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UNIT 5 Applicability of Fisheries Policy Options to Local, Regional, National and International Context. Coastal Fisheries Policy and Planning Course, 28/01/08 – 8/02/08, Apia, Samoa. Vina Ram-Bidesi School of Marine Studies, University of the South Pacific.

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UNIT 5Applicability of Fisheries Policy Options to Local, Regional, National and International Context

Coastal Fisheries Policy and Planning Course, 28/01/08 – 8/02/08, Apia, Samoa

Vina Ram-Bidesi

School of Marine Studies, University of the South Pacific

Secretariat of the Pacific Community


  • Briefly outline the broader context of coastal fisheries policy framework in the Pacific Islands

  • Analyze the identified fisheries policy options in addressing the goals and objectives of the broader national policy framework

  • Re-evaluate current fisheries policies

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the context of broader coastal fisheries policy framework and the policy goals and objectives

  • Identify and assess the appropriateness of a fisheries policy option in meeting the above goals and objectives

Unit 5 – Part I

The Broader context of coastal fisheries policy framework in the Pacific Islands


  • Briefly review some of the key international and regional instruments for the management and use of fisheries resources -discussed in Unit 1

  • Link to the policy options discussed in Unit 3

  • Provide a basis for re-evaluation of current coastal fisheries policies in the Pacific Islands

  • A FMR that is effective and efficient can contribute to the national policy goals and help a country to fulfill its obligations under a number of different international and regional instruments at the same time

  • Re-look at current fisheries policies implemented to see their compatibility and conformity

International Instruments

  • UNCLOS, Agenda 21, Rio Declaration of Principles, CBD, FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, Rome Declaration on World Food Security, Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action on Food Security, WSSD- Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, Millennium Development Goals, Barbados Action Plan, Mauritius Declaration

  • Other instruments – WTO rules, CITIES

Regional Instruments

 SPC – Strategic Coastal Fisheries Plan; Regional Ocean Policy; Regional Coral Reef Initiative; SPREP - International Waters Programme; Micronesian Challenge; Pacific Plan, Vava’u Declaration on Fisheries

National Instruments

  • National Constitution

  • National legislation – Fisheries & Marine Resources Act, Environment Management Act, indigenous/human rights

  • National Economic Development Strategy Plans, National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP); National Strategic Action Framework, National Economic Plans

  • Fisheries Sector Plans, Fisheries Management Plans

  • Customary/traditional norms & practices

UNCED- Agenda 21

  • Chapter 17 -sets forth the rights and obligations of States and provides international basis upon which to pursue the protection and sustainable development of the marine and coastal environment and its resources.

  • Chapter 17: programme areas A & D provides a basis for national policies and strategies on the sustainable development and management of coastal fisheries.

  • 17.74. States commit themselves to the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources under national jurisdiction. To this end, it is necessary to:

  • (a) Develop and increase the potential of marine living resources to meet human nutritional needs, as well as social, economic and development goals;

  • (b) Take into account traditional knowledge and interests of local communities, small-scale artisanal fisheries and indigenous people in development and management programmes;

  • (c) Maintain or restore populations of marine species at levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield;

  • (d) Promote the development and use of selective fishing gear and practices that minimize waste in the catch of target species and minimize by-catch of non-target species;

  • (e) Protect and restore endangered marine species;

  • (f) Preserve rare or fragile ecosystems.

  • Coastal States should support the sustainability of small-scale artisanal fisheries

  • Integrate small-scale artisanal fisheries development in marine and coastal planning

  • Prohibit dynamiting, poisoning and other comparable destructive fishing practices

Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States (SIDs)

  • Chapter IV - Programme of Action focuses on Coastal and Marine Resources as a priority area

  • The focus of this action plan has been on developing skills and capabilities of small islands to bring about a more integrated approach to development

Kyoto Declaration and Plan of Action on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security, 1995

  • One of the major strategies to enhance food security is to have effective management of fisheries resources and minimise wastage and discards

The Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action

lays the foundations for diverse paths to a common objective - food security, at the individual, household, national, regional and global levels.

World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI)

  • Paragraph 31 section a, b and h of the JPOI have direct relevance to coastal fisheries

    • Maintain or restore stocks to levels that can produce the MSY with the aim of achieving these goals for depleted stocks on an urgent basis and where possible no later than 2015.

