|INFORMATION ON FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN MICRONESIA|
LOCATION AND MAIN LANDING PLACES
Landing sites for industrial tuna fishing vessels exist on the principal islands of each of four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), but as most of the vessels are based in Pohnpei, most offloading occurs there. Small-scale commercial fisheries are also focused on the population centres in each state, while subsistence fishery landings are scattered throughout the country.
Estimated landings by principal site (tonnes)
addition to the above, 127,000 tonnes of fish was caught in 1999 by
foreign-based offshore vessels. This
catch was not landed in FSM, but (a) for purse seine fish, at the canneries
in American Samoa or transshipped to other processing facilities in
Asia, or (b) for longline fish, in Guam or Japan, or (c) for pole/line
fish, in Japan.
SECTOR OVERVIEW: BROAD OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
According to Title 24, the main national legislation
dealing with fisheries in FSM, government interventions in the fisheries
sector are to promote conservation, management, and development of the
marine resources of the Federated States of Micronesia, generate the
maximum benefit for the Nation from foreign fishing, and to promote
the development of a domestic fishing industry.
another sense, the objectives of management interventions by the national
government in the fisheries sector are synonymous with the tuna management
objectives given in a section below.
This is because the national government has jurisdiction over
fisheries matters only in the EEZ where the only fisheries operating
are those involving tuna. The four states of FSM1
have jurisdiction over waters within 12 nautical miles from island baselines.
Overview of Government management strategy
the broadest terms, the national government’s management strategy is
to manage the tuna resources of the EEZ, and leave any management/development
of the fisheries within 12 miles of land to the concerned state.
Within this jurisdictional arrangement, the national government
does endeavor to provide management assistance to the states, should
they so request. This has consisted of information, access to consultant
expertise, assistance with legislation, and help with enforcement.
four states have management strategies which range from centrally-administered
open-access regimes to traditionally-controlled reef tenure systems.
During the German administration period (1898 to 1914) the customary
management systems in Pohnpei and Kosrae were abolished and the colonial
government assumed management control of inshore marine areas.
Because this did not occur in
Offshore tuna fisheries
The species covered by the plan are:
The Three tuna species are also covered under several regional management agreements and are soon to be covered under one international management arrangement. The regional management agreements are:
is a signatory to the Convention on the Conservation and Management
of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and
the 1980s and 1990s the objective for the management of FSM tuna fisheries
was to maximize the government income from tuna fisheries in the EEZ.
The strategy was to establish a dedicated tuna management agency and
to conduct bilateral and multilateral negotiations. Because several
stock assessment exercises had concluded that the resources were substantially
under-exploited, resource constraints were not an issue and there were
no attempts to limit harvesting. The
new tuna management regime, as articulated in the tuna management plan,
with its multiple objectives is considerably more complex.
In the FSM tuna management plan, the objectives are arranged in two different levels: (1) overall long-term objectives, and (2) specific objectives. The three overall objectives for tuna fisheries management:
The specific objectives are:
tuna management in FSM the distinction between management strategies
and management measures is blurred. In fact, the management plan defines
management strategies as “management measures, actions,
or policies to be taken or adopted individually, or as a related group,
that are intended to achieve a specific objective”. Accordingly, the
following includes both strategies and measures.
sustainability: Carefully consider the capacity of the resource
prior to licensing vessels, Continue to use stock assessment as a primary
indicator of the status of resources, Not rely on just one stock assessment,
but obtain a second opinion and ensure that all advice is unbiased,
Require fisheries data submission by those who utilize the resource
for commercial purposes, Work to quantify the level and impact of non-reported
catches, Cooperate with States in assessing the level of usage of the
resource by non-commercial users, Have MFA staff analyze resource conservation
issues, Utilize the services of regional organizations to provide analysis
on complex resource conservation issues, Provide input into an effective
surveillance program, Control (through the promulgation of regulations)
activities undertaken as part of fishing, such as use of fish aggregating
devices, transshipping, port calls, bunkering, aircraft support operations,
and research and training vessel operations.
revenue generation: License foreign vessels
and require fees, Continue to promote where appropriate regional solidarity
in dealing with DWFNs, Monitor markets and industry for economic information,
Monitor state levies and taxes on a regular basis to determine the financial
impact of all fees on the industry, Limit non-cash payment of access
fees to particular cases where the net benefit is clear, Provide input
into an effective surveillance program and encourage assets to be directed
to maximum effectiveness, Enhance MFA negotiation skills, Undertake
economic research that will help to define the optimum sustainable use
of the resource, Provide realistic evaluations of proposals for development
that include fishery access, Carry out analyses of relative benefits
of local basing options versus access fee generation.
