Ocean Action Hub

Making Fisheries Sustainable

Welcome to the online discussion on Making Fisheries Sustainable. The discussion is taking place during the preparatory process for The Ocean Conference in order to engage stakeholders in assessing the challenges and opportunities related to delivering on implementation of SDG14.4, 14.4 and 14.b aimed at making fisheries sustainable. The discussion runs from 20 March – 7 April 2017. More....

To participate, please post your response to the discussion questions below.

Fisheries discussion Question 1

Target 14.4: By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country, or region, or from the perspective of your organization, in achieving Target 14.4?
  2. What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.4?
  3. Please share below any innovative partnerships aimed at achieving Targets 14.4 - existing or proposed - that you are aware of or involved in that can be highlighted at the June Ocean Conference and that can advance effective actions from local to global levels.
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Deon Burger's picture

Deon Burger said:

Hello all, a few thoughts from INTERPOL here in Lyon.

What are the challenges faced in your community, country, or region, or from the perspective of your organization, in achieving Target 14.4?

From an international law enforcement perspective, a key challenge revolves around strengthening weaknesses in national jurisdictions. Criminals currently target these weaknesses by use of corruption, taking advantage of legal loopholes, or evading weak control systems at sea, in port or at the borders where the fishery products are traded.



This allows transnational organized crime networks to exploit the fisheries sector across the globe, depleting fish stocks, affecting vulnerable communities, undermining national economies and threatening food security.



As an international law enforcement organization, INTERPOL supports cooperation and innovation on police and security matters by ensuring that states have critical information on illegal fishing vessel activities and associated fisheries crime. The Oceans Conference represents a unique opportunity to call into focus our law enforcement role in achieving Target 14.4 and to encourage states and supporting organizations to submit information that can be incorporated into our global enforcement network to advance investigative objectives.



What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.4?



In order to reach a state of sustainable global development, as highlighted by the United Nations, it is suggested that the international community focus on evolving state practice in ocean security responses in accordance with science-based methods. It is important the global community consider the importance of enforcement initiatives to counter organized crime networks and reduce regional conflicts. A sustained, professional and consistently strong international enforcement response to IUU fishing and fisheries crime, will also create a deterrence effect, as more and more criminal organizations, reason that the risk of capture and conviction is greater than the potential reward.



Please share below any innovative partnerships aimed at achieving Targets 14.4 - existing or proposed - that you are aware of or involved in that can be highlighted at the June Ocean Conference and that can advance effective actions from local to global levels.



To achieve Target 14.4 INTERPOL coordinate their efforts with a range of governmental and non-governmental organisations. These include the Governments of Norway, the United States and the PEW Charitable Trusts. Other partnerships include operational communication with UNFAO and capacity development activities with UNODC.



The upcoming jointly held INTERPOL/UNODC Fisheries Crime symposium, and the 6th INTERPOL Fisheries Crime Working Group will be held in Vienna from the 25th – 29th of September 2017. Both of these events represent a fantastic opportunity for heads of investigative authorities with operational priorities in maintaining ocean security to come together, to discuss opportunities for translating political commitments into adequate implementation of national and international law.



Topics of the symposium will include consultation on international preparation of law enforcement assets and intelligence management capacities, the deployment of investigative forces for multi-country investigations, the identification and detention of high risk vessels, investigations into criminal business models operating in urban environments, and the prosecution of organized fisheries crime networks.

Sandy Davies's picture

Sandy Davies said:

Hello to everyone, a few thoughts from Stop Illegal Fishing, based in Africa.

1 – Challenges

In East Africa/the Western Indian Ocean ending IUU fishing by 2020 will be a big challenge! The tuna fishery alone attracts around 460 industrial fishing vessels from around the world, including an Asian owned longline fleet of around 400 vessels (200 of which are Taiwanese flagged). This creates many challenges, for example, coastal and port States struggle to verify information such as: vessel identity (is the vessel who they say it is?); registration (is the vessel really registered to the flag it is flying or are the documents fake, or even real but based on false information?); and ownership (are details provided correct or simply PO boxes and shell companies?). Evidence of false and forged documents, repainting of false vessel names, hoisting of any flag and providing inaccurate or incomplete information appears to be extremely common – verifying this is a challenge. When the coastal or port States have evidence of illegal fishing, related or associated activity, the actions they can take are also limited due to lack of information about/or issues of jurisdiction in respect to the owners/operators. This has resulted in abandonment or absconding of vessels, abandoned crew and unpaid fines. 

2 – Priority Actions

AVAILABLE INFORMATION AND CROSS-CHECKING: Increase the availability and access to fishing vessel, registration (flag), fishing licence and business information. This must be the starting point to enable cross checking and to enable the identification of false and forged information. Linking up coastal, port, flag and market States to share this information and validate it is essential. The wider sharing of this information into the public domain is the next step.

MULTI-AGENCY APPROACH: Tackling serious organised crime by developing a coordinated multi-agency approach to deal with the kingpins who are orchestrating much of the illegality and crimes in the fisheries sector – including: illegal fishing, human labour abuses, arms/drugs/wildlife trafficking and murder.

WORKING TOGETHER: Finding ways to work with the fishing industry, the consumers and other actors to share information and to have more eyes and ears in port and at sea, to help stop illegal operations.

SUPPORT THOSE ON THE FRONTLINE: Increase the recognition of the important work that fisheries officers and inspectors do, to ensure political support for their work, ongoing capacity building and accessible tools to do their job.

3 – Innovative Partnerships 

FISH-i Africa has been mentioned, and this is a partnership of eight countries in East Africa which incorporates a number of the above-mentioned priority actions in an attempt to create a united regional approach to fighting illegal fishing find out more at www.fish-i-africa.org.

Following the success of FISH-i, and based on its model, the West Africa Task Force (WATF) was established. The WATF is newer than the FISH-i Task Force, however promising work has been achieved, particularly the level of national inter-agency cooperation.

Currently, Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), coordinates a network of people working to fight illegal fishing across Africa, find out more at www.stopillegalfishing.com.

Konstantin Zgurovsky's picture

Konstantin Zgurovsky said:

  1. The main challenges which we face in our country in achieving Target 14.4 are quite typical: absence of the EBM, overfishing and IUU, destruction of essential habitats, fleet overcapacity, discard and bycatch, low domestic demand for sustainable seaffod.
  2. Priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.4: Better monitoring, introduction of multi-species ecosytem based management, fleet capacity reduction, elimination of bycatch and discard, seafood trade transparency improvement.
  3. Innovative partnership aimed at achieving Targets 14.4 is the WWF Russia partnership with MSC certified fishing companies on their fishing impact reduction, vulnerable habitats portection, gear improvement, etc.

