This international meeting on "Biodiversity: Science and Governance" was organised by the Government of France and tool place at UNESCO headquarter in Paris from 23-28th January 2005. All speakers were by invitation, and there were 3.5 days in full plenary and 1.5 days of concurrent workshops on specific issues.
The official meeting website is at http://www.recherche.gouv.fr/biodiv2005paris and is both in French and English. This will contain the official report of the main meeting, when it is complete.
Unofficial coverage of the daily sessions is available at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) website.
The following is the personal report of Dr Tim Adams (Director of the Marine Resources Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community), who attended the workshop, and concentrates on those parts of the presentations and discussion appropriate to fishery management.
Plenary sessions relevant to fishery management Edit
There was only one of direct relevance:
Jeremy Jackson, of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and University of Califormia, gave a talk during the main plenary session on “Marine Biodiversity and Sustainable use of Fisheries‿. This was one of three talks during a session intended to provide an overview of the role of biodiversity in three of the main “living ecosystem user-groups‿ – agriculture, fisheries and forestry – but it was the only talk amongst the three that made little attempt to realistically examine the question on the table, of how mankind can develop a balance with marine ecosystems that promotes long term survival.
Instead, he used the opportunity for consciousness-raising about the extraordinarily poor state of the world’s oceans, particularly enclosed seas and nearshore marine areas. He said that “there is not an estuary in the world which has not become a bacterial jellyfish soup, and it is virtually the same for all ocean ecosystems‿. “The price of fish is still cheap because we take it from other people‿. “It is a holocaust‿.
He suggested that there is no place in the world that large marine predators have not been fished down to low levels, quoting both Myers and Worm’s preliminary analysis of Pacific longline tuna catch-rates, and work by his own lab on the decimation of Caribbean and Atlantic green turtle populations in prehistoric and historic times, and pointed out that “by the hunter-gatherer stage no coral reef was pristine‿. He compared the fish communities in the populated Hawaiian southeast islands, of which only 3% are apex predators, with the unpopulated NW Hawaiian Islands where more than half the biomass is apex predators. He suggested that predators are not rare so much because of their trophic position but that “big fierce animals are rare because we ate them‿.
He criticised people for talking about global warming as though nothing else was wrong, and provided an itemised list of the major problems of the ocean, from coastal eutrophication, to invasive species, to overfishing.
Because of all these factors, he asserted that “There are no sustainable fisheries except perhaps anchovies and sardine. Sustainable fisheries are a joke‿.
He said that “the fate of coral reefs is extinction. But we can reverse that and we know exactly how we can do it. Australia pulled up their socks and they are doing it. They decided to protect totally 30% of the Great Barrier Reef. Imagine what the response of the USA would be to a similar proposal". (Presumably he did not remember that the USA has done just about that with its Northwest Hawaiian Islands sanctuary, or perhaps he was talking about a similar level of protection for all US marine ecosystems, not just US coral reefs).
He went on to say that “there are NO wild reef populations that can be harvested sustainably. Eventually we could if populations were re-established and that can perhaps be done if we spend all our money trying to tell people that things are in bad shape. And this re-establishment can only be done through aquaculture‿.
On the fate of fisheries – he pointed out that some huge efforts had been made to turn things around, but he was pessimistic. If the 10 year restoration goal set by the World Summit on Sustainable Development “is to be anything other than lip service then the fishing industry has to be destroyed‿. Europe was doing same thing with cod as the Canadians and USA did. We need to eliminate subsidies, and enforce the law on quotas. Stop letting developed country fishers go to developing countries. And heavily invest in environmentally sustainable aquaculture.
I have dwelt on the things that Jeremy Jackson said about fisheries because this is a report to a fisheries forum, but the overall tenor of his talk was that fisheries are only one factor in a multiply-pronged neglect by the human race of its impact upon the oceans. And that even 100% effective fishery management cannot solve more than a fraction of these problems.
There was little time for questions afterwards, but two were perhaps of note:
One person regretted that this talk was not being given in Davos (the World Economic Forum is also going on this week, with climate change high on the agenda). But Jeremy Jackson and Daniel Pauly have been apparently talking about making a presentation on this issue at a similar high-level consultation. Jackson pointed out that the “Shifting Baselines‿ website had been created towards the same end.
There was also a complaint that almost every talk at this meeting has mentioned degradation but that it seems to be impossible to talk about human population reduction. Lots of women would like to be in better control of their fertility so why not advocate it. Jackson pointed out that if you look at the relationship between reef health and the number of people nearby there is no correlation. It is important that the developed world does not just point the finger at poor and populous countries.
Workshop 10 - Biodiversity: Challenges for fisheries management Edit
(the following are rough notes, and not a complete, nor an official, report...)
Workshop consists of several sessions of 3 or 4 presentations, each with discussion period and followed by 1 hour panel discussion to mull over some of the major issues. Very crowded agenda.