    • Implement the 1995 Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and relevant international plan of action and technical guidelines of the FAO

    • Support the sustainable development of aquaculture

  • MDGs- United Nations Millennium Declaration adopted by the UN General Assembly (2000) - eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; achieving environmental sustainability

  • 2001 Reykjavik Declaration on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem

Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995)

  • provides principles and standards applicable to the conservation, management and development of all fisheries

  • It covers capture, processing and trade of fish and fisheries products, fishing operations, aquaculture, fisheries research and the integration of fisheries into coastal area management

Management measures include the following:

  • avoid excess fishing capacity

  • the interest of fishers, including those engaged in sustainable, small-scale and artisanal fisheries, are taken into account

  • biodiversity of aquatic habitats and ecosystems is conserved and endangered species protected

  • depleted species are allowed to recover

  • adverse environmental impacts on resources are assessed and corrected

  • pollution, waste, discards, catch of non-target species, and impacts on associated or dependent species are minimised

Regional Ocean Policy

  • 5 guiding principles for individual and collaborative action to promote responsible stewardship of the ocean for regional and global benefit

  • Implementation guidelines are elaborated in the Integrated Strategic Action Framework

SPC - Strategic Plan for Fisheries Management and Sustainable Coastal Fisheries in Pacific Islands (2005-2007)

  • reduction in catches of inshore marine species was of seen as the most important concern

  • assist in developing the capacity to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on poverty reduction

  • and outcomes of the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development

Summary of problems* in coastal fisheries management (% based on the number of countries identifying particular problems as most important).

  • Overexploitation of marine species 78%

  • Inadequate or outdated fisheries regulations 50%

  • Inadequate enforcement of fisheries regulations 50%

  • Lack of capacity in the country – eg in stock assessment, data collection 50%

  • Destructive fishing methods – eg explosives, breaking coral39%

  • Overly efficient fishing methods – eg night diving, small mesh nets, SCUBA 22%

  • Overlap between national/provincial/island responsibilities17%

  • Shift from subsistence to commercial fishing 11%

  • Ciguatera fish poisoning11%

  • Illegal fishing by foreign vessels 6%

National Level

Some changes in the recent years within coastal fisheries management in the Pacific:

  • National laws to incorporate the principles of responsible and sustainable fisheries

  • Decentralised management using community-based approaches

  • Increased participation by non-governmental organisations, industry and private sector

  • Need for strengthening monitoring, assessment, management and conservation aspects of fisheries

  • capacity building to enhance capabilities of personnel

  • Focus on mitigating impacts on non-target species

Other factors influencing national coastal fisheries policies

These include:

  • Type of government structure

  • Political history & national laws and regulations

  • Influence by traditional authorities and institutions

  • Availability of fisheries resources

  • Market demand

  • Management capability

  • Number of fishers and the level of dependence on the fisheries

The following documents provide an indication of the evolving fisheries sector policies in the Marshall Islands

  • Fisheries Policy Statement (1997)

  • National Fisheries Development Plan (1997)

  • Meto 2000 Economic Report and Statement of Development Strategies (April 2001)

  • Strategic Development Plan Framework 2003-2018 of the Vision 2018 (June 2001)

  • Marshall Islands Fisheries Sector Master Plan (November 2002) produced as part of Vision 2018 sector strategy

  • Policies and Priority Action for Sustainable Mariculture Development (August 2004)

Marshall Islands – cont’d

The fisheries policy is guided by the following interrelated needs to:

  • Improve economic benefits within sustainable limits

  • Promote responsible, private sector led developments; and

  • Strengthen institutional capacities within the country for responsible fisheries development and management

Ministry of Fiji Fisheries –Sector priorities

  • To ensure sustainable development

  • To create and maximize values

  • To create growth through development of the value chain of the two sectors

  • To increase resource owners participation in the economic development of the two sectors

  • To build capacity & provide institutional strengthening and infrastructure to support economic development in the two sectors

  • Alleviation of poverty

  • Integration of economies

  • Implementation of Government strategic interventions for disadvantaged groups

Fiji’s Fisheries Sector Policies

  • To create employment in the rural areas through resource development.

  • To uplift the living standards through active participation of resource owners through the development of the sectors.

  • To use intervention policies of Government aligned to UN policies favoring economically disadvantaged groups and indigenous communities.

  • To improve food security, supply & source through reseeding, restocking and culture of fisheries.