 

Eleanor Partridge's picture

Eleanor Partridge replied:

Dear Konstantin,

Thanks for your insights. It would be interesting to know more about the partnership between WWF Russia and MSC certified companies and what the results of this have been - is there a link to more information? 

Vivienne Solis Rivera's picture

Vivienne Solis ... said:

I believe that at least in Latin America there is a very important difference between illegal fishing and non-formalized fishing which might cause a lot of confusion and injustice in how we implement this Target. States need to generate the necessary information (coming from science and traditional knowledge) to be able to recognize the rights of communities to sustainable use of the fisheries starting by recognizing the rights of indigenous people and local communities. So I do believe that better information and clarification of this issues is important. Indigenous People and Local communities Conserved areas ( ICCAs) are a good way in which we can recognized this rights under the recognition of local governance schemes, a good example of this are the Marine Responsible fishing areas in Costa Rica and the LMMAs in Asia.

Eleanor Partridge's picture

Eleanor Partridge replied:

Dear Vivienne,

You make a very good point. I think this relates also to the ongoing challenge we face to distinguish between solutions for illegal versus unregulated and unreported fishing – particularly as IUU sometimes seems to be used interchangeably with ‘illegal’, leaving out the U and the U. It would be very interesting to know whether there are examples of ICCAs that are seeking to improve levels of reporting and regulation as part of their approach, and how they are tackling this.

Sarah Poon's picture

Sarah Poon said:

Millions of fishermen and women around the world are struggling to catch more fish from an ever-dwindling supply. If nothing changes, more than 80% of the world’s fisheries will be in need of recovery by 2030—a crisis for the more than 3.5 billion people worldwide who will depend on fish as an important source of protein. Much of the world’s fish is caught in small-scale, coastal fisheries that support vulnerable communities. Many such fisheries are already in trouble, and the human population in these nearshore areas is growing. Scientific research indicates that is possible to recover the world’s fisheries in our lifetimes, so that we have more fish, more food and more prosperity. Peer-reviewed findings show that sustainable fishing could recover three-quarters of the world’s fisheries in just ten years. To achieve this recovery, however, there is an urgent need to scale effective management solutions that put an end to overfishing.

Secure fishing rights—also known as “tenure rights” or “rights-based management”—are one such approach that can be established to drive fishery sustainability around the world. When fishers are assured long-term access to their fisheries through fishing rights—in the form of defined areas (Territorial Use Rights for Fishing, or TURFs) or quotas—they are empowered to preserve the resource that sustains them because they will benefit from their conservation actions.

States and stakeholders can promote fishery sustainability by enabling appropriate allocation of fishing rights and ensuring programs are designed to meet the biological, economic and social goals of stakeholders. Participatory decision making processes should be set up to engage fishers and other stakeholders in the design and ongoing management of the program. Multi-stakeholder groups can define program features, such as mechanisms to hold fishery participants accountable to science-based limits on harvest. While certain features tend to be consistent across programs, such as the presence of accountability mechanisms to promote compliance, experiences from around the world show that secure fishing rights can take a variety of forms to adapt to the local context.

Strong partnerships are needed to ensure there is support for sustainable fisheries management at all levels—from strong national policies to inclusive, bottom-up engagement. Partnerships between governments, fishing communities, CSOs, NGOs, academic institutions, and others are valuable for bringing together diverse perspectives and skills. Such partnerships can be helpful for engaging stakeholders in participatory decision making; providing appropriate scientific tools and management advice; supporting research, monitoring and communication; strengthening capacity; and other support to ensure management systems promote the long-term sustainability of fisheries.

Eleanor Partridge's picture

Eleanor Partridge replied:

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for sharing your perspective. It’s great to see examples of the rights-based approach in use in a variety of different fisheries. It would be very interesting to hear your thoughts on whether there are particular characteristics of a fishery that increase the likelihood that the rights-based approach can be applied succesfully.

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney said:

Comentarios presentados en nombre de la Organización del Sector de Pesca y Acuicultura del Istmo Centroamericano (OSPESCA), en relación al Objetivo de Desarrollo Sostenible 14.4 (SDG 14.4): "Regular de manera efectiva la recolección y terminar con la pesca excesiva, la pesca ilegal, no declarada y no reglamentada y las prácticas pesqueras destructivas; para restaurar las poblaciones de peces en el menor tiempo posible".

¿Cuáles son los retos a los que se enfrenta su comunidad, país o región, o desde la perspectiva de su organización, para lograr el Objetivo 14.4?

La Organización del Sector Pesquero  y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano (OSPESCA) es una institución conformada por las instituciones de pesca y acuicultura del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), integrado por Belice, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá y República Dominicana.

En la región de OSPESCA, los mayores retos son:

  • El conocimiento de los efectos e impacto de la Pesca INDNR sobre los recursos pesqueros y la restauración de las poblaciones; así como de las normativas que a nivel internacional, regional y nacional rigen la materia, tanto para aguas marinas como continentales.
  • El desarrollo de las capacidades de las instituciones de pesca en cuanto al personal administrativo y de campo responsable de las inspecciones, así como de los recursos logísticos para el ejercicio de sus labores.
  • El incremento de las coordinaciones y cooperación entre las instituciones de pesca y seguridad en la prevención y control de la Pesca INDNR, de manera a juntar esfuerzos las acciones que realizan contra estas acciones ilegales que se relacionan con la pesca.

¿Cuáles son las acciones prioritarias que todos podemos reunir en un "Llamado a la Acción" global para lograr el Objetivo 14.4?

Como acciones prioritarias en torno a reunir un “Llamado a la Acción”, global es conveniente:

  • El fortalecimiento de las redes internacionales, regionales y nacionales para la prevención y control de la Pesca INDNR, mediante el intercambio de información, la generación de metodologías y procedimientos armonizados, así como su ejecución en el monitoreo, control y vigilancia.
  • El establecimiento de programas y/o proyectos de cooperación que permita la implementación de los instrumentos dirigidos a luchar contra la Pesca INDNR, como es el Registro Mundial y el Acuerdo sobre Medidas del Estado Rector del Puerto y los instrumentos internacionales conexos, entre otros.
  • La implementación de directrices internacionales y la coordinación en su ejecución que garanticen la comercialización de productos provenientes de la pesca legal, declarada y reglamentada, como son las Directrices Voluntarias para los Sistemas de Documentación de las Capturas, la trazabilidad, entre otras.