Serge Garcia (FAO) presentation: entitled Ultime défi et vieux démons – ultimate challenge and old demons. Will try to explain why so many failures of fisheries in the past and then talk about the ecosystem approach
Conservation of biodiversity is necessary for conservation of fishing livelihoods. FAO state of stocks report for 2003 showed 52% of assessed fisheries are exploited to full capacity (at the level of maximum production) and 25% are overexploited (i.e. beyond level of maximum production). This overfished proportion is an increasing trend since the 1950’s, although there are a few recoveries. Impact of trawlers on benthos has had major impact, although rejects from trawlers have declined.
Structure of food chain has changed as a result, with impoverished diversity. The use of fish for fish meal is seen as a waste. Biodiversity also threatened by things not to do with fisheries – this point of view is not as popular with the media as bashing fishermen, but pollution, red tides etc play an important part in fisheries ecosystem degradation, particularly in enclosed seas and coasts. Example of Sea of Aral water level drop.
Introduced species from aquaculture and ballast or aquarium releases also have impact. Marine biodiversity is also affected by natural cycles – sometimes dramatically. Also the potential impact of climate change is not well known – some oceanic ecosystems appear to be moving to higher latitudes and major changes in currents possible. Fisheries are only one factor in biodiversity problems, and fisheries also have to adapt themselves to these other changes. The media stresses the most obvious issues and talks about simplistic solutions, but rarely acknowledges any of the progress made over the past few years.
Institutions have reacted – there are changes in governance (puts up a list of various international agreements from the Stockholm conference of 1972), CBD agreement in 1973 to WSSD in 2002. But so far the international community has talked more about implementation than understanding the basic issues and developing explanations.
Dr Garcia then outlined the strengthening of the fisheries management framework though the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, and the Large Marine Ecosystem concept (etc.). He also talked about the relevance of the Law of the sea, and the difficulties that this agreement now has with the high seas. The code of conduct for responsible fisheries is however a universal reference. Defines principles for respect of ecosystems and biodiversity, whilst recognising need for fisheries. The right to fish requires responsible conduct. Articles 6.2, 6.3, and 7.2.2. talk about aspects of biodiversity. Various technical directives been developed since 1995 to implement the Code.
He also outlined the principles of the ecosystem approach to fisheries, and used some of the provisions of Australia’s Ocean Policy to illustrate the kinds of management plan that can be developed based on an ecosystem approach.
The precautionary approach involves the analysis of risks and this also has to become a part of all management plans. It should be used in all cases and not just in cases of serious worry. Various principles of the precautionary approach were outlined – action without delay, and requirement for authorisation before any kind of fishing etc. At the moment the precautionary approach is mainly pushed by NGOs but everyone needs to be more active here.
Various targets have come out of the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) for the fisheries sector. From control of illegal fishing by 2004 to reconstruction of stocks by 2015 and various in-between targets (detailed on slide on screen).
He outlined the huge and complex task of scientific support and bureaucratic planning necessary to actually implement the ecosystem approach. Says there is no alternative or shortcut. Various simplistic solutions put forward by lobbies, and the media are hungry for such news, but the scientifically-based approach is the only way.
A slide was put up on the screen detailing the various things needed for implementing the ecosystem approach, including critical analysis of current management practices, local institution involvement, indicators, minimum environmental rules, bring high seas under control etc.
The old demons of conventional management are however still present: overcapacity, subsidies, non-selectivity, habitat degradation etc.
Standards being developed now include the ethical aspects of fisheries, bioethics and animal rights, intervention by tribunals and courts, market liberalisation – all of these are making science more complicated but are definitely emerging as factors needing to be taken account in fisheries management.
Fundamental challenge is not a change in the basic concepts of fisheries management but to uphold principles that are currently regularly being violated. Fisheries have to adapt to new standards – to slow down growth and take into account the limits of ecosystems. Society will also have to define just what level of fishing and what state of ecosystems is acceptable.
Carlo Heip – NIOO-KNAW Netherlands. Past and present concerns about marine biodiversity. Claims that he is not a fisheries specialist but will be looking at ecosystem changes from point of view of research.
Provides a list of examples of marine ecosystem problems: Abundance of fish in Adriatic has decreased and lots of jellyfish taking place of fish nowadays. Slime washing up on beaches, marine “snow‿ and bacteria. Various invasive species in Adriatic. Black sea example. Marine top predators and grazers being lost and habitats stuffed. Most of problems are not so much due to LOSS of biodiversity, but CHANGES in biodiversity and changing food webs. This leads to changes in supply of goods (fish, biochemicals, tourism etc) and services (protection, CO2 sequestration etc)
Microbial ecosystems are major new frontier of marine science, and we won’t understand marine ecosystem unless these microbial systems are understood – marine fisheries ecology is only a very (very) small part of the whole study of marine ecology. A lot of ecological theory is borrowed from terrestrial ecology and there is no general ecosystem model yet – we have yet to reconcile the top-down (fisheries) view of marine ecosystems with the bottom up (geochemical) view.
The main marine biodiversity issue is probably more change than loss – not many extinctions. Problems of jurisdiction, especially high seas, and needs a global overall organisation coordinating research. Got networks already though, such as MARBEF (www.marbef.org).
