Fisheries Management Effectiveness

Fisheries management involves a system of appropriate, scientifically-based objectives and rules for management. Strategies and tools to implement these rules must also exist, as well as a system for enforcing the rules and monitoring results. By implementing a successful fisheries management system, social and economic benefits can be increased while maintaining sustainable yields and protecting/securing fishery resources.

The management effectiveness of the world’s marine fisheries, both large and small-scale, is important to food provision and livelihoods that depend upon fish and seafood. 

For large-scale fisheries, management is typically the responsibility of federal, state or town governments.  For small-scale fisheries, management may be accomplished through collaboration at more local levels, including communities, tribes or even families, in conjunction with appropriate government entities.

Functions, Responsibilities and Relationships for a Fisheries Management System
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Which Goals Does This Affect?

How Was It Measured?

Large-scale Fisheries

Mora et al. (2009) assessed the current effectiveness of fisheries management regimes for Scientific Robustness, Policy Transparency, Implementation Capacity, Subsidies, Fishing Effort, and Foreign Fishing. All countries with coastal areas were assessed through a combination of surveys, empirical data and enquiries to fisheries experts. For each reporting region in the Ocean Health Index, Mora et al.’s scores for each category were rescaled to 0 and 1, scaling the maximum possible value for each category as 1. For each country or reporting region, scores for all 6 categories were averaged to produce an overall score that serves as its overall Fisheries Management Effectiveness score.

Small-scale Fisheries

To measure management effectiveness for artisanal fisheries, data were used from Mora et al. (2009) based upon surveys that represent the opportunity for artisanal and recreational fishing in each country based on the quality of management of the small-scale fishing sector. Scores reported by Mora et al. (2009) for small-scale fisheries management for each country range from 0 to 100, with higher scores representing better management of the artisanal and recreational fishing sectors. These values were rescaled (using a minimum value of 0 and maximum value of 100) to give each country a score between 0 and 1 for each reporting region.

What Are The Impacts?

Fishing pressure affects ocean ecology, species, and habitats through overfishing, bycatch of non-target species, and the use of fishing gear or techniques that damage or destroy habitats. Effective fisheries management can minimize negative ecological issues, including cascade effects within an ecosystem that can be caused by unsustainable fishing practices.
The ability of the ocean to continue to meet the increasing demand for wild-caught seafood will be compromised if fisheries management does not reduce excessive fishing pressure. Effective fisheries management can help to ensure that the ocean will provide an adequate and reliable supply of fish and seafood in the future. 
Effective fisheries management can improve the likelihood for sustainable fisheries and ensure fair and equitable access and allocation of fishery resources and profits.

Among the greatest challenges to effective fisheries management is illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU). IUU is particularly significant in impoverished countries because there may not be adequate resources to prevent it from depriving legitimate fisheries of substantial resources and revenue.

What Has Been Done?

Get More Information

Smithsonian: Managing Marine Fisheries 
This educational, interactive, multimedia site provides insight and data regarding fishery management choices.

Environmental Defense Fund
Catch Share Design Manual: A Guide for Managers and Fishermen 

The World Bank: Global Program on Fisheries (PROFISH) 
PROFISH promotes good governance of resources and seeks to increase the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to sustainable economic growth, better nutrition, economic opportunities for women, and poverty reduction.


PHOTO(S): © Keith A. Ellenbogen
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