Por favor, comparta cualquier asociación innovadora - existente o propuesta - de la cual usted esté consciente o involucrado, que pueda avanzar acciones efectivas desde el nivel local hasta el global para alcanzar el Objetivo 14.4.

El “Protocolo de Tegucigalpa a la Carta de la Organización de Estaos Centroamericanos” por la cual se crea el Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), establece en su artículo 22, que las decisiones de los Consejos de Ministro serán de obligatorio cumplimiento en todos los Estados miembros y sólo podrán oponerse a su ejecución disposiciones de carácter legal.

En atención a este precepto legal, OSPESCA ha establecido su “Modelo de Gobernanza”, a través de un proceso participativo entre la sociedad civil, los sectores productivos y las instituciones de pesca, que permite de manera consensuada la presentación a través de sus órganos de reglamentos y resoluciones que brindan un ordenamiento para la ejecución de una pesca y acuicultura responsable y sostenible.

En dicho marco, se han establecido nueve (9) reglamentos regionales, uno de los cuales se establece en conjunto con el Consejo de Ministros responsables de la sanidad acuícola. Entre ellos podemos mencionar algunos relativos al combarte de la Pesca INDNR como son:

  • Reglamento OSP-01-09 del Sistema Integrado de Registro Pesquero y Acuícola Centroamericano (SIRPAC),, mediante el cual se presenta el registro pesquero y acuícola regional.
  • Reglamento OSP-02-09 para el Ordenamiento Regional de la Pesquería de la langosta del Caribe (Panulirus argus), el cual establece las medidas vinculantes que permitan la armonización de la normativa y ordenación de las pesquerías de Langosta del Caribe en la región.
  • Reglamento OSP 03-10 para la creación e implementación gradual de un sistema regional de seguimiento y control satelital de embarcaciones pesquera de los estados del istmo centroamericano, por el cual se establece el marco jurídico regional para la creación e implementación gradual de un sistema regional de seguimiento y control satelital de embarcaciones pesqueras de los Estados del Istmo Centroamericano.
  • Reglamento Regional OSP-05-11 para prohibir la práctica del aleteo del tiburón en los países parte del SICA, por el cual se establecen medidas de ordenamiento regional para el aprovechamiento sostenible del recurso tiburón que contribuyan a la erradicación de la práctica del aleteo.
  • Reglamento Regional OSP-06-13 sobre el uso adecuado de dispositivos excluidores de tortugas marinas (DETs), que establece un marco de actuación regional para la protección de las tortugas marinas mediante el uso adecuado de los Dispositivos Excluidores de Tortugas.
  • Reglamento Regional OSP-08-14 para Prevenir, Desalentar y Eliminar la Pesca Ilegal, No Declarada y No Reglamentada en los Países Miembros del SICA, por el cual se fomenta la adopción de disposiciones armónicas orientadas a prevenir, desalentar y eliminar la Pesca INDNR.
Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney said:

Comentarios presentado en nombre de la Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano (OSPESCA), en relación al Objetivo de Desarrollo Sostenible 14.4 (SDG 14.4): "Regular de manera efectiva la recolección y terminar con la pesca excesiva, la pesca ilegal, no declarada y no reglamentada y las prácticas pesqueras destructivas; para restaurar las poblaciones de peces en el menor tiempo posible".¿Cuáles son los retos a los que se enfrenta su comunidad, país o región, o desde la perspectiva de su organización, para lograr el Objetivo 14.4?OSPESCA es una institución conformada por las instituciones de pesca y acuicultura del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), integrado por Belice, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá y República Dominicana.En la región de OSPESCA, los mayores retos son:-           El conocimiento de los efectos e impacto de la Pesca INDNR sobre los recursos pesqueros y la restauración de las poblaciones; así como de las normativas que a nivel internacional, regional y nacional rigen la materia, tanto para aguas marinas como continentales.-           El desarrollo de las capacidades de las instituciones de pesca en cuanto al personal administrativo y de campo responsable de las inspecciones, así como de los recursos logísticos para el ejercicio de sus labores.-           El incremento de las coordinaciones y cooperación entre las instituciones de pesca y seguridad en la prevención y control de la Pesca INDNR, de manera a juntar esfuerzos las acciones que realizan contra estas acciones ilegales que se relacionan con la pesca.¿Cuáles son las acciones prioritarias que todos podemos reunir en un "Llamado a la Acción" global para lograr el Objetivo 14.4?Como acciones prioritarias en torno a reunir un “Llamado a la Acción”, global es conveniente:-           El fortalecimiento de las redes internacionales, regionales y nacionales para la prevención y control de la Pesca INDNR, mediante el intercambio de información, la generación de metodologías y procedimientos armonizados, así como su ejecución en el monitoreo, control y vigilancia.-           El establecimiento de programas y/o proyectos de cooperación que permita la implementación de los instrumentos dirigidos a luchar contra la Pesca INDNR, como es el Registro Mundial y el Acuerdo sobre Medidas del Estado Rector del Puerto y los instrumentos internacionales conexos, entre otros.-           La implementación de directrices internacionales y la coordinación en su ejecución que garanticen la comercialización de productos provenientes de la pesca legal, declarada y reglamentada, como son las Directrices Voluntarias para los Sistemas de Documentación de las Capturas, la trazabilidad, entre otras.Por favor, comparta cualquier asociación innovadora - existente o propuesta - de la cual usted esté consciente o involucrado, que pueda avanzar acciones efectivas desde el nivel local hasta el global para alcanzar el Objetivo 14.4.El “Protocolo de Tegucigalpa a la Carta de la Organización de Estaos Centroamericanos” por la cual se crea el Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), establece en su artículo 22, que las decisiones de los Consejos de Ministro serán de obligatorio cumplimiento en todos los Estados miembros y sólo podrán oponerse a su ejecución disposiciones de carácter legal.En atención a este precepto legal, OSPESCA ha establecido su “Modelo de Gobernanza”, a través de un proceso participativo entre la sociedad civil, los sectores productivos y las instituciones de pesca, que permite de manera consensuada la presentación a través de sus órganos de reglamentos y resoluciones que brindan un ordenamiento para la ejecución de una pesca y acuicultura responsable y sostenible.En dicho marco, se han establecido nueve (9) reglamentos regionales, uno de los cuales se establece en conjunto con el Consejo de Ministros responsables de la sanidad acuícola. Entre ellos podemos mencionar algunos relativos al combarte de la Pesca INDNR como son:        Reglamento OSP-01-09 del Sistema Integrado de Registro Pesquero y Acuícola Centroamericano (SIRPAC),, mediante el cual se presenta el registro pesquero y acuícola regional.        Reglamento OSP-02-09 para el Ordenamiento Regional de la Pesquería de la langosta del Caribe (Panulirus argus), el cual establece las medidas vinculantes que permitan la armonización de la normativa y ordenación de las pesquerías de Langosta del Caribe en la región.        Reglamento OSP 03-10 para la creación e implementación gradual de un sistema regional de seguimiento y control satelital de embarcaciones pesquera de los estados del istmo centroamericano, por el cual se establece el marco jurídico regional para la creación e implementación gradual de un sistema regional de seguimiento y control satelital de embarcaciones pesqueras de los Estados del Istmo Centroamericano.        Reglamento Regional OSP-05-11 para prohibir la práctica del aleteo del tiburón en los países parte del SICA, por el cual se establecen medidas de ordenamiento regional para el aprovechamiento sostenible del recurso tiburón que contribuyan a la erradicación de la práctica del aleteo.        Reglamento Regional OSP-06-13 sobre el uso adecuado de dispositivos excluidores de tortugas marinas (DETs), que establece un marco de actuación regional para la protección de las tortugas marinas mediante el uso adecuado de los Dispositivos Excluidores de Tortugas.        Reglamento Regional OSP-08-14 para Prevenir, Desalentar y Eliminar la Pesca Ilegal, No Declarada y No Reglamentada en los Países Miembros del SICA, por el cual se fomenta la adopción de disposiciones armónicas orientadas a prevenir, desalentar y eliminar la Pesca INDNR.