three development-oriented management goals: Sto
E: Ensure sufficient coordination and dialog among
relevant national government departments on topics relevant to fisheries,
Ensure MFA is involved in policy-level decisions on issues concerning
fishery access agreements and the development of relationships beneficial
to FSM, Limit non-cash payment of access fees to particular cases where
the net benefit is clear, Proactively seek cooperation with other FSM
government departments in participating in regional and international
meetings and consultations dealing with or having an impact on tuna fishery
resources, Develop contacts and dialog with individuals, companies,
and governments interested in FSM fishery resources, Assist the national
government (Foreign Affairs) and state governments in evaluating the
fisheries-related content of proposed or ongoing relationships, Evaluate
direct and indirect benefits to fisheries in FSM from access arrangements.
As the basic management strategy is licensing, the MFA has detailed requirements that all licensed vessels:
is premature to judge the overall effectiveness of the strategies/measures
stipulated in the FSM tuna management plan as the plan and associate
measured have been in place for less than a year.
However, the basic measures of license requirements and fee extraction
have been in place for over two decades and appear quite effective. With respect to achieving the objective of generating
Government revenue, between 1979 and late 2000 the FSM received over $170 million
in fees for the rights to fish for tuna. In fiscal year 1999 access fees represented
an estimated 39% of non-tax revenue and 22% of total domestic revenue
for the national government.
Title 24 the enforcement of tuna management measures are vested in the
Department of Justice. The law also provides that the Attorney General
“may authorize other entities, officials or persons
to perform enforcement functions”. The
MFA has not been authorized to perform enforcement functions nor by
implication, surveillance, under Title 24. Rather than being
an executing agency, the MFA has been identified as the “primary customer”
of activities undertaken by the Department of Justice. Surveillance can be seen to include three elements:
air and sea fishery patrols, port inspections, and operation of a
The major stakeholders in FSM tuna fisheries fall into two categories: (1) domestic parties, and (2) the foreign fleet operators. The latter category is able to input into the decision making process during the access negotiation process and associated periodic consultations. Domestic stakeholders are primarily participants in the FSM tuna industry, government departments, and the general public. During the preparation of the FSM tuna management plan a National Steering Committee composed of these stakeholders was convened in March 2000 and shortly thereafter a series of consultations was held in each of the states with public and private sector interests. More than seventy-five individuals participated in the consultations. People with views to express often meet with officials of the MFA when issues of concern arise.
is acquired for management decisions in a number of ways. Licensed operators
are required to record and submit daily records of fishing activity,
including catch of all species and fishing effort. From time to time
licensed operators are required to carry an observer who collects information
on fishing activities for stock assessment, research and monitoring
purposes. The MFA works in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Pacific
Community to collect length-frequency, catch composition and species
composition data, for the purposes of logbook data validation, stock
assessment and research. This data is analyzed at MFA and also forwarded
to the Oceanic Fisheries Programme of SPC where it is combined with
similar information from neighboring countries to provide a regional
perspective to FSM on tuna resources.
major tuna tagging programs were carried out in FSM and surrounding
countries by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in the late 1970s
and late 1980s. Over-all assessments of the tuna resources of
FSM were done by SPC in 1984, by Dr. J. Sibert in 1990 under sponsorship
of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, by SPC in 1991, and again
by Dr. J. Sibert in 1995 under sponsorship of MFA.
SPC regularly produces regional tuna assessments of the area
that encompasses FSM as well as other
coastal fisheries resources of FSM include a large variety of species
groups of which the finfish are the most important.
A Forum Fisheries Agency report on the important fisheries resources
of FSM indicates that the important families of finfish are: Lutjanidae,
Lethrinidae, Serranidae, Scaridae, Labridae, Siganidae, Acanthuridae,
Carangidae, Muligidae, and Holocentridae.
Important non-finfish coastal resources include giant clams,
trochus, octopus, mangrove crabs, lobster, beche de mer, turtles, and
coastal fisheries in the four states of FSM are very different with
respect to fishery management arrangements. In some respects, the management
regimes are so dissimilar that the situation resembles four different
countries. The following paragraphs provide a thumbnail sketch of coastal
resource management issues in each state:
Kosrae is the state with
the least complex fishery management environment. A single small high
island with a relatively small population (who are historically not
such ardent fishermen as those of other FSM states), limited resources,
and far from most commercial marketing opportunities, Kosrae’s fishery
management problems are mainly related to the smallness of the resource.
Harvests of certain key species such as trochus and crabs are, or need
to be, controlled, but most threats to coastal resources come from land-based
developments that cause erosion, increased runoff, pollution or sedimentation.