Typical Goals and Objectives(...as stated)

  • To promote and facilitate sustainable development to contribute to national GDP

  • Optimise long-term social and economic benefits to the nation

  • Promote long-term sustainable use and the replenishment of living marine resources

  • Achieve the optimum utilization of living resources

  • To ensure that fishing and fish processing are conducted in ways that miminise negative impacts on the environment, reduce waste, and preserve the quality of fish caught

  • Particular attention should be given to the needs of local people who depend upon fisheries for their livelihoods

  • Use best scientific information available while taking into account traditional fishing practices and knowledge where it is appropriate

  • Important fish habitats such as reefs and lagoons, wetlands and mangroves should be protected from destruction and pollution

  • Create employment opportunities for local people and communities

  • Improve income levels of fishers

  • Improve welfare of fishing communities

  • Increase value added processing to maximize returns from the fishery

Key Points

  • Incorporation of social factors in decision making- food security, maintenance of livelihoods

  • Inclusion of communities and industry

  • Reduce conflicts with other uses

  • Integrated approach to fisheries management

  • Concern over biological status of resources

  • Ineffective enforcement and monitoring

  • “Sustainable resource use”

  • Increase benefits from fisheries resources

  • ………….

A Coastal Fisheries Policy may reflect the following aspects:

  • Ecological/Biological Sustainability

  • Optimize net social/economic benefits

  • Socially acceptable

  • QUESTION?? How to achieve the above broader national policy goal?

UNIT 5: Part II

Analysis of the identified fisheries policy options in addressing the goals and objectives of the broader national policy framework

Session Objectives

  • Examine the apparent outcomes of the different fisheries policy options identified in Unit 3 and how they may address the broader policy goals and objectives

  • Identify some of the strengths and weaknesses

  • Highlight the need for a complementary set of policies in order to meet the goals and objectives of fisheries management


  • [Unit 3] - key policy options for solving the problems of fisheries.

  • These were seen in the context of designing an efficient and effective fisheries management regime comprising of the three main components

Review the Fisheries Management Regime

  • To achieve full benefits from the fisheries management, all 3 components of the fisheries management regime (FMR) must be appropriately designed, fully functional and well coordinated (Arnason, 2007).

Desirable properties of a fisheries management system (Unit 3)

  • Effectiveness in generating net fisheries rents

  • Robustness in the face of variable conditions

  • Low cost of operation

  • Minimal data needs

  • Perceived fair distribution of benefits

  • General social acceptability (Arnason, 2007).

(Arnason, 2007)

  • The MCS costs must also be taken into consideration when formulating the fisheries policy

  • FJS – benefits of violation< cost of crime

  • The net economic benefits to the fishery accrue after the payment of all the costs including management implementation & enforcement costs

Analysis of some policy options

Biological Management

  • to improve the yield of the resources through increase in biomass

  • prevent collapse of fisheries

  • Enhance biological productivity

  • measures include

    • gear and size restriction

    • area closures

    • time (seasonal) closures

  • As biomass increases, so does effort

  • With management- more fish is supplied, consumers may benefit, some gains are made during the adjustment period, costs eventually increase

  • Open access equilibrium is eventually reached

  • Gains depend on how fast the shift is in adjustment period

  • Biological measure will work if effort is restricted

Direct Economic Restrictions

  • Management measures under this include restrictions on fishing time such as days at sea; fishing capital control such as vessel size, engine power, vessel technology; and effort restrictions such as fishing gear and type of gear

Direct Economic Restrictions

  • Increases the cost of fishing effort

  • Common property problems can continue

  • Cost of operation increase due to increase MCS costs

  • Fishers try to substitute unregulated inputs, make effort more efficient by improving technology which eventually leads to increased costs

  • Gear Restriction – improve the biological health but raise operating costs

  • TAC

    • solve the biological concerns

    • it is unlikely to increase the resource rent due to the costs associated with the fishing operations

    • likely excessive investments.

Taxes and subsidies

  • Tax - can change the level of effort by changing the profitability of fishing

  • Fisheries management tax is economically beneficial if it generates income for the government from commercial fishery

  • Practical implementation of the tax poses several problems as identified in detail in Unit 3

  • Reasons why taxation is inappropriate for Pacific Island countries

Property Rights

  • Types of property rights in fisheries discussed in Unit 3 :

  • access licenses (fishing license), individual quota,

  • individual transferable quota,

  • sole ownership,

  • TURFs,

  • and community rights.