Ashwini Sathnur's picture

Ashwini Sathnur said:

  1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country, or region, or from the perspective of your organization, in achieving Target 14.4?

The primary objectives of fishing is to make available human food consumption supply. Hence the most important characteristics that requires to be achieved is healthy consumption of fish food, and no occurrences of adulterated fish food. Ideally, achieveing 100% criteria of these objectives is impossible - due to the reasons of unknown quality of fish that are originating from unknown sources of islands and waters. Also causes of unknown cleanliness regions in the seas, oceans and tank beds, from which the fish is picked up, as edible items for human beings. Hence Health of human beings could be termed as a challenge in the community, country or region across the globe.

  1. What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.4?

Since health is primary factor to be achieved, we could categorize "Accessibility Guidelines" as a global "Calls for Action". Also leading to the achievement of Accessibility standards which are applicable for the human beings who consume the fish food supply.

  1. Please share below any innovative partnerships aimed at achieving Targets 14.4 - existing or proposed - that you are aware of or involved in that can be highlighted at the June Ocean Conference and that can advance effective actions from local to global levels.

An innovative solution termed "Accessibility for Sea, Ocean and River Transportation" is created by myself which aims to achieve the Targets 14.4 - proposed!

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney replied:

Dear Ashwini,

Thank you for sharing your perspective.  You raise a great point when you state that the primary objective of fishing is to make food available for human consumption!  Maintaining fish quality from capture to delivery to consumers is of course essential to meeting this primary objective.  Your comment also underscores the point that the SDGs are inter-related, I can see related work being undertaken the following SDG goals and targets: 

  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 14.b Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets

It would be interesting to learn more about the “Accessibility Guidelines” you refer to, is there a link you can share?  Who developed these guidelines?

Likewise, it would be interesting to hear more about, "Accessibility for Sea, Ocean and River Transportation."  How would this partnership contribute to achieving SDG 14.4?

Karen Sack's picture

Karen Sack said:

The biggest challenge is having the capacity and resources to tackle these issues, especially IUU fishing.  One of the best examples of an innovative partnership is Fish-i:Africa.  

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney replied:

Thank you Karen, 

That is the second reference posted regarding the FISH-i Africa initiative.  I look forward to learning more about the work they are doing and the results they are acheiving. 

Akintola Shehu Latunji's picture

Akintola Shehu ... said:

  1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country, or region, or from the perspective of your organization, in achieving Target 14.4?

 The lack of governance guideline  remains the critical challenge hindering the development of the fisheries sector generally and specifically attainment of target 14.4 in Nigeria. The absence of a general legal and management framework has contineously hindered  developmental effort in the fishing industry. Efforts aimed at providing a legal framework by the enactment of the Fisheries Act 2014  suffered a major setback with the failure to achieve a presidential assent. Whereas, there are substantiall provisions in the Act which address the issue of science-based management plan, the lack of political will through the instrumentality of presidential assent has has effectively destroy the good intentions to address issue of sustainable fisheries management.

A key provision of the Act is the establishment of a Fisheries Commission. The functions of the Commission include: 1. The Commission, subject to the provisions of this Act, shall— a. take measures, implement actions and otherwise perform its duties so as to ensure the long-term conservation, management and sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources, in order to meet the needs of present and future generations; b. develop, apply and implement conservation, management and development practices based on sound management principles and generally recognised international standards and best practices, including— i. application of precautionary approaches to the conservation, management and development of fisheries and aquaculture; ii. application of ecosystem approaches to the conservation, management and development of fisheries and aquaculture iii. prevention and, where necessary, reduction of over-fishing, in particular to ensure that levels of fishing capacity and fishing effort do not exceed those commensurate with the sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources; iv. taking into account the particular rights, interests and needs of artisanal and subsistence fishers; v. adoption of integrated approaches to fisheries and other ocean and inland waters management, including by minimising, to the extent practicable, conflicts among fishers using the same maritime space or water body and between fishers and other users of the same maritime space or water body; and vi. implementation of good governance, accountability and transparency, including the need to involve fisheries stakeholders and fishing communities in all levels of decision-making; c. take measures, where necessary in cooperation with other public agencies, to implement and enforce compliance with the provisions of international agreements, protocols, conventions and treaties on fisheries and aquaculture; d. implement and enforce management and control measures through registration, licensing and permitting systems; e. implement and enforce measures to minimize or mitigate the adverse effects of fishing and aquaculture on the marine, coastal and inland aquatic environments and on non-target aquatic biological diversity and ecosystems; f. undertake, coordinate, utilize and promote the expansion of research, experiments, surveys and studies by public or private agencies, institutions and organizations concerning fish, fisheries and fishing operations; g. collect and share, in a timely manner and in accordance with generally recommended international standards and best practices, data concerning fisheries and aquaculture, as well as information from national and international research programmes; promote sustainable trade in fish and fishery products, including through the application of generally recognised international standards and rules on post-harvest practices, trade and sanitary and phytosanitary systems and marketing; i. in collaboration with other relevant agencies, and with the approval of the Minister, establish programmes for setting standards and regulations for the maintenance, restoration and enhancement of the nation’s fisheries resources; j. enforce compliance with laws, guidelines, policies, standards and other conservation and management measures, including by– i. adopting appropriate measures for monitoring, control and surveillance; ii. conducting offshore, onshore and field follow-up of compliance with regulations, licence conditions and set standards; iii. and take procedures prescribed by law against any violator; iv. conduct public investigations on overfishing and other activities or incidents harmful to fisheries resources or to the fisheries sector; k. coordinate and liaise with stakeholders, within and outside Nigeria, on matters concerning fisheries and aquaculture; l. create public awareness and provide education on sustainable fisheries management, promote private sector compliance with fisheries regulations; m. take measures to avoid, minimise and resolve disputes between individuals in the fisheries sector; n. submit for the approval of the Minister, proposals for the evolution and review of existing guidelines, regulations and standards on fisheries and aquaculture; and 2. carry out the functions and duties specified for it, or its officers, in this Act with respect to the Act’s implementation and administration. 3. The Minister may give general directions in writing on matters of policy. 4. In carrying out the activities described in subsection (1), the Commission shall a. comply with any directions given by the Minister under subsection (3); b. take into account the objectives of national fisheries policy in section 2; c. as appropriate, and where applicable, take into account any relevant recommendations of the National Fisheries Stakeholder Forum.