However Kosrae probably has the best-developed coastal management system
of any state, with environmental review procedures being progressively
implemented for all coastal development projects. Basic statistics on
catches are said to be collected on a regular basis, but these are not
analyzed or published.
Pohnpei is something of an
intermediate case in terms of resources, degree of exploitation, and
the extent of fishery management problems. Some production statistics
are collected by the State fisheries agency, but these are not analyzed
to show trends or even annual production data. The general perception
in Pohnpei seems to be that resources are not yet in crisis but that
the time is approaching when management action will be needed, at least
on Pohnpei proper. Unfortunately there is also something of a fatalistic
view that management will not be possible until a crisis situation develops.
As in other states, enforcement of State fishery laws by State police
or conservation officers is largely ineffective, while the absence of
traditional reef/ lagoon tenure systems on Pohnpei proper may impede
the development of community-based management arrangements. A major
issue in Pohnpei is land-based development: the island has lost a large
proportion of its virgin forest to cultivation and this is thought to
have caused increased runoff, sedimentation, and chronic reef degradation.
Yap is unique in the degree
to which traditional marine tenure arrangement have been preserved,
both in Yap proper and in the outer islands. Inshore fishery management
in the state essentially needs to be community-based because the state
constitution and laws recognize that communities and their leaders have
authority over access to and use of coastal areas. Relative to other
Because of the diversity of management conditions in each state, there is certainly no well-articulated “management system” for the coastal fisheries in FSM. Generalizations are therefore difficult to make. Probably the most comprehensive nation-wide initiative on the subject of inshore fisheries management was at the FSM Coastal Fisheries Consortium held in Pohnpei in December 2000. The meeting attempted to compile some common themes in inshore fisheries management in FSM:
of the diversity of management situations in the four states of FSM,
it is difficult to generalize on objectives, strategies, and measures. Nevertheless, some comments can be made.
of the management objectives appear to be related to the protection
of the resource base so as to assure continuity of food supplies, or
viability of commercial exploitation.
In some locations, protecting species from extinction (e.g. turtles)
is an objective.
Strategies include reef tenure
with selective exclusion of outsiders (
The measures used to achieve the objectives fall into two categories: traditional and conventional. The traditional measures are often exclusion of people external to the community, bans on particular types of fishing, and reef closures. Most of the conventional measures could be categorized as “technical measures” and do not involved controls on input, output, or economic incentives. The exception to this is the quota placed on trochus harvesting. Many of the conventional measures involve types of species harvest bans. Examples of this from Pohnpei are:
Many of the measures now
in place seem to be a historical artifact of the
It is difficult to make generalization
about the effectiveness of the various management measures. One observation is that management arrangements
seem to be most effective in those States or areas where a community-based
or participatory approach is used. This observation encompasses both
the more traditional systems in place in
of the traditional measures is by the traditional authorities at the
location concerned. Enforcement
of conventional measures depends on the state concerned, but usually
is the dual responsibility of the police and fisheries agency.
The FSM Coastal Fisheries Consortium held in Pohnpei in December
2000 made some comments on the enforcement of measures: ”There is a
universal difficulty in enforcing State-level fishery regulations. Enforcement
is impeded at every step: there are not enough enforcement officers
or patrols, enforcement officers often turn a blind eye to offenders
because of family or personal connections, and on the rare occasions
that cases are brought to court, they are often dismissed or dealt with
lightly, providing no disincentive to the offender.”
The degree of direct stakeholder input into traditional management decisions can vary considerably between communities. In general, the communities are small enough so that people involved in fisheries are able to express their views to the leaders involved in decision-making. Views on fisheries management, especially that involving neighboring communities and outside influences can be discussed at various levels of local government, and then conveyed to the state fisheries authorities and elected officials. In the conventional centrally administered management, stakeholders can visit the state fishery agencies and attend public hearings which are required for major changes to fisheries legislation.
information for traditional management is acquired by direct observation
by local residents of the abundance of the species concerned.
For the centrally administered regimes, there have been fisheries
statistical systems set up in all the states, but with the possible
exception of Kosrae these systems are not functional at present. When
they were, the information was not often analyzed or used.
As most management decisions are in response to a crisis, reports
associated with the crisis are often the main source of information.
Public hearings on important issues may reveal additional facts.
The main legislation dealing with fisheries
in FSM is Title 24 of the Code of the
Title 24 indicates the management agency (MFA) shall have authority to adopt regulations for the conservation, management, and exploitation of fish in the exclusive economic zone. It also states that the regulations adopted have the full force of law. As of mid-2001 the MFA had the following regulations:
Title 18 of the Code establishes a territorial sea twelve nautical
miles in breadth from an island baseline.
Chapter 23 of the Code deals with marine species preservation.
