Ecosystem Based Management for Marine Fisheries

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Food-web and climate-related dynamics in the Baltic Sea: Northwest Atlantic ecosystem based management of fisheries Jason S. Link, Alida Bundy, William J. Alaska marine fisheries management: Livingston, Kerim Aydin, Jennifer L. Hollowed and Jeffrey M. A pragmatic approach for ecosystem-based fisheries assessment and management: Elements of Importance to Management: Unintended consequences sneak in the back door: Dickert, Dorothy Dankel and Nils Chr. Although the majority of the regional seas conventions specify their concern for the status of marine living resources and emphasise the need for their protection, none of the conventions deals in a major way with the protection or management of fishery resources.

Nevertheless, some of the convention provisions, and particularly some of the protocols and action plans associated with the conventions could be seen as contributing directly or indirectly to these goals. Five conventions Barcelona, Bucharest, Cartagena, Kuwait, Lima are associated with protocols dealing with the control of land-based sources and activities that may have deleterious effects on the marine environment, including its living resources. Protocols or annexes dealing specifically with specially protected areas, endangered species and biodiversity are attached to six conventions Barcelona, Cartagena, Kuwait, Lima, Nairobi, OSPAR.

Some of the biodiversity-related protocols include specific reference to fisheries and to activities relevant to the management of fisheries resources. In addition to the provisions of these two groups of protocols that could be seen as contributing the legal basis for an ecosystem-based approach towards the management of the marine environment, almost all action plans adopted the integrated coastal management as the most promising approach to the solution of the problems besetting the regions covered by the conventions.

Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management | Science

In almost all regions intensive monitoring of the quality of the marine environment is carried out and the results are used for the preparation of periodic reports on the state of the marine environment. The data presented in these reports are used by the parties to the conventions as a basis for designing measures for the protection of the marine environment.

Although the reports only marginally and in exceptional cases 52 deal with issues of direct relevance to fishery management, they provide a good background information that may have to be taken into account in ecosystem-based management of fisheries. In addition to the regional state of environment reports of general nature, in several regions specific regional and site specific assessments were prepared about: Many of these impact assessments contain sections dealing with actual and potential impacts on fishery resources.

Specific examples for past, ongoing or planned regional activities that are directly or indirectly relevant to the management of fishery resources are provided in Annex 5. ICES responded to public concern about the environmental threats from chemical contamination. One obvious concern was whether the fish harvested for human consumption might present a health risk for the consumer. In more recent years, the concept of environment has expanded to merge with the concept of ecosystems.

Ecosystem Based Management for Marine Fisheries

As noted above, much work still needs to be done to: This is balanced by current realities of fisheries managers. Their immediate concerns include: The instruments establishing the RFBs do not generally accord a mandate for ecosystem-based fisheries management. Those which do either refer to i ecosystem-based management - including CCAMLR and two initiatives, currently in advanced states, to establish new RFBs in the South East Atlantic and Western Central Pacific oceans; 56 or ii management of ecologically related species - including the NPAFC Convention, which mandates scientific research, cooperation, information requirements and consideration by the Commission of "ecologically related species", and the CCSBT Convention, which provides for the collection and exchange of data and other information relevant for scientific research on ecologically related species.

However, as noted above, there is consensus in the scientific community that ecologically-based management of fisheries can build upon existing management systems and programmes, with identification of objectives, indicators, reference points and the activities, capacity and governance necessary to support such management.

It is simply an extension of the RFB's existing mandate. Current fisheries management systems and programmes of RFBs which relate to ecosystem-based management and which could be used as a starting point for future progress and cooperation, are profiled and synthesized below. They respond to the needs of the relevant RFB, and depend to a great extent on their mandates and individual capacity to collect and consider the appropriate knowledge. They cover a wide range of interests, and focus on: The leading advisory RFB in this field is ICES - an international science organization studying and helping to safeguard North Atlantic marine ecosystems and the living resources they sustain.

It considers its vision as being an international scientific community that is relevant, responsive, sound and credible with respect to marine ecosystems and their relation to humanity. Its scientific goals include:. ICES is working on the development of the basis for ecosystem approaches in fisheries, especially the management of fish stocks.

Ecosystem-Based Management of Marine Capture Fisheries

This work has a very long tradition in the organization with multispecies working groups dealing with interactions in the fish compartments of various locations, including the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Barents Sea and the sea around Iceland. It has also worked on the links between other compartments of the ecosystem and the fisheries. An integral part of ICES scientific work, the aim is to improve the scientific foundation for understanding the function of the ecosystem, and to improve the quality and widen the scope of the advice on fisheries management.