Given the scenarios that no  policy document is in place to drive sustainable development in the industry it has become impossible to guage the indicator as in 14.4.1 Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels. In my view, there is really a huge information gap on the stock levels of the fisheries of Nigeria. Many of the information available are not carried out the required scale and levels for which meaningfully conclussion may be drawn on the estiamted stock level.

It is important to note that IUU remain a challenge and the lack of insitutional coordination has impacted nagatively on drive to curtail the nefarious activities of many foreign fleets in the teritorial water of the country. The monitoring, controla and survailnce and control (MCS) remain ineffective as a result of many factors which include limited capacity and funding to ensure effective survailance. It is however heartwarming that the Federal Department of Fisheries is building on regional initiatives to comabt IUU through the acquisiton of infrascture to ensure vessel monitoring system is put in place.

At the regional level, efforts of Ghana is very much commendable in relation to the giant stride being undertaken. Ghana has in place a ministry of fisheries and a fisheries commission. These development have facilitated the rapid efforts of the country toward putting in place a mechanism for effective MCS. It has well developed master plan for its marine park and sooner than later join the league of nations with national parks within its quest towards ocean sustainability. 

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney replied:

Dear Akintola,

Thank you for sharing your perspective regarding challenges to achieving sustainable fisheries management.  I agree with you that clear governance guidelines are critical to the development and use of fisheries resources.  What is the current status of the “Fisheries Act 2014”?  Is the law still being considered?

You also raise a critical point regarding information related to the stock levels of the fisheries. As you state, the assessments currently undertaken are not carried out in a way that allows meaningful conclusions to be drawn on estimated stock levels.  Would the “Fisheries Act 2014” provide resources to undertake more robust stock assessments?

It is encouraging to hear you say that the Federal Department of Fisheries is building on regional initiatives to combat IUU through the acquisition of infrastructure to ensure a vessel-monitoring system is put in place.  And that other countries in the region are making also progress.  Are you aware of, or involved in, any regional efforts to combat IUU fishing?

The Pew Charitable Trusts (Andrew Friedman)'s picture

The Pew Charita... said:

3. Please share below any innovative partnerships aimed at achieving Targets 14.4

In 2013, The Pew Charitable Trusts commenced a 10 year program bringing together governments, the private sector, and civil society to build a new tool to combat illegal fishing. The result, Project Eyes on the Seas, has produced a system that can provide enforcement officials in any jurisdiction with access to clear and up-to-date information from a central, reliable source so they can take action against illegal fishing, all with a single click of a computer mouse or text message. Working together are:
• Catapult, a United Kingdom-based satellite applications incubator and innovator. It has supplied the satellite technology that makes monitoring and surveillance possible, even in capacity-constrained jurisdictions. It provides a risk index on fishing vessel behavior to help countries carry out enforcement in their waters, and can assist retailers to understand better the risks in their supply chain.
• FISH-i Africa, a consortium of eight East African nations committed to cooperative action to combat illegal fishing in their waters. FISH-i countries are already collaborating successfully in this regard and will be one of the first regions to leverage this satellite technology, along with strengthening key policies, to demonstrate system’s full viability (for more information see: https://www.fish-i-africa.org/what-we-do/our-impacts/ and https://www.fish-i-africa.org/all-publications/)
• INTERPOL, which effectively supports the project by ensuring that states have the most up-to-date information on illegal fishing vessel activity and associated fisheries crime. It benefits in turn from the submission of information that the partners collect, which can be incorporated into its global enforcement network and facilitate prosecution and deterrence.
This Ocean Conference presents an opportunity to introduce all States to this partnership and potentially expand its scope and participation.

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney replied:

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for sharing the views and the work of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The partnerships you have highlighted sound as if they are delivering tangible results in achieving target 14.4.  It would be interesting to learn more about the challenges and successes of these initiatives and to hear some examples regarding how they are accomplishing successful fisheries enforcement actions in an effort to combat IUU fishing.  I agree with you that the Ocean Conference is an opportunity to introduce States to these partnerships, and potentially expand its scope and participation.

The Pew Charitable Trusts (Andrew Friedman)'s picture

The Pew Charita... said:

2. What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.4?

The Ocean Conference’s Call to Action is a chance for States to take action and make a renewed commitment to managing fisheries in accordance with modern, precautionary, and science-based methods. Particularly it should include a call to adopt harvest strategies that incorporate precautionary reference points, and improving the verifiability of catches through increasing observation of fishing operations by humans or electronic tools and tighter oversight on the transshipment of fish at sea.

In addition, the Call to Action should specifically encourage widespread ratification and implementation of the PSMA and welcome its entry into force.

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney replied:

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for sharing the views and the work of The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

Your recommendations that States take action and commit to managing fisheries in accordance with modern, precautionary, and science-based methods, as well as encourage the widespread ratification and implementation of PSMA, are clear and ambitious.  I believe that both of these actions would support achievement of SDG 14.4 and look forward to hearing the thoughts of others on these topics.      