  • Common property – a holder of a right where it could be a group or groups of people where the various characteristics of a property may be weak or non- existent

    - security, exclusivity, durability, transferability

  • Licenses – these are seen as somewhat weak property rights in relation to fish stock protection since fish stock are still regarded as a common property

    • licensing in the Pacific Islands

  • Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURFs)

    • TURFs can be seen as a property right but have limitations where fish are transboundary

    • Useful in management of sedentary species

    • Widely used management measure in the Pacific Islands

Community Management

  • Where a defined group has exclusive rights

  • Whether the group is successful depends to a large extent on the knowledge and internal dynamics of the group, in particular their decision making mechanism (Arnason, 2007).

  • Widely practiced in the Pacific Islands

Individual Quota/ITQ

  • A catch quota gives the holder the right to a certain share of the TAC

  • ITQ - is economically more efficient system of quota whereby a market for quota is created

  • Allows efficient operators to harvest, thereby optimise rent/benefits

  • Disadvantages in the context of coastal fisheries

Table 5.2Assessing Policy Goals & Objectives in Fisheries Plans in the Context of Pacific Islands

Weight: 1 low contribution, 2 average contribution, 3 high contributionSR: Short Run

  • Community Management -Most practical potential policy tool in addressing the national policy goals that are partly derived from the various international and regional instruments and in meeting the local needs and aspirations

  • Choice of appropriate policy will also depend on minimizing monitoring and enforcement costs.


    • How can we design a good community fisheries management regime?

    • What is the role of government?

    • What is the role of community?

Unit 5: Part III

Re-evaluation of fisheries policies which have been implemented

Aims & Objectives

  • Critically review some of the current policies in light of meeting the stated goals and objectives

  • Reconsider the various components of the fisheries management regime to achieve the optimal policy mix

  • Identify some possible solutions, opportunities and constraints


Current Issues & concerns:

  • Sustainability of resources

  • Impose limits on coastal areas – reefs and lagoons

  • Assist in alleviating poverty

  • Provide a source of income

  • Employment generation

  • Role of government in fisheries management

  • Underlying factors influencing allocation criteria for fishing opportunities

Analysis of management systems

  • Closed Areas (Marine Protected Area) – Many of the Pacific Islands have some form of MPAs in the sea adjacent to the villages

    • Closed off either temporarily or permanently

    • Rebuild stocks, protect juveniles, spawning

  • How effective is this management tool in addressing the policy objectives?

  • Can the benefits from the fishery be optimized under such a management system?

  • Is there an effective MCS system that is enforceable and that it is enforced?

  • Analyse the costs and benefits of developing and managing a MPA

  • Size limits – Common species with size limits include beche-de-mer, trochus, mangrove crabs, pearl oysters and some finfish

  • This management measure helps to protect juveniles and ensures that there is adequate recruitment

  • Application in a subsistence and artisanal fishery??

Customary Marine Tenure (CMT)

  • A number of the Melanesian and Micronesian countries have legal recognition of customary rights - regulated by custom and culture (refer to Unit1)

  • How effective are the CMT systems in meeting the policy goals and objectives?

  • Whether the CMT is able to optimize resource rent and whether resource rents could be derived is dependent on the community choice of an optimal fishing effort, its enforcement and implementation

  • community will also need a mechanism to distribute the benefits in order to fulfill the societal goals


  • While this method is used for managing artisanal commercial fisheries, its effectiveness largely depends on the monitoring and enforcement

  • Advantages and disadvantages of licensing in coastal fisheries management

Total Allowable Catch

  • Total allowable catch has been used in some occasions to limit the amount of harvest such as trochus fishery in the Cook Islands.

  • A global TAC is unlikely to provide optimal returns - practical difficulty in monitoring and enforcement

Locally Managed Marine Areas

  • A form of a community based management where community has agreed to set up a formal structure (as representative of the community) to oversee management of the fishery

  • Strengths and weaknesses in light of the characteristics of an efficient and effective fisheries management regime?

  • What level of MCS does this system require and is it cost effective?

Concluding Comments

  • The goals and objectives must be clearly stated so that the outcomes could be measured or evaluated using some criteria such as economic and environmental principles, eg. cost and benefit analysis

  • The long term social benefits from a fishery must outweigh the long term social costs of management.

  • Often when there are several policy objectives that are not well coordinated, there will be room for conflicts and sub-optimal results.

  • Policy coordination in order to get the right policy mix that is complementary is very critical for the success of any policy.

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