Nick Dulvy, Fisheries UK, Lowestoft. Extinction and threat in the sea
Marine extinctions – 15 species were listed as extinct on IUCN red list for 2004.
James Carlton and colleagues provide unequivocal evidence for a certain number of marine extinctions in the last 300 years – including 3 mammals, 5 birds, 4 molluscs etc. Several others strongly suspected but evidence is equivocal. This is a low number compared to land, and has sometimes been taken as evidence that man has little impact on marine biodiversity.
Dulvy has broadened definition of “extinction‿ though and looked at POPULATION extinctions at local and regional scale. Populations carry unique genetic material and most fisheries and other impacts occur at population scale, and the concept of biodiversity includes genetic biodiversity as well as species and ecosystem diversity. Spent 2 years compiling records of population disappearance, and ended up with 133, including 14 mammals, 12 birds, 32 teleosts, 33 elasmobranchs, 3 echinoderms, 18 molluscs, 5 arthropods, 2 annelids, 3 coelenterates, 12 algae etc.
This includes white abalone on California coast, dugong in various areas, swordfish on part of Atlantic, Northern right whale from E Atlantic, and a parrotfish only found in some isolated oceanic atolls and MPAs.
These population extinctions are probably due to over-exploitation (55%) habitat loss (37%), whilst 2% are a result of the effects of invasive species and 6% from other causes, “but we do have a knowledge problem‿.
Dulvy also looked at threat status for 76 managed species in European waters. Two thirds of these stocks are exploited above fisheries reference points – i.e. unsustainable and 25% were considered “threatened‿ according to one or more key threat factors.
In the terrestrial realm, the current extinction rate is much higher than the background rate of extinction, but it is difficult to work this comparison out for marine species with so many unknown factors (but this could surely be done for those groups that ARE known, and the most comprehensive estimates for “terrestrial‿ background extinction rates are actually from marine invertebrate fossils – scribe’s comment).
The detection rate for marine extinctions is poor. Most records are from long term well-studied areas and most disappearances are macrofauna. What is happening in less well-known areas and microfauna (scribe’s note: it is feasible to get “fish population existence‿ information from remote areas using community knowledge – probably worth while following up at SPC?). Very few extinctions described by fisheries surveys though except barn-door skate. There is a 53-year lag between the disappearance of something and the report, on average. Won’t know about what is happening today until tomorrow. Detection lag for birds extinction is only 4 years because there are a lot of twitchers around, and birds are much more visible.
Summary: Exploitation followed by habitat loss is primary cause of population extinction. Marine (population) extinction rates likely to be severely underestimated.
Keith Brander ICES/GLOBEC coordinator – ex-Lowestoft – Is climate change moving the goalposts for fisheries management?
Will see substantial increase in temperature and CO2 going into ocean (which will increase pH). Implication for fisheries management is only one small aspect of the problem.
Basic message: Climate change WILL move the goalposts and objectives of fisheries management will need to be changed.
Eg sardine biomass off California from sediment cores going back 1600 years – fluctuations due to climate and not fishing.
In UK some warm-water species have been spreading fairly rapidly poleward, and much faster than on land – seas are likely to respond to global warming, (through better mobility of organisms?) much quicker than land.
Had 40 year increase in Northern Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) – Yield curve for N sea cod has reduced as a result of high NAO – goalposts have changed. Our information base since 1960 has been a period of unprecedented change in climate. Need to evaluate effects of climate change on past effects. Goalposts should allow for consequences of future change.
How do biodiversity effects modify fisheries management? – need to preserve genetic diversity (he’s just been looking at how fishing affects population genetics and looking for postdoc researchers). Fish populations require variability to adapt to climate change and populations at edge of range are adapted to extremes, but also more vulnerable to fishing – do populations at the margins of species ranges need extra protection?
Cod recruitment is affected by temperature. Don’t recruit where average temp above 11-12 degrees or below 1-2 degrees. Effect is most marked at the extremes. Populations affected both by heavy fishing and climate stress are the ones that tend to collapse. No point in arguing which is the bigger effect – both need to be taken into account.
Need to look at population-scale conservation and look after the margins.
Greenland cod expanded range in 1920s and collapsed in 1960s because of climate + fishing, and may now expand again as Greenland waters warm.
Simon Jennings – also Lowestoft – From single species to ecosystem-based management
Talk will examine: Fisheries impacts on biodiversity/ successes and failures of single species (SS) and ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)/ what information needed for decision making?
Fisheries impacts are on target species, low productivity species in mixed fisheries, genetics of exploited species, bycatches of vulnerable species, effects on food web structure and function, effects on habitat.
Successes and failures – FAO/OECD etc say SS has failed since it doesn’t meet social and ecological objectives sustainably. Government unwillingness to fund short-term costs of transiting to sustainability. Scientific advice has played a very small role in a complex decision-making process. Will ecosystem-approach nullify these failings? Even if objectives are set, will not get anywhere unless there is strong societal support (requires lot of media coverage), economic incentives, and effective enforcement. Still will need strong top-down governance and thus EAF will be better in wealthier countries.