The Pew Charitable Trusts (Andrew Friedman)'s picture

The Pew Charita... said:

Thanks again Joe, all useful questions to be asking. We at Pew will try to take them in turn:

1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country, or region, or from the perspective of your organization, in achieving Target 14.4?

First, modernizing fisheries management. Successive reports on the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture by UNFAO indicate that many of the world’s fish stocks continue to deteriorate because of ineffective fisheries management. At a meeting convened in 2016 to review the implementation of the Fish Stocks Agreement, States committed once more to fully implement conservation and management measures for straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks in accordance with the best-available scientific information and the precautionary and ecosystem approaches.
To be effective, these management measures must incorporate modern tools for fisheries management. Harvest strategies can help to achieve Target 14.4 by putting in place pre-agreed frameworks for making fisheries management decisions, such as how and when to set science-based total allowable catch limits or quotas to sustainably manage stocks before a crisis occurs, and agree on recovery measures for depleted stocks (see http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/collections/2016/08/ha...).
Harvest strategies incorporate the use of reference points, which the Fish Stocks Agreement calls on regional management organizations to establish. Conservation, or limit, reference points should be established to “constrain harvesting within safe biological limits within which stocks can produce maximum sustainable yield” while management, or target, reference points “are intended to meet management objectives.”
Harvest strategies are more than just best practices; they are legal obligations on States pursuant to the terms of the Fish Stocks Agreement. Yet RFMOs continue to set catch limits with insufficient precaution and allow fishing of stocks to dangerously low levels. To date, no regional fisheries management body has adopted harvest strategies for more than 25 percent of a region’s stocks.
Further progress on this target will come from improving the data submitted to scientists and verifying that catches are legal and within the rules set by regional management organizations. Greater oversight of at-sea transshipment, particularly within the longline industry, is required to ensure it is properly monitored and controlled. In addition, too many vessels fishing for highly migratory species such as tunas lack systems to ensure the sufficient and timely submission of data. Tuna longline vessels, in particular, fall short of providing data that is regularly provided by vessels that use other fishing gears. Electronic systems, including cameras, are practical and should be installed on these vessels to report and monitor catches for scientific and compliance purposes.

Second, ending illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to threaten marine biodiversity and fish stock sustainability. It robs coastal and developing States of billions of dollars’ worth of fish every year and is linked to such crimes as money laundering, fraud, human and drug trafficking, and corruption. Fortunately, common-sense measures and effective coordination can address this challenge. For instance:
• Last year, some States took a major step forward in combatting IUU fishing with the entry into force of the Port State Measures Agreement. As of this writing, 42 countries have ratified the agreement, but more must follow to ensure that vessels fishing illegally are denied the opportunity to land their catch and profit from their illegal activity. Moreover, it is critical that this Agreement be effectively implemented at the national level, both by the parties to the Agreement as well as those looking to join the treaty, and that the Agreement’s information-sharing mechanism is set up as soon as possible.
• The European Union, ten regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs), and two other regional fisheries bodies have adopted requirements that fishing vessels of a certain size should have unique, permanent, globally verifiable identification numbers, assigned by IHS Maritime and Trade on behalf of the IMO. These numbers provide an independent and continually updated audit trail. The challenge now is to ensure that these requirements are effectively enforced and extended to all eligible vessels fishing beyond their national jurisdiction.
• Properly implemented and maintained vessel monitoring systems (VMS) are also necessary for effective fisheries management because they allow for monitoring of vessel activity and position. These systems can alert authorities to potential illegal activity and deter wrongdoing. They can also provide flag States with vital information about their compliance with international obligations. Strong VMS must become a universal requirement of fisheries management, ensuring that information is shared among all concerned states, centralized by RFMOs where possible, and effectively monitored by national authorities.

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney replied:

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for sharing the views and the work of The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

You raise important points in relation to the challenges of modernizing fisheries management and combatting IUU fishing.  Establishing harvest strategies and limit reference points for stocks is an important responsibility where progress can be made toward achieving SDG 14.4.  Effective measures for monitoring and control of fishing activity that you’ve mentioned, along with coordination and cooperation at the national, regional, and global level are key to addressing the challenges of IUU fishing. 

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney said:

Welcome to the online forum on Partnership Dialogue 4, “Making Fisheries Sustainable,” in advance of the SDG-14 Ocean Conference that will take place in June of this year. We are very pleased to be moderating this discussion and look forward to hearing from you - governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, NGOs, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors.

In particular, we’re interested in receiving contributions on how the global community can achieve Target 14.4: effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible. 

To help guide and structure the conversation we’ve proposed the following three questions:

  1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country, or region, or from the perspective of your organization, in achieving Target 14.4?
  2. What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in a global 'Call to Action' for achieving Target 14.4?
  3. Please share any innovative partnerships - existing or proposed - that you are aware of or involved in that can advance effective actions from local to global levels aimed at achieving Target 14.4?

This forum will remain open until 7 April. Summaries of the responses will be compiled at the end of the discussion period and posted on the platform. 



Your voice matters!  Make it count as the global community converges in June 2017 to commit to action to realize Sustainable Development Goal 14 to sustain Life Below Water for our and future generations!

Fisheries Discussion Question 2

Target 14.6: By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country, or region, or from the perspective or your organization, in achieving Target 14.6?
  2. What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.6?
  3. Please share below any innovative partnerships aimed at achieving Targets 14.6 - existing or proposed - that you are aware of or involved in that can be highlighted at the June Ocean Conference and can advance effective actions from local to global levels.
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Roger Martini's picture

Roger Martini said:

Hi Joe,Thanks for kicking off the discussion. I may not answer your questions directly but I want to start with a point around which I have observed a bit of confusion. SDG 14.6 calls for, among other things, a prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. This need not imply that countries have to eliminate support to their sectors, or even reduce it significantly. That kind of reform can be politically difficult to achieve.There are lots of reasons to believe that support can be delivered to the fishing sector in ways that have much lower negative impacts on overcapacity and overfishing, while at the same time achieving their objectives more effectively and efficiently. In the long term, improved policy efficiency will deliver savings to governments, but in the meantime governments need not see 14.6 as reducing their ability to set and meet objectives for their fisheries and to offer support to fishers.The OECD is working on identifying in a rigorous way how different forms of support affect overcapacity and overfishing, and how they benefit fishers as well. We will be sharing the results of this research over the course of 2017 and 2018, along with advice as to how governments can create pathways to beneficial reforms of their fishing sectors.Cheers,Roger

Joe Zelasney's picture

Joe Zelasney said:

Welcome to the online forum on Partnership Dialogue 4, “Making Fisheries Sustainable,” in advance of the SDG-14 Ocean Conference that will take place in June of this year. We are very pleased to be moderating this discussion and look forward to hearing from you - governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, NGOs, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors.