Silva Uusi-Heikkilä: Quick and dirty tools for ecosystem-based fisheries management

In the first half of , ICES plans to further the discussion of ecosystem objectives - not confined to fisheries - through a directed effort involving several working groups and their expertise. In addition to these broader programmes, ICES has addressed specific issues in recent years on an advisory basis, including the interactions between fish and sea birds and fisheries effects on the marine benthos. Most important, ICES wants to focus on the ecosystem aspects of the impact of fisheries, and to this end has been internally analysing the structure of its advisory function over recent years.

Possible changes to this advisory structure is being discussed at the ICES Council statutory meetings. ICES' achievements over the years inspired establishment of PICES - the North Pacific Marine Science Organization - whose purposes include promoting and coordinating marine research in the northern North Pacific and adjacent seas, and advancing scientific knowledge about the ocean environment, global weather and climate change, living resources and their ecosystems and the impacts of human activities.

CCAMLR, which came into force in , was established in response to patterns of intense and sporadic pulses of exploitation of Antarctic marine living resources and the consequent severe depletion of harvested stocks. The Convention applies to all marine living resources 63 inside a designated area of the Southern Ocean, which is substantially a closed ecosystem. It is based on principles of conservation, which include reference to a precautionary approach and an ecosystem approach. To regulate harvesting in accordance with the ecosystem approach, CCAMLR has recognised that the effect of harvesting on dependent species 65 would have to be monitored.

The program's largest component is the monitoring of dependent species, but in order to distinguish between changes due to harvesting and those due to environmental variability, the program also monitors harvested species, harvesting strategies and environmental parameters. CCAMLR recognizes that regulating large and complex marine ecosystems is a task for which we currently have neither sufficient knowledge nor adequate tools. It has been suggested that CCAMLR still needs to develop appropriate management procedures to avoid localized effects on the ecosystem and to provide effective feedbacks on the effects of fishing through its monitoring programme.

The Action Programmes adopted at Kalmar requested, inter alia,. It melds the concepts of sustainable fisheries and ecosystems in its definition of sustainable fisheries: The goals for sustainable fisheries are defined, and indicators are provided to highlight the trends in biological systems and the economies of the fishery dependent communities around the Baltic.

These appear in Annex 6. IBSFC endorses guiding principles as pertinent to sustainable fisheries. These appear in Annex 7 and include further integration of fisheries and environmental protection, conservation and management measures, drawing, so far as scientific knowledge permits, on an ecosystem approach encompassing the following:. Ecosystem considerations are also part of IBSFC's larger package, and useful for guidance in other geographical areas. These are appended in Annex 8, and include:. The IBSFC Action Program for sustainable development of the fishery presents a range of ecosystem-related actions, including developing long-term strategies for major fish stocks, improving the management of resources in the Coastal Areas, increasing cooperation in control and enforcement and improving the quality of stock and fisheries assessment.

Research is a vital part of the Action Program. This approach to research could serve as an example which could be useful in other geographical areas. A synthesis of RFBs activities in relation to ecosystem-based fisheries management is presented in Annex 9, which supplements the information above and gives examples of actions and strategies adopted by some RFBs which relate to ecosystem-based management of fisheries. The RFB activities described in Annex 9 fall under the following general headings, and are summarized below.

The impact of fisheries on the ecosystem is viewed from different perspectives by RFBs. Of the four headings described above, this arena is most active, and tends to focus on the resource. Many RFBs link this to the protection of species, and some are concerned with habitat. The impact of aquaculture on the marine environment is also considered in this context.

Relevant activities of RFBs described in Annex 9 include monitoring, the collection and exchange of data, the impact of gear on non-target species and the marine ecosystem, reduction of by-catch, scientific research on and consideration of ecologically-related species, introductions and transfers, habitat issues, the impact of aquaculture, application of the precautionary approach, convening a Symposium on the impacts of fisheries on the ecosystem, and an educational campaign for fishers. Activities relating to the impact of other sectors on fisheries is an area which most RFBs have neither the mandate nor resources to explore in depth.

Few RFBs have dedicated attention to this area, other than to research the effects of chemical pollutants, and identify considerations relating to activities which have a large combined effect on the biodiversity of species and habitats, such as the utlization of coastal and offshore waters for activities such as aquaculture, shipping, recreation, electric or engineering projects, dredging, dumping, extraction of gravel and sand, and oil prospecting.

Activities relating to the impact of climate and ozone depletion on fisheries include research on the effects of environmental changes on stocks and developing assessment methods and management strategies that are robust to environmentally driven changes in the fish stocks. An ecosystem monitoring programme has been established by one management-oriented RFB, 71 and a feedback management procedure incorporating a variety of ecosystem-related factors has been adopted by another.