Few governments willing to wait 25 years for evidence that EAF is actually working. Short-term targets will have to be based on fishing pressure indicators and not on impacts, on timescales of 2-3 years.
EAF in itself does not ensure that economic, social and economic objectives will be met simultaneously – since it still has all the problems of scientific advice to decision-makers and will have even longer targets and time-frames – feedback even poorer and will have to monitor certain indicators rather than trying to monitor complete ecosystems.
To Dulvy: Q: The Deep-sea Conservation Coalition is working in UNGA on trawling. Seems to be high level of endemism on seamounts – 30% in Tasman Sea, and similar in E Pacific, New Caledonia etc. Seems to be increasing trend for trawlers to target these areas and coral areas on slopes – has this been taken into consideration in risk of extinction work? A: the more we know about molecular genetics the more we learn. Seamounts very good example of population differentiation, but very little information available, and not actually many trawl surveys available. Likely to be highly vulnerable and seamounts are likely to be the main places where organisms do not bounce back from over-exploitation
To Jennings: Q: (or rather statement) It is a good approach to look at weakness as well as benefit of EAF, given the fact that it may just be compounding the weaknesses of SS.
To FAO: Q1: Sharks often lumped with fish – how is FAO disaggregating country fisheries statistics? Q2: Worried about bluefin in Mediterranean where purse-seining taking over from artisanal methods, and problem exacerbated by penning. What is being done? A: mixed categories of stats are a problem to FAO – up to 50% of catches not identified to species by some countries and linked to status of market – often sold in aggregate. FAO trying to improve data collection where means are available, but lots of attempts have been made and not had much effect on problem. On bluefin, this is a national decision on industrialisation and out of FAO’s area. FAO has recently published a book on statistically separating aquaculture and fisheries statistics and avoiding gaps or double counting.
Anthony Charles – Halifax, Canada and a current Pew Fellow – The big picture: Fishery management, ocean management and biodiversity. Brief bio: Started off in fishery management and went through cod collapse and right whale decline, so went into marine conservation from a broader point of view.
How much has changed since cod-collapse in Canada? – There are tension between critics on outside and those on the inside who feel that big improvements are being made. A useful tension, since nobody really knows how to do it right. People trying to adapt local knowledge into stock assessments, but hasn’t really worked yet. Can’t even limit catches effectively – the fundamental basis of fisheries management. Don’t yet know how to do ecosystem management. “However, we’ll never see fishery sustainability if we only pay attention to what happens in the fishery‿ – “a dead fish is a dead fish‿.
Looked at trawled and untrawled coral sponge forests in Australia and Lophelia reefs in Canada. Working with small-boat fishermen around the world. Another concept is “too many fishermen chasing too many fish‿ – something that is repeated so often that people think it is true. Not the fact of too much fishing capacity, but need to focus on the fishermen. Don’t put the blame on the people but on the combination of technology, management and everything else. The Ecosystem approach is moving in the right direction of broadening our focus beyond the fish and fishermen and into the bigger picture. Look at the ecosystem from a broad perspective.
Still not good enough though and need to pay attention to human side equally with the biological ecosystem – combine Community-based management and EAF into a “fishery-system approach‿. MPAs are indicative of EBM but they usually fall down by not taking into account the human side. This should be a livelihoods approach – focus not just on the fishery but on the broader community. Need social science and policy analysis on one side and ecologists and conservation biologists feeding into fishery management – not competing but both feeding into the big picture.
Fisheries department in Canada should not be a department of agriculture but a department of Ocean Management. Need for institutional change.
Brian Mackenzie – Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, on Anthropogenic impacts on the Baltic Sea
Baltic has limited exchange with North sea and a lot of strong salinity gradients. Nutrients and pollutants have long residence time in food chain. Relatively few fish species compared to black sea and north sea (similar area seas). Landings increased markedly over 20th century though – perhaps part due to eutrophication and increased primary production, but very difficult to link to fish production to these directly. Accompanied by great reduction in marine mammal populations (perhaps resulting in release from predation for fish). Based on archaeological sites, big decrease in Atlantic sturgeon over several centuries. Ice coverage in last 10 years decreased significantly and now even starting to get anchovy.
Thus multiple impacts on ecosystem and interactions in Baltic. Eutrophication – depletion of oxygen in deep layers where Baltic cod eggs float – has probably greatly affected cod. Interesting that PCB concentrations are falling over last 20 years, but dioxin concentrations are too high, and some fisheries closed in 2004 as a result (eg Denmark herring and Russian salmon).
Responses – various scientific groups set up under ICES and EU, HELCOM, with new regulations to minimise impacts – ballast treatment, fishery quotas and introduced species controls, plus new monitoring and compliance measures.
Mamy Andriantsoa – Director of Madagascar Fisheries – on co-management of shrimp and biodiversity protection in Madagascar.