In particular, we’re interested in receiving contributions on how the global community can achieve Target 14.6: prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.

To help guide and structure the conversation we’ve proposed the following three questions:

  1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country, or region, or from the perspective of your organization, in achieving Target 14.6?
  2. What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in a global 'Call to Action' for achieving Target 14.6?
  3. Please share any innovative partnerships - existing or proposed - that you are aware of or involved in that can advance effective actions from local to global levels aimed at achieving Target 14.6?

This forum will remain open until 7 April. Summaries of the responses will be compiled at the end of the discussion period and posted on the platform. 



Your voice matters!  Make it count as the global community converges in June 2017 to commit to action to realize Sustainable Development Goal 14 to sustain Life Below Water for our and future generations!

Fisheries Discussion Question 3

Target 14.b: Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country or region, or from the perspective or your organization, in achieving Target 14.b?
  2. What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.b?
  3. Please share below any innovative partnerships aimed at achieving Targets 14.b - existing or proposed - that you are aware of or involved in that can be highlighted at the June Ocean Conference and can advance effective actions from local to global levels.
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Jose Pascual-Fernandez's picture

Jose Pascual-Fe... said:

Thanks to the forum moderators for helping this forum to happen.
Small-scale fishers (SSF) in the Canary Islands, Spain and other areas of Europe are facing a diversity of problems for accessing the marine resources and markets, although those difficulties are not the same everywhere. In relation to resources, we can state how, in some cases, resources are transferred from small-scale fishers in favour of large scale ones. A case in point is how the fishery of red tuna in Spain is almost under control, in-fact, of two large companies based in the Mediterranean. At the same time, hundreds of small boats share a minor percentage of the catches, as happens in the Canary Islands. This is related to how the State is governing about access rights, and small-scale fishers need to be taken more into account in these decision-making processes. Similar issues happen in some northern countries where the ITQs or similar arrangements have forced too many small-scale fishers out of business in the last decades, one way or another. In this arena, an adequate implementation of SSF voluntary guidelines may help to preserve access rights for small-scale fishers and to achieve SDG14b.
Not all risks come from large-scale fisheries. Coastal or marine tourism development may impact strongly on fishing communities. Similar problems may be related to recreational fisheries, which have been increasing lately, both in numbers and catches in some areas like the Canary Islands. Climate change is also affecting many coastal areas, and some coastal zones of the Canary Islands are suffering from this challenge.
However, not all the scenarios are dark, and we can also find cases where fishers have developed successful strategies to take control of their resources, getting the support of the state for this purpose. For instance, small-scale fishers in some islands as Fuerteventura have requested gear restrictions to make fishery sustainable, and governments have supported the idea with regulations to implement the restrictions. In other cases, marine reserves of fishing interest (like the one in El Hierro, Canary Islands) have been created with the impulse of local fishers, with a design that favours sustainable fishery in the area and strong support from the state. This reserve has not only increased the catches in the area but also secured the generation of synergies with other marine activities, like scuba diving.
In this sense, securing access is a key element, and providing better access to markets is no less important. Too frequently, local small-scale catches are undifferentiated in the market vs the catches of large-scale fleets or aquaculture, which is misleading for consumers and a disaster for SSF. In this realm, we can also find many conflicts and some success cases, as happens in Conil (Andalusia, Spain), where they have been effective in developing a collective labelling strategy that is widely recognised in the region, providing more secure access to markets and better prices for SSF fishers.
All these success cases have something in common: strong organizations of small-scale fishers supporting the processes. In this sense, perhaps one of the main challenges for small-scale fishers is how to develop organizations capable of coping with the current and diverse challenges they face. It is not an easy task, and frequently too dependent on specific leaderships. Supporting the development of organizations and leaderships is one of the pending tasks. Governments may contribute to this endeavour, as happened with the Galician shellfisher women on-foot in the 1990s, when shell-fisher organizations were created with the help of the regional government. Since that moment on, these shellfisher women have developed a successful management system in collaboration with biologist and the regional government. Other actors may help, and we can find how NGOs or scientists are contributing to this task in some cases. Some partnerships have been developed and many more would be welcomed.
Traditionally, small-scale fishers have had some limitations in scaling-up their organizations. That had been the case in Europe for long time. However, since a few years ago organizations such as Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) have demonstrated that, with adequate support and management, fishers’ voices can be heard in many countries around Europe, and also in Brussels at the level of the European Union. Perhaps this is one of the most interesting partnerships in European small-scale fisheries.

Vivienne Solis Rivera's picture

Vivienne Solis ... said:

The implementation of the SSF voluntary guidelines approved in the COFI meeting in 2014 are certainly a huge challenge worldwide. The implementation of this instrument with the leadership of the fishing organizations and other supporters is crucial and urgent. Sharing and learning in how the implementation of this instrument is happening around the world is crucial for the effective action towards this target.

Nicole Franz's picture

Nicole Franz replied:

Dear Vivienne,

thank you for sharing your thoughts. I certainly agree that the implementation of the SSF Guidelines is a huge challenge - but you also rightly point out that it can be an important tool for all to work towards achieving SDG14b, in particular considering that these guidelines have been negotiated and endorsed by the members of COFI. Already a lot is happening around the world, so it would in fact be important to gather and share those lessons for the benefit of small-scale fisheries all over the world.

Sarah Poon's picture

Sarah Poon said:

Small-scale fisheries are an essential source of food, income and employment for many communities around the world. In the face of a growing global population and unprecedented threats to ocean ecosystems, sustainable fisheries management is critical. Yet many small-scale fisheries are poorly managed, or not managed at all. And many remain open access, which leaves communities’ fishing grounds open to overexploitation by local and/or non-local actors. Overexploitation of fisheries threatens the livelihoods of millions of the most marginalized people around the world.

To protect small-scale fishers’ access to marine resources, we must empower them to secure rights to their fisheries and to participate in decision making to drive sustainable management. States can promote sustainable small-scale fisheries by working with fishers and other stakeholders to define and allocate fishing rights in an appropriate way, based on the goals and interests of fishers and their communities, in accordance with the SSF Guidelines, and drawing from global lessons learned from experiences with rights-based fisheries management.

