation (typically a Fisheries Act) is usually approved by the Legislature (e.g. Congress, Parliament). It is generally broad in scope and typically lays down principles and policies (see Section 1.7). It may also reflect varying degrees of detail of implementation, such as the main features of a specific mechanism (e.g. that controlling the allocation of fishing rights). Legislation adopted by the Government through a delegated law-making authority generally sets out the substantive and procedural details of implementation of the provisions of the primary legislation. These are usually referred to as regulations (which may consist of rules, orders, decrees or by-laws).

(iii) Responsible fisheries management requires that the primary fisheries legislation should, as far as possible, not be subject to frequent changes. It should include reference to establishing fishery management plans and some indications of the modalities of the planning process. The primary legislation should therefore define the institutional structure for fisheries management and should empower this structure with the corresponding authority. Hence, in order to implement successfully fisheries management decisions, legal clarity is essential as to who is entitled to administer and control the use of the fisheries resources.

(iv) At national level, the above paragraph implies that the primary fisheries legislation should spell out precisely the functions, powers and responsibilities of government or other institutions involved in fisheries management, including the delimitation of their jurisdiction. Ideally, the legal regime should provide the basis for one or more fisheries management authorities to formulate, monitor and implement fisheries management plans, including the necessary powers to formulate appropriate management measures and enforce the related fisheries regulations. Where more than one management authority exists, overlapping jurisdictions should be avoided as far as possible.

(v) In specifying jurisdiction, it is necessary to define the policy-making entity, the geographical area the policy covers, the interested parties likely to be bound by the policy, the institutions respectively responsible for implementing and for enforcing the management plan, and how inter-institution jurisdictional disputes will be resolved. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to overlap and conflicts both between sectoral management institutions and between different tiers of government, all claiming jurisdiction in respect of common matters. Consideration should also be given, as appropriate, to reducing administrative inefficiencies and duplications. More generally, any assessment of a fisheries management structure should emphasize the relationship between the characteristics of the institutional system and its likely effectiveness.

(vi) Routine management control measures (e.g. closed seasons, size limits, permissible effort) which may need frequent revision should be spelt out in subordinate legislation, such as regulations, which are, or should be, fairly easily changed to reflect changes in fisheries management needs. A similarly flexible approach could be applied to other matters of procedure. In many cases, keeping regulations simple with a clear connection to the relevant management issue and ensuring that procedures for implementation are fair and transparent, are likely to encourage compliance by interested parties.

(vii) The management authority should continually monitor the suitability and cost effectiveness of fisheries regulations and evaluate them in detail when modifying management plans for specific fisheries (7.6.7). Those provisions which appear to be obsolete or not enforceable should be amended as required. Further, the laws and regulations implemented should be readily enforceable, and the jurisdictional and administrative procedures supporting enforcement should be fair and transparent (7.1.9). Failure to consider properly these issues is likely to undermine the credibility and acceptability of the overall fisheries legal regime and the level of compliance.

(viii) All relevant international legal instruments, and in particular the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1995 UN Convention on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, should be taken into consideration when preparing or amending fisheries management legal regimes. When relevant, and particularly with regard to inland fisheries, full use should be made of the provisions which exist in international instruments or arrangements providing mechanisms for integrated management of fisheries resources at river basin level. The coastal and riverine zones are usually covered by several overlapping maritime, water, forestry or other legal regimes. The fisheries legislation should be in harmony with the general body of legal instruments covering these activities. Particular attention should be given to other legal regimes in the context of integrated coastal area management, either at domestic or international levels.

(ix) Where the management policy includes some form of formal partnership arrangement with one or more interested party, potentially useful principles rooted in traditional practice could provide valuable guidance to national legislators and should not be overlooked (7.6.6).

(x) Appropriately widespread consultation should be undertaken with the interested parties during the process of formulating or amending legal provisions relating to fisheries management (see Section 4.2.1). Such collaboration should ideally be accompanied by acceptance by interested parties of their obligations with respect to management measures. Failure by the interested parties or their representatives to abide by the regulations set by the authority must lead to penalties which should be set at a level to be effective deterrents (7.7.2). Such deterrents should include, where appropriate, the loss of the right to participate in the fishery.

(xi) In order to encourage compliance it is important for the management authority to ensure that the laws and regulations are distributed to all interested parties and, where necessary, adequate attention given to ensuring they are fully understood (7.1.10).

(xii) Another important function of any fisheries legal regime is to establish the institutional arrangements and procedures necessary to reduce potential conflicts and facilitate their resolution when they occur. When disputes do occur, allowance should be made for recourse to formal procedures and a transparent dispute settlement process. These could include hearings and, as appropriate, the setting of compensation. However, in view of the social and economic nature of most conflicts related to fisheries management, attention may frequently need to be given to achieving a balance of interests when resolving conflict, rather than attempting to identify a correct and an incorrect party. When the authority for managing a fishery is devolved to local or community levels, an instrument of agreement should ideally be negotiated prior to the devolution, by which interested parties accept binding dispute settlement, where necessary, by a third party agreed upon between themselves and the management authority.

4.3.2 Effective administrative structure (7.7.1)

(i) The preceding sections have indicated that fisheries management requires the capacity to:

(ii) The above tasks clearly require adequate capacity and facilities, which will require adequate financing. The Code of Conduct suggests that, where appropriate, efforts should be made to recover the costs of fisheries management, including conservation and research, from the interest groups who are deriving benefits (7.7.4).