Explains new method of governance of Madagascar shrimp fishery and its outcome. Coast is split into 4 fishing zones but 95% of catch in northwest and west due to size of continental shelf there. Mainly close to coast. 17(?) trawlers with 10 companies taking 10,000 tonnes (85% exported), worth 52 million euros and 5,000 people employed. The artisanal fishery with nets produces 1,000-1,500 tonnes from 8,000 pirogues. Shrimp fishery is second largest foreign exchange earner. Some conflicts between artisanal and industrial fishing and bycatch is an issue. 2kg bycatch for 1 kg shrimp which is comparatively low but still too much waste, and impacts on turtles not well known.
In 1990s state governed all fishing directly, with divergence of interests between stakeholders. Unstable. Created GAPCM – boat owners group in 1994 and this was initial step. Got national programme of research in 1997 and surveillance centre in 1999. A decree in 2000 froze fishing effort and introduction of monitoring system. Licences awarded for 20 years to existing stakeholders and then transferable. Decision-making involved fishers and not just government. Corruption discouraged etc. Government also started getting fees from fishing licences – and this is currently around 8% of the value of catch. Also able to maintain high prices for export by cooperation, at a time of falling world prices (Urner-Barry index).
Engaged in dialogue with stakeholders about biodiversity. Changed fishing techniques – no night fishing and reduction in total effort. No pair trawlers, introduction of TEDs etc. Looking at WWF (MSC?) certification, and partnership public/private sector has led to gains for all.
Q: Glad to see the first presentation involves social science because we manage fishermen, we don’t manage fish. Have to convince policy-makers that it is in their interests to protect biodiversity. If we don’t take market into account can we manage biodiversity? A: No, we can’t. We talk about how difficult it is for scientific advice to be taken on board by governments, but fisheries is one area where governments do have a lot of power to guide how the sector operates, but haven’t fully exercised their stewardship rights. Consumer influence, and labelling (already significant in forestry) needs to be looked at. Can’t manage fisheries and biodiversity if we don’t take economic globalisation constraints and information globalisation opportunities into account. New market laws may well hinder fishery/biodiversity management though.
Q: Management not doing well, but can be explained by the inappropriate framework and weakness of human and financial resources. Unfair fishing agreements not compatible with sustainability and lack of clear sectoral policies with long-term objectives. Northern countries don’t seem to be doing much better than southern so it is not just a lack of resources. Is research actually going down the right track? A1: the need for an objective is critical, and probably need restructuring of governance arrangement in order to get balanced set of objectives. Whilst applied research follows from objectives, we also need fundamental research – curiosity-driven research as well, to look after the long term. A2: research cost is not the factor in management – those that have spent the most are in the worst shape. Most of the research has been biological and need more social and economic etc research to take into account during decisions. Institutions not working well and conflict-resolution doesn’t happen.
Q: On EAF – quite a few fishery management plans now in place in west Africa involving an ecosystem approach and donors make aid conditional upon them. However EAF has political aspect, and units do not correspond to social/political entities. EAF doesn’t take into account sheer complexity of economic and political components, and thus likely to fail. A1: It depends what you mean by ecosystem approach. Started with stock-based management, but EAF is so wide-ranging that people forget all of its elements. EAF defined by FAO includes social structures, co-management etc, and the point that management structure and ecosystem must be congruent. Other organisations appear to define it in other different ways, but the borders of the decision-making process must correspond with the borders of the ecosystem. Human system and biological system integration, as proposed by Anthony Charles is the answer to your question. A2: Yes – an important point. If ecologists define the ecosystem and only then bring in the sociologists and economists then that is the wrong way. If you talk to the people you will get a different view of the boundaries of the ecosystem and this is a challenge.
Q1: how long before you can confirm that a species is extinct? Q2: On single-species assessments, why do we continue to use them? A1 – confirming extinction is not a question of time but of resources – lot of people following birds and more visible, and not much public support for blanket observation of the oceans. A2 – why are we using SS? It is a matter of political change and most of tools are already there, but not being used in formal systems. Lots of failings with SS but there are failings with other methodologies as well – however, the advice that you give will be the same regardless of the uncertainties. Various multi-species methods exist but most don’t answer the questions with the precision that fisheries managers ask for. They answer other things. Need to get managers to ask different questions and get scientists to get MS and SS methodologies to “talk to each other‿.
Francoise Gauthiez, Ministry of Agriculture – full text was provided of Biodiversity and marine fisheries policy: the French situation
Provides several concrete examples of what is going on in France. Shows map of French and territorial EEZs. France retains some prerogatives for decision-making within EU as long as consistent with EU legislation. For coastal waters and overseas territories there is French competence (what about territorial competences? – scribe’s comment).
Bycatch of marine mammals. A simple problem to state – harder to solve. Some strandings on European beaches – what is part of French fishermen in this & how can it be avoided? Used observers to assess interactions & research on method modification (including scaring devices). Also looked at analysis of strandings and assessment of cetacean populations
On deepwater fisheries, France is advocating the establishment of protected areas in the context of Regional Fishery Management Organisations (RFMOs) – these should cover all gear not just trawling, and be done on a scientific basis. And establish RFMOs in areas where there aren’t any. Double objective for MPAs – fishery management and biodiversity conservation.