Action by RFBs towards ecosystem-based fisheries management has largely focused to date on the impacts of fishing on the ecosystem - particularly that part of the ecosystem related to fishing such as NADS. The climatological and oceanographic factors affecting the marine ecosystem have attracted more study than identification of the effects of other human activities on the fisheries ecosystem, and overall marine environmental quality.

As noted in Part II of this paper, RFBs could consider defining ecosystem objectives in parallel with the current conservation objectives of fisheries management. The new objectives will need to address biodiversity and habitat productivity. In addition, indicators and reference points will need to be defined, and new monitoring activities and data products will be required for the indicators. Evaluation of the degree to which aggregate industrial activities are meeting ecosystem objectives, and resolution of user conflicts will need to be catered for.

The relationship between the work of the RFBs and RSCs reflects the growing nexus between fisheries and environmental management - as well as the holistic nature of life on this planet. Underpinning this relationship are the concepts and obligations of recent international instruments which apply to both, as described in Part 2. The need for such bodies is underlined by the fact that fourteen have been established since the adoption of UNCLOS, with two more waiting in the wings. Most have regulatory functions, but are still striving to recover from the continuous decline of stocks, often beyond the level corresponding to sustainable yield.

To this end, many are taking some dynamic new steps, such as: However, there are some potential constraints which confront RFBs in implementing an ecosystem approach. As noted above, RFBs have not, in general, focused on the impact of other human activities on the marine ecosystem and the fisheries resource due largely to absence of mandate, capacity and other resources. In addition, in most developing countries and even in some developed ones the present capacity is insufficient to deal effectively with conventional management of fisheries.

The higher costs implied by ecosystem-based management represent, therefore, a significant challenge. Another potential constraint is the lack of any existing coordination and cooperation within countries between national sectors ministries dealing with fisheries and environmental protection. In some cases they jealously guard their "mandates" and they even act as adversaries rather than partners.

As noted in Part 4, RSCs carry out the following activities, all of which are relevant to the ecosystem-based management of fisheries:.

Ecosystem-Based Management of Marine Capture Fisheries

The ongoing work of RFBs and RSCs is mutually relevant in many respects, particularly in areas of biodiversity of species, habitat, marine environmental quality, climate change and land-based pollution of the marine environment, and in the monitoring and assessment which applies to these areas.

Fisheries-related activities concerning protected areas and endangered species are also mutually relevant. There are no other current examples of such coordination. In many cases, their respective capacities and resources are tailored to the management of specific human impacts on the marine ecosystem. The development of fisheries research has been, over the past decades, intense and sophisticated. The need to broaden conventional fisheries management beyond its traditional parameters will redefine the research and management framework, prioities and approaches. This will lead progressively to the integration of conventional fishery research with its intense use of modelling with the use of indicator frameworks, accelerating the convergence with environmental management and sustainable development approaches.

As ecosystem considerations and indicator frameworks are increasingly factored into fisheries management, the functionalities of RFBs and RSCs will need to be adapted in a practical, cost-effective way to meet future needs. There is potential for cooperation in many forms, such as the identification of collaborative goals and geographical areas, sharing of relevant information and data directly or through such mechanisms as website linkages, development of mutual ecosystem considerations, development of integrated sustainability indicator frameworks which promote complementarity, and adapting monitoring or information systems to support ecosystem-based fisheries management.

However, the first steps in moving towards such potential cooperation must first be taken. The opportunity for joint recognition of common problems and complementary mandates exists in the global fora of RFBs and RSCs.

Table of Contents

Initial views as to the opportunities and challenges for cooperation could be considered, together with the feasibility of such cooperation. The more specific objectives and forms of cooperation could be considered at regional level. At present there are 11 major regional seas conventions in force and two additional conventions are being negotiated. They are designed for the protection of the marine environment, including its living resources, under the jurisdiction of the contracting parties to these conventions. Ninety-nine sovereign States and the European Union are parties to one or several of the conventions in force.

Geographically, the conventions cover large parts of the most productive and most threatened areas of the oceans. None of the conventions deals with the management of fishery resources although a number of activities carried out in the framework of programmes associated with the conventions are directly or indirectly relevant, and may contribute to improved management of fishery. FAO has also facilitated the establishment of other bodies and serves as the depository for the instrument of acceptance of such bodies.

Negotiations are ongoing for the establishment under the FAO Constitution of a regional fishery commission in the Southwestern Indian Ocean. Negotiations are well advanced for the establishment of the Southeast Atlantic Fisheries Organization. The convergence of fisheries management and ecosystem management paradigms and requirements is a reality. Its steadily growing acceptance and implementation is reflected in the ongoing activities described in this paper, and in new initiatives such as the Reykjavik Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Ecosystem.