(iii) In determining the scope of the above activities, the management authority should bear in mind the value of the fishery to the State, sub-region or region, and develop management approaches which are consistent with this (see Section 1.5.2).Where the management authority is dealing with trans-boundary or highly-migratory stocks, the States and regional or sub-regional bodies should determine between them how the activities will be funded.

(iv) In addition to recommendations included under Article 7, the requirements relating to research by the management authority are listed in the Code under Article 12. This article recommends that States should establish a suitable institutional framework to identify applied research requirements (12.2) and should ensure that research undertaken meets internationally accepted scientific standards (12.6). Article 12 lists the following areas where research is required:

(v) Most of these research activities are an integral part of ensuring that fisheries management decisions are based on the “best scientific information available” (and possible), and these activities are integral to resource monitoring and assessment. Therefore, the development of appropriate research capacity and on-going collection, collation and analysis of fisheries and fishery resource data and research results is critical to the implementation of responsible fisheries management.

(vi) It has widely come to be recognized that effective, sustainable fisheries are only possible if there is close cooperation and mutual acceptance between the interest groups, probably dominated by fisheries interests, and the management authority. It has also become evident that the debate between interest groups is made easier when all such groups have a really significant interest in the matter to be debated i.e. something valuable to lose. The authority is responsible for ensuring that only significantly interested parties are allowed to participate in the consultation and that this consultation takes place and leads, as far as is possible, to consensus andoptimal decisions. This will require the establishment of the necessary structures and responsibilities within the management authority to:

4.3.3 Effective monitoring control and surveillance (7.7.3).

(i) The purpose of a monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) system is to ensure that fishery policy in general and the conservation and management arrangements for a specific fishery are implemented fully and expeditiously (7.1.7).

(ii) There is no unique solution to the design and implementation of MCS systems. While they are based on common principles and goals (see e.g. Sections 2.2.4; 2.3.4; 2.4.4), they need to be modified and tailored to the characteristics and needs of each specific fishery, varying substantially, for example, from artisanal to industrial and from concentrated to dispersed. Fisheries that characteristically have very mobile fleets targeting highly migratory species of fish will require sub-regional or regional co-operation in conservation and management and hence also in MCS. Such cooperation should include measures to deter the activity of vessels flying the flag of non members or non participants in established organizations or arrangements from engaging in activities undermining the effectiveness of the agreed management measures (7.7.5).

(iii) A range of separate or inter-linked activities of varying degrees of sophistication can be implemented as part of an MCS system. Some of these activities are simple and inexpensive, involving, for example, collection of catch and effort information at landing points, exchange of data for the same fleets if they are operating in adjacent EEZs and encouraging fishers to report infringements. At the other end of the spectrum are costly and sophisticated activities involving dedicated MCS vessels and support aircraft (see Fishing operations. FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No.1. Rome, FAO. 1996. 26p.). Transponders, providing cost-effective and immediate information on vessel location and activities, are already being used for MCS in some fisheries and their application is likely to increase rapidly.

(iv) It can be anticipated that the need for surveillance to ensure compliance with regulations will diminish with greater participation in the management process by fishers and other interest groups. With greater shared responsibility, individual fishers and others will tend to infringe regulations less frequently and will also assume greater responsibility for surveillance themselves, reducing the responsibility to be borne by the overall management authority.

(v) MCS in small-scale fisheries presents a range of unique problems which relate to large numbers of widely dispersed fishers operating within a fishery. An important approach to MCS in such fisheries is, where possible, to foster a strong local awareness of and identity with the need for conservation and management. Through community-based rights of access to resources and other communally-agreed management measures, effective cooperative MCS systems can be developed.

(vi) In industrial fisheries, authorized fishers need to be provided with incentives to elicit voluntary compliance with fishery policy and agreed management plans and management measures, in order to reduce the operational requirements and costs of MCS. To achieve this objective, action must be taken, where not already done, to convert fishers from open-access status to legitimate holders of access in a controlled and restricted fishery. In this way a sense of part-ownership of, and hence responsibility for, the resource can be developed in fishers (see Section 3.2).

(vii) Notwithstanding the above, it is unlikely that the need for surveillance, or at least coordination of surveillance, by a management authority will ever disappear completely. A distinction should be made here between the need for consultation with fishers before developing regulations and subsequent enforcement which should be complete, impartial and not subject to 'special intervention'. Thus, in the event that violations do occur, there must be provision for swift, impartial and appropriate enforcement action to deter fishers from further violations of the agreed management and control measures, including, where appropriate, the loss of fishing rights.

(viii) Because fishers are the primary beneficiaries of MCS programmes, the practice in some countries has been that they bear some, if not all, of the costs of MCS. Where a decision is made to implement this approach, it should be introduced incrementally, and the fishing industry required to assume progressivelyhigher shares of MCS costs. Clearly, this type of measure will be most acceptable and effective if fishers are involved in the management process from policy through to decisions on MCS and enforcement strategy.

(ix) It should also be recognized that not only does an effective and well planned MCS system enhance fisheries conservation and management but should also lead to improved safety for vessels and crew and permits the real-time transfer of market information which can be beneficial to the fishing industry as a whole. This consideration has proved to be a significant one in some industrial fisheries in developed States.

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