On mortality of seabirds from fishing in the southern ocean. The main problem is with IUU fishing since legitimate vessels have changed techniques.
He also expanded on the measures being taken in the Bay of Biscay to mitigate problem of bycatche small Nephrops and juvenile hake.
Pascale Joannot – National Museum of Natural History, Paris and French Mnistry of Research Representative for the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), talked about French activities for coral reef protection.
8% of population of planet lives next to coral reefs. 30 to 40 million people get 90% of their protein from reefs. 15 million divers per year on reefs. 70% of reefs are stuffed or threatened by various natural events and people.
Agenda 21 said reefs were a priority, leading to the launch of ICRI in 1995 by USA. 102 member countries committed to sustainable development of coral reefs, plus monitoring their state. Not activity driven, but there to spur activity. France has 35,000 sq km of coral reef – 10% of total global coverage, so quite interested. IFRECOR is the French initiative on coral reefs 1999.
Apart from IFRECOR, France wants to engage with Pacific Island states. A new project, CRISP, is being launched at SPC in Noumea right now. Will be trying to get all these countries to strike a balance between sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. Project will build bridges to IFRECOR local units in French Polynesi, Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia. 7 million euro over several years. 3 tracks – (a) MPAs and watersheds, assessment, cartography, restoration etc (including aquaculture and ecotourism), (b) major database on Pacific reefs (Scribe’s note - presumably ReefBase Pacific Islands node), (c) coordination centre.
France is committed to proactive management of reefs, and involvement of local populations.
Mokta Ba (this is what I heard, but the presenter was not on the agenda, so I may have it wrong) spoke on the Subregional Fisheries Commission for NW Africa.
7 countries involved in the commission – covering a very rich area of stocks where fisheries are essential to national economies. Fisheries are 10% of GDP in Mauretania and 22-29% of state revenue or 50% of foreign exchange. In Senegal, 100,000 direct jobs and 600,000 linked jobs.
Problems with demersal stocks though. Purpose of commission is to adopt common strategies and policies, joint ventures with foreign companies and cooperation in research and MCS (monitoring, control and surveillance).
Shortfalls – MCS has inadequate institutional framework and not much collaboration with industry. Not much stock assessment capacity and human resources for management. Problem also in relationships/competition with subsidised foreign fleets (he reckoned Jacques Chirac should throw his weight behind efforts to do away with all subsidies for EU fleets if he is really serious about biodiversity conservation).
Questions: The first was just a comment that French tuna fishery science is very well organised but tuna stocks are still declining.
Q: What are the scientific disciplines necessary to enact an ecosystems approach to fisheries? A: – it should not only involve biologists but also ecologists, social economists, geographers etc necessary for an integrated assessment of geographical and social territory.
Q: how to transform scientific advice into real decisions? A: 3 things – 1: science advisory processes should include holders of experiental knowledge 2: science advice should go beyond the questions the managers ask and give them information they may not want to deal with but which needs to be considered. 3: provide options that are implementable and not impossible to follow up within the public and political arena. Scientists often don’t think very creatively about this – we can only move in the right direction if we remain within the public opinion climate
Q: Role of the private sector in the EAF? A1: Ecolabelling is one area where private sector and consumers can play a role in biodiversity conservation. In some countries the private sector finances research (but not always in the correct direction – sometimes just supporting only things likely to justify their existing activities). Private sector also participates directly in gathering information, and in helping artisanal fisheries. A2: Private sector is often seen by the public as trying to avoid regulation and need to improve their image. Problem of accumulation of big industry which loses track of the real issues at the production end. Fishermen are in privileged position to furnish information on biodiversity since they are the ones who are at sea. Can also adopt industry standards proactively without necessarily needing government to erect management measures. Other things include hosting on-board data recorders and oceanographic sensor buoy deployment etc.
Jake Rice: Canada DFO Science Advisory Secretariat – Inclusion of biodiversity concerns in the management of fisheries
(Scribe’s note: This was a very interesting but very compressed talk, so I didn’t manage to record most of what went up on the screen. It will be provided later).
What has been done to this point? And what else can be done? The ecosystem approach is the starting point – 4 features in common with all implementations of the ecosustem approach so far:.
- take more account of the natural ecosystem
- take into account effects of ecosystem on fisheries
- deal with effects of fishery on ecosystem
- governance system
- integrated planning
- stakeholder inclusion
The EAF is demonised by those within the system who oppose change since it is impossible to take everything in the ecosystem into account. But don’t NEED to try and take everything into account in order to make useful incremental steps.
On ecosystem inputs: most of the effort has been on recruitment forecasting. Not real good yet, and better at predicting big anomalies. Still risk of error, particularly of predicting a big recruitment that doesn’t happen. Predicting recruitment failures is less dangerous – more of a danger to credibility.