The preceding sections of the present paper review the status of the RFBs and the RSCs, with specific reference to their activities that may be relevant for improved cooperation between them. Taking into account these activities, as well as the experience gained through the cooperation already established between some RFBs and RSCs, the following concrete suggestions are made for options that may lead to an enhanced cooperation on ecosystem-based fishery management:.

This Annex lists and provides basic information on the major regional seas conventions, agreements and programmes that may be relevant in considering the possibilities for cooperation with regional fishery bodies on enhancement of ecosystem-based management of fisheries. The marine environment, coastal zones and related inland waters falling within the jurisdiction of the States of the West and Central African Region, from Mauritania to Namibia inclusive, which have become Contracting Parties to the Convention.

P , Abidjan 20, Cote d'Ivoire, tel 83 or 23, fax 95, e-mail: The maritime waters of the Mediterranean Sea proper, including its gulfs and seas, bounded to the west by the meridian passing through Cape Spartel lighthouse, at the entrance of the Straits of Gibraltar, and to the east by the southern limits of the Straits of the Dardanelles between Mehmetcik and Kumkale lighthouses.

Except as may be provided in any protocol, the coverage does not include internal waters, wetlands, estuaries, seabed and its subsoil. The territorial sea and exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea proper of each Contracting Party, with the southern limit constituted for the purposes of the Convention by the line joining Capes Kelagra and Dalyan. Kitts and Nevis, St. The coverage does not include internal waters of the Contracting Parties. The entire sea area bounded by the following rhumb lines: Box , Jeddah, , Saudi Arabia, tel 2 , fax 2 , e-mail: Sea area bounded in the south by the following rhumb lines: Box , Safat, Kuwait, tel 21 , fax 41 72, e-mail: The sea area and the coastal zone of the South East Pacific within the mile maritime area of sovereignty and jurisdiction of the High Contracting Parties and, beyond that area, the high seas up to a distance within which pollution of the high seas may affect that area.

The marine and coastal environment of that part of the Indian Ocean situated within the Eastern African region and falling within the jurisdiction of the Contracting Parties to this Convention.


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The extent of the coastal environment to be included Except as may be otherwise provided in any protocol, internal waters are excluded from the coverage. The nautical mile zone established in accordance with international law of the Contracting Parties in the South Pacific region and those areas of the high seas which are enclosed from all sides by these mile zones. Except as may be otherwise provided in any protocol to the Convention, internal waters and archipelagic waters of the Parties are excluded from the coverage.

Box , Apia, Samoa, tel 21 , fax 31, e-mail: The internal waters and territorial seas of the Contracting Parties, the sea beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea under the jurisdiction of the coastal state to the extent recognised by international law, and the high seas, including the bed of all those waters and its subsoil, situated within the following limits: Box , Nairobi, Kenya, tel 2 62 , fax 2 , e-mail: Following are examples of past, ongoing or planned activities of regional seas conventions and programmes that are directly or indirectly relevant to the management of fishery resources.

The biennial work programme adopted in March by the Parties to the Convention includes a section on " management of fisheries, mangroves and associated ecosystems". The envisaged fisheries-related activities include: In , an assessment of critical habitats for fish, marine mammals and wildlife, particularly in estuaries, deltas, mangroves, wetlands, coral reefs and sea-grass beds was carried out by IUCN and IOC and the conservation requirements were identified.

In the framework of the Marine Mammals Action Plan, IUCN coordinated the conduct of a study on the biology, ecology and behaviour of the West African manatee and organised a training course on the conservation of marine mammals As priorities in the field of marine living resources in the period , Annex II of the action plan lists: The revised Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean explicitly opens the possibility to regulate or to prohibit fishing in areas considered under the Protocol as specially protected..

The Strategic Action Plan for the Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean envisages to address, among other issues, the interaction between fishing activities and biological diversity conservation. As outputs of this activity the following are expected: Through a GEF-supported project a strategic action plan will be prepared in jointly with FAO to address the problems of biodiversity and the effects of fisheries on marine biodiversity.

The SAP recognises that biological diversity and fisheries concerns should be part of the future agenda of the Commission established under the Convention. A new protocol to the Convention is being prepared for the protection of landscape and biological diversity. The protocol will also embrace habitat protection related to fisheries.

A report on "Invasion of a ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi in the Black Sea" has been prepared analysing the role of the invasion on declining fisheries. The project identifies " a major decline in Black Sea commercial fish stocks and non-optimal harvesting of living resources" as one of the " transboundary issues requiring attention" and the "improved management of fisheries to permit their economic recovery in parallel with improvements to the ecosystem" as one of the short term objectives of the project.