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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 worldโ€™s marine fisheries, both large and small-scale, is important to food provision and livelihoods that depend upon fish and seafood, as well as to other aspects of ocean health.  

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.

Large-scale fisheries management effectiveness is used as a Resilience component for Food Provision (Fisheries), Natural Products (Fish Oil), Sense of Place (Iconic Species), and Biodiversity (Species and Habitats).

Small-scale fisheries management effectiveness is used as a Status component for Artisanal Fishing Opportunity; and a Resilience comnponent for Coastal Protection (Coral Reefs layer) and Biodiversity (Species). 

Fisheries Management Systems

How Was It Measured?

Large-scale Fisheries

Data come from Mora et al. (2009) who assessed the effectiveness of fisheries management in all countries with coastal areas by using a combination of surveys, empirical data and enquiries to fisheries experts.  They evaluated six aspects of each management regime:  Scientific Robustness, Policy Transparency, Implementation Capacity, Subsidies, Fishing Effort, and Foreign Fishing, scoring each category from 0 to 100. For use in the Ocean Health Index, those scores are rescaled between 0 and 1 using the maximum possible value for each category as the reference point.  The average score of all six categories combined is recorded as a regionโ€™s Fisheries management effectiveness score.  

Large-scale fisheries management effectiveness is used as a Resilience component for Food Provision (Fisheries), Natural Products (Fish Oil), Sense of Place (Iconic Species), and Biodiversity (Species and Habitats).

Small-scale Fisheries

Data from portions of Mora et al.'s (2009) surveys that evaluated the quality of management of the small-scale fishing sector (artisanal and recreational fishing) in each country were used to represent the Status of the Opportunity for Artisanal Fishing goal. Scores for each country ranged from 0 to 100, with higher scores representing better management of the artisanal and recreational fishing sectors. Those values are rescaled (using a minimum value of 0 and maximum value of 100) to give each country a score between 0 and 1.

Small-scale fisheries management effectiveness is used as a Status component for Artisanal Fishing Opportunity; and a Resilience component for Coastal Protection (Coral Reefs layer) and Biodiversity (Species). 

What Are The Impacts?

ECOLOGICAL IMPACT

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.

HUMAN HEALTH IMPACT

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. 

ECONOMIC IMPACT

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?

The loco snail (Concholepas concholipas) is the most economically important shellfish in Chile. Until the late 1980s, the fishery was open access, so fishers had no incentives to cooperate and local resources were being overexploited. In 1988, fishers, scientists and government agencies set up a co-management agreement that covered 4-km of seashore and allowed only local fishers to extract loco. This agreement significantly improved the welfare of the local community and two decades later, more than 700 areas are now co-managed along 4,000 km of the Chilean coast, involving more than 20,000 artisanal fishers and resulting in one of the most successful abalone fisheries in the world. (Gutiรฉrrez et al. 2011)

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โ€˜Catch shareโ€™ fisheries management systems give individuals or groups secure โ€˜quota-basedโ€™ rights to harvest a specified amount of a fishery's total catch or exclusive โ€˜space-basedโ€™ rights to fish in a particular area. Catch share systems can potentially prevent or reverse declines in fish stocks and improve overall fisheries sustainability.ย  Approximately 20% of coastal and developing countries reviewed recently (Jardine and Sanchirico 2012) have implemented a catch share program. Those that did had better governance rankings, stronger economies, and more valuable fishery export industries, but fewer people employed in fisheries.ย  ย ย 

Linda Schonknecht/Marine Photobank

Get More Information

Environmental Defense Fund

Catch Share Design Manual: A Guide for Managers and Fishermen 

The World Bank: Global Program on Fisheries (PROFISH)ย 

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.

References