Environment also affects growth of fish – this research is more beneficial but less glamorous than research on recruitment. Most collapses based on missing a signal of poor growth, but simpler to do than recruitment.
Decadal scale variation is a factor – exploitation rate needs to change with environmental regimes at a given time. Links to management still tentative but biological linkages becoming clearer. Missing these regime changes played a big role in the collapse of a number of fisheries.
On biological interactions in general: Marine food webs highly connected. Can’t act on one thing without affecting everything else. Can’t control seals without affecting cod, for example. Some species have a critical role.
Total predation mortality is quantifiable with multispecies models. This needs to be used in management strategies – which might be completely different for forage species rather than species which grow to be large predators. Don’t manage for constant exploitation rate but … (missed this bit since he was talking fast!)
On the horizon – interesting work looking at ecosystems with population size-structure based approaches, promising but not yet used in management.
On Fishery outputs: Bycatch reduction – a variety of tools can be used. But all require observers or accurate reporting of total catch.
Spatial management – closed areas have been part of fishery management for 3 decades (scribes note: much longer than that, surely). Real-time management is more effective than closed areas though, moving fleets around etc, but only if good monitoring.
Can provide a good news message about what fisheries management can actually do. More famous at the moment for failing than succeeding. But lessons learned from Canadian cod and North Sea plaice. Can do recruitment forecasting etc. and predator reduction (even though this is resisted everywhere), for management of forage species, using well-being of seabirds etc as part of the fishery management process, size based management & genetic effects on fished populations, bycatch reduction is advancing, International Plans Of Action etc, spatial management tools, are all now part of the toolbox, and having definite effects.
Can also improve governance, and we know how to do this. Few systems have been actually evaluated though. Fishermen can collapse any management plan they do not support – so it is a no-brainer that fishermen need to be taken into account in the process.
Is all of this enough for EAF? Certainly better than the previous paradigm. Even if all fisheries complied with SS reference points, there would still be bycatch, habitat damage, dependent predators etc all still at risk.
All these examples of “doable‿ EAF components are from developed countries and problem of human capacity in most areas. Governance component is crucial but usually missing. Charismatic individuals can make it work on a small scale but each society is different. Small-scale fisheries have different problems and strengths. Challenge of food security, and imperative to eat enough to survive.
Bottom line is, we are doing too little with the EAF tools we have right now. Could make much bigger strides, but problem of uncertainty in the science (and this will increase with EAF ecosystem approach to fisheries. If management is not risk-averse then an EAF will actually make biodiversity status worse.
Trouble is, taking into account EAF and biodiversity is always going to mean taking LESS fish and this is not easy to push through. Have to allow leeway for environmental uncertainties etc. Science has rarely convinced users to reduce yield even for DIRECT future benefit.
Armando Astudillo Gonzales on Current fishery management tools and the ecosystem approach in the EU
Uses the FAO definition for the EAF. It is not actually ECOSYSTEM management, but managing FISHERIES whilst taking into account, and benefiting the ecosystem. EU Common Fisheries Policy implementation comes under Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 (1). Consists of legislation applying directly to fishermen and legislation applying to administrations (which may translate into national rules for fishermen as necessary). Quotas allocated to member states who then decide how to allocate to fishermen.
Are these tools appropriate for EAF? Yes (he reckons). But a change in attitude is needed. Managers need to recognise that effects go beyond the population dynamics of the target species and the economic results, and effects of fishing extend to other species. Scientists need to provide advice on these broader effects and even respond beyond requirements. Politicians need to support this.
Change in attitude is fairly slow. Reykjavik meeting on EAF was in 2001 and the mantra then was the need for change to be evolutionary not revolutionary, in light of economic and social constraints. But response should be definite and energetic when risks are severe or certain (eg response to cetacean risks and closed boxes to trawling).
Q: How do you make sure managers are held accountable and pay for any mistakes? A: The EU is a democratic institution and has mechanisms to sort this out (at least that’s what my notes say).
Q: governance is usually discussed in terms of ethics. It is different all over the world and has not really been discussed today. EAF must take governance on board - need to be fully aware what it is and focus strongly upon it. A: Yes indeed. It is probably THE issue of the last 50 years. The EAF gives a long list of what it means but the definition was only drawn up 2 years ago and still need some work on what it means in different parts of the world.
Q: agree with Jake Rice on EAF being resisted because it requires cutbacks and giving up benefits for broader good. Needs to be made clear just how valuable biodiversity is – and who should foot the bill. Already done the job in the farming sector, and financial support given by state or EU for conservation practices – maybe should do the same for fishing (scribes note: sounds like a recipe for subsidy to me, but perhaps I am misunderstanding a comment posed in French). A consumer buying fish through ecolabelling can also help pay the premium for biodiversity. A: CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) is only interested in conservation if it brings in extra value – has to do with sovereign rights of state which implies free access. No protection for marine biodiversity yet.
Final panel discussion
Rapporteurs flashed up a series of key points from the discussion so far.