It prohibits the catching of marine life through the use of explosives,
poisons, chemicals or other substances, or the use of those substances
with the intent to kill marine life. There are also limitations, in
the form of seasonal closures and size restrictions, on the taking of
turtles, sponges, black-lip mother-of-pearl oyster shell and trochus.
The taking of marine mammals for commercial purposes or by commercial
fishing parties is prohibited.
important facet of the legislation in FSM with respect to fisheries
is the partitioning of jurisdiction between the national government
and state governments. Article IX of the Constitution gives the National
Government power -“...to regulate the ownership, exploration, and exploitation
of natural resources within the marine space of the Federated States
of Micronesia beyond 12 miles from island baselines." Fisheries
within the territorial sea and the internal waters of FSM are subject
to the legislative control of the adjacent
legislation in all four states is in the process of being modified.
In 1996 draft legislation was prepared for each State in consultation
with State officials. The draft legislation was intended, in each case,
to enable community or traditional participation in fisheries management,
and to harmonize key provisions among states and with the national government
for effective management and enforcement purposes. Since that time,
there have been changes in personnel, political administrations and
priorities in the states. There has been uneven progress in revising
the fisheries laws – by mid-2001 only Kosrae had enacted the new fisheries
INVESTMENTS AND SUBSIDIES IN FISHERIES
are no recent published estimates of the value of investments or subsidies
in the FSM fisheries sector. A
1994 report by the Forum Fisheries Agency on tuna industry development
in FSM stated: “The government of FSM have traditionally exercised a
strong preference for public sector activity over alternative domestic
private enterprise….Various estimates place the total industry investments
by the governments of FSM at over US$100 million.”
In 2000 an Asian Development Bank project estimated FSM government
fisheries enterprises had a total capitalization of just over $23 million.
from infrastructure (substantial in all states), the largest government
investments in fisheries are the two purse seiners owned by Pohnpei
State, the one purse seiner owned by Chuuk State, and the one purse
seiner owned by Yap State, the fish processing plant owned by Pohnpei
State, the cold storage facility
owned by Kosrae State, and the dockside facilities owned by Chuuk and
largest private sector investments are the 15 or so domestic longline
vessels (seven of which are owned by a company partly owned by the national
government), the 25 of so longline vessels from
Fisheries-related subsidies fall into two categories:
amounts of these subsidies are not readily available in documents in
the public domain.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR FISHERY PRODUCTS
Projections for the supply and demand for fish
are unavailable for FSM. Nevertheless, some crude estimates can be made
by combining present fish consumption information with forecasts for
The population of FSM in 1998 was 114,100.
Depending on migration and changes in fertility, the 2025 population
is likely to be between 184,800 and 236,900.
Taking the midpoint, this would be 1.85 times the 1998 population.
There have been several attempts to calculate
fish consumption in FSM in recent years. These estimates have ranged
from 72 to 119 kg per person per year.
If it is assumed that annual per capita consumption
is 96 kg, then FSM consumed about 10,900 mt of fish in 1998. If the population expands 1.85 times between
1999 and 2025 as indicated above, and per capita fish consumption remains
the same as in 1998, about 20,250 mt of fish will be required in 2025.
NATIONAL AND SUB-NATIONAL FISHERIES INSTITUTIONS
The Micronesian Fisheries Authority (MFA) was created to monitor and control tuna fisheries in the waters of FSM’s EEZ. The legal basis for this mandate is contained in Title 24 of the FSM Code. MFA is composed of five members. Members serve a two-year term, elect a Chairman, and adopt their own rules of procedure. The day-to-day activities of the office are carried out by an Executive Director and nine professional and support staff. The law grants MFA specific powers to:
The Fisheries Section of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) is responsible for assisting the states in fisheries development and management. Based on 1999 budget documentation, the functions of the Section are:
The National Fisheries Corporation is charged with tuna-related fisheries development, including the coordination of air freighting services. According to Title 24, The Corporation's authority includes the ability to:
organizational relationships of these national FSM fisheries agencies
(please click to enlarge image)
Various fisheries institutions are located in the four states. These include:
· Division of Marine Resources
· Environmental Protection Authority
· Division of Fisheries Development
· Division of Fisheries Management
· Office of Marine Resource Conservation and Management
· Department of Resource Management and Development
· Economic Development Authority
· Economic Planning Commission, Office of the Governor
· Conservation Society of Pohnpei (NGO)
· Division of Marine Resource Development
organisations are based in Pohnpei except for the National Aquaculture
Development Centre, which is based in Kosrae. The other organisations
are based in their respective state capitals - Kolonia (Pohnpei), Weno
(Chuuk), Kolonia (