In response to a question from the chair about any issues which might have been missed from the discussion, the following were offered:
- Impacts of CO2, nitrification and climate change going to be at least as significant as fishing as impacts on marine ecosystems over the next 50 years, it has been said.
- Also, fishing has a selective effect and there are adaptive changes as a result of fishing. Need to flag these in context of biodiversity since biodiversity includes genetic level as well as species and ecosystems (Keith Brander)
- International data system will be very important and need to classify ocean areas into ecosystemic, socio-economic or political blocs or something. EAF needs to integrate traditional tools, since there are areas where they can still be useful , particularly when fisheries close to MSY. Need to “restitute‿ uncertainties
- Moving from stock based management to EAF is difficult. Setting up a model requires new disciplines and competencies to be introduced. Most basic thing is to increase our knowledge about these things. Most developing countries can’t accomplish this change without regional or international cooperation. Institutions need to be helped to make this transition. One of the solutions may be solidarity at regional and international level in cases where one species facing extinction. Everything is interconnected and many things go beyond individual countries. Don’t forget that north consumes much of fish from south – they should be able to help these countries ensure that a fish does not die out. On the other hand, some southern countries actually have advantages over industrialised countries in applying EAF etc. Incentive structures can be healthier, such as a coastal fishery where the goal is partly food and partly commercial – where there is an incentive to consume everything without the bycatch that results from a quota system – potential to better monitor everything taken out of the ocean. Also much more understanding of traditional and local knowledge – and usually better respected than in northern countries – the north could learn about some of these things from the south.
- Note that this workshop about biodiversity and fisheries (and not marine species), but there is another workshop on biodiversity on forests (and not forestry) – and interesting contrast in approach between the two sectors. There is a lot of stuff troubling the ocean that is outside the scope of any fisheries manager to control, but we are talking specifically about fisheries management here.
- Need to include the idea that fishery management is not about reaching limits but about targets. Shifting baselines need to be acknowledged. Avoiding destroying habitat is not a constraint, but an objective.
- Someone complains about a paragraph in the rapporteur’s notes on screen that talks about the need to actually fish less. The chair points out that it may not apply to all individual fisheries, but overall, globally. Message needs to be put unambiguously that there is no easy way out.
- Querulous question: Why have MPAs been disconnected from this fisheries management discussion? Answer from the chair: They haven’t! They are part of the EAF toolbox. The only question is over whether if they are good for biodiversity they MUST automatically be good for fisheries. MPAs have a role to play but they are not the single solution and need to look after the entire habitat. Sad if we were to focus too much on MPAs and forget the other areas. The only solution to deepsea fisheries that has been proposed is MPAs, but it needs to go far beyond the capabilities of MPAs.
- NGOs – what is their role? This is a governance issue and surely they have a role in putting pressure on all of these actors on conservation issues, particularly where compliance can not be assured through national governance. Advocacy is an important role in society and NGOs good at handling the media. They also have an important direct role in the field in developing countries where governments don’t have much outreach capacity. Another point of view is that their value is not so much as adversarial pressure groups, but responsible NGOs can contribute to a more inclusive decision process. There are a lot of different kinds of NGOs and can’t just emphasise their role as a pressure group. They are a lot more constructive when this adversarial role is dropped. NGOs also represent small-scale fisheries groups etc.
- On question of implementation of Natura2000 sites in the European marine environment – why the slow progress? A: EU is slightly behind, but got some extra problems compared to terrestrial sites. Habitats need mapping and habitats defined. There was also a legal battle over interpretation – should it be applied to EEZ or coastal areas. No actual policy obstacles now though, and good relations between member country environment services and fisheries services and just adopted a list of sites. These areas need management plans etc. No more obstacle to implementation though.
- Take-home message from Jake Rice: He’s not saying we have all the answers yet but there are a few simple things emerging out of existing science which can be implemented to provide an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. For example, just maintaining the size-composition of a population would be a big step forward (and use any change as trigger for action). Need to stop asking really hard questions that take years to answer, but act on the simple things and keep asking the questions.
- Take-home message from Serge Garcia: When there is conflict it is best to agree on what to AVOID rather than trying to agree everything. Some places society as a whole might not be able to go. Society needs to work out what it finds unacceptable. If they want enough food to feed everyone then how far can it go in terms of altered ecosystem balance, and what are the real sticking points. Not so much setting objectives, but setting no-go areas. There is no social consensus yet on what the balance should be, just a lot of worry.
- Are we measuring what we should be measuring? Only 4 years ago the ICES multispecies working group, thinking about whether to do another diet study, decided we know more about what fish are eating than we know about catches being taken, and if we don’t fix the reporting problem then all the rest is just window-dressing (sounds like a justification for the use of more fishery-independent assessment methods to me – scribe’s note)
- EAF systems need governance indicators as well as fishery indicators.
The official report of the workshop will be posted on the meeting website http://www.recherche.gouv.fr/biodiv2005paris. Hopefully it will be a little more structured and concise than my notes.
--Tima 09:41, 30 Jan 2005 (PST)