 As the SSF Guidelines emphasize, participatory processes must be established and/or strengthened to ensure stakeholders can co-create management systems that will work in the local context to promote the long-term sustainability of the fishery.

Partnerships between governments, fishing communities, CSOs, NGOs, academic institutions, and others are valuable for bringing together diverse perspectives and skills to design and implement effective fishery management systems. Such partnerships can be helpful for engaging stakeholders in participatory decision making; providing appropriate scientific tools and management advice; supporting research, monitoring and communication; strengthening capacity; and other support to ensure management systems protect small-scale fishers’ long-term access to the resources they depend on.

Ratana Chuenpagdee's picture

Ratana Chuenpagdee replied:

Dear Sarah,

Many thanks for your comments, and for emphasizing the role of government, as well as other stakeholders in co-creating management systems through a partnership process. The challenge in realizing this is still paramount, even though it sounds logical and sensible. One must wonder why?!? Some argue that it is because of power dynamics, while some suggest that it is due to the lack of mechanisms and enabling conditions. Most likely, it's a combination of both. 

Perhaps there's room for innovation! If industrial fisheries can partner with ENGOs to achieve conservation (e.g. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2012/03/environmentalists-and-bottom-trawl-industry-develop-innovative-measures-to-impro/), 

what could be some 'strange bedfellows' for small-scale fisheries?

Nicole Franz's picture

Nicole Franz said:

Dear Sergio - and all other contributors so far,

Thanks for sharing your views! You all raise important points in relation to the the challenges that small-scale fisheries are facing.

Sergio mentions complexity in his first sentence - and this certainly a very important feature of small-scale fisheries. A better understanding of the sector is indeed crucial to ensure that needs - as well as potential - are properly understood and supported through public policies.

It would be great to hear more about 'what works', including innovative partenerships - or what type of partnerships at all levels would be needed to promote effective action in support of sustainable small-scale fisheries, in particular in relation to access to resources and to markets!

Sérgio Mattos's picture

Sérgio Mattos replied:

Dear Nicole,

Thank you for pushing us. This is the idea, so far.

In Brazil nor we can say that we know about fisheries, neither that we don't know. Huge country, many ecosystems, cultures, technologies, social gaps, and a paramount challence to join and work together. Generally speaking, public policies always described existing national request, supported by existing knowledge, but little answered to and asked for local demands. Reason why still facing problems of implementation rather than construction of public policies. Make that a public policy, even with national scope, reach the most distant fisher is a challenge worth trying.

The same could be true when talking about colaborative work, or 'what works' for small-scale fisheries in Brazil. Colaboration, and consequently co-working, is something the fall into a rethoric: everybody believes, but few applies. In todays governmental level, nobody belives, nobody applies, but still a rethoric. But everything is not a nightmare, once fishers themselves, fishers representative, NGOs, academia, researchers, and public state agents (in Brazil a government agent is a public state agent who holds a position in a governmental institution, generally within an ideological political line) are seating together, without governmental intervention, aiming at discussing real world problems in SSF and moving forward into policies that answers fishers needs, such as fishing territorial rights. Although once a public policy, now is one of their main goal. In recognising such an effective action and acknowledging that fishers must lead the process, many academic and non-academic forums worked together in creating a web to join paradigms, insights and discoveries, for the benefit of small-scale fisheries. I hope.

Sérgio Mattos's picture

Sérgio Mattos said:

The social, technological and ecological complexities found in small-scale fishing communities in Brazil still pose a challenge to integrate knowledge about the sector and hamper the enforcement of management measures, generally due to lack of data and information on these fisheries. As a result the established public policies are often disconnected with the sector’s local, regional and national dynamics. Furthermore, legitimacy and representativeness of small-scale fish workers in such institutional and legal frameworks increase challenges for the implementation of public policies and for the establishment of a management system capable of encompassing the diversity of small-scale fisheries.

Challenges always persist in social, economic and environmental dimensions of the fishing sector, as well issues as gender equity, and culture and knowledge, and although seems straightforward to face understandings of geopolitical and regional complexities and diversities, these need to be incorporated for fisheries management. So, to effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) and destructive fishing practices (Target 14.4); to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, that contribute to IUU fishing (Target 14.6); and provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets (Target 14.b); is imperative to understand that a frail and ineffective implementation of small-scale fisheries (SSF) public policy seems to be related to a weak institutional and legal frameworks arrangement, affecting social and ecological sustainability of fishing communities in developing countries such as Brazil.

The demands from organized civil society that extol the need for democratic actions and efforts of articulation and dialogue for the construction of public policies that recognize the peculiarities and particularities of the artisanal fishing activity, and of its involved stakeholders, are not recent. The need still rests on the importance of strengthening participatory management and governance processes, and the defense of broad involvement in the discussions of all segments involved.

For economic and social cohesion, it is necessary the audacity to decentralize some responsibilities for fisheries management, enabling a flow of information necessary to provide quick and effective responses to local and urgent situations, strengthening local organizations and guaranteeing quality of life and social well-being. We are talking about a plural activity, throughout its value chain, which requires a differential look and strong actions to minimize the perverse effects of historical marginalization, to strengthen the implementation of public policies, and to minimize conflicts, since small-scale fisheries is an important part of an economic sector that needs a holistic view, for farther actions through intrinsic specificities on the existing social, cultural and technological diversity.

The moment, therefore, is to create the necessary spaces for the discussion of the regulatory framework generated by the lack of clear and transparent instruments, a global and consensual understanding for fishing regulation, as well as definition of the institutionalism that will operate and implement any public policy for the sector, since the basic principle for planning institutionalization lies in the simplification of the management instruments and the legal and institutional framework. Nor is it recognized that any political agent is able to coordinate this process. Recent practice has shown that primary economic sectors, as fishing, requires command and execution teams of "eminently technical" profile, with political reading in a worldwide context, but never a "just political" profile, as many have advocated.

The eminently political ideology that plagued the public administration, in dealing with this and other closely related segments, weakened the organizational structures, with repercussion in the elaboration and implementation of public policies and, obviously, weakening the Government and the democratic state of law.

Maria Jose Barragan-Paladines's picture

Maria Jose Barr... said:

Dear forum moderators: congratulations and thanks for this great initiative to put the voices of some actors, interested in fisheries sustainability, together!

First, I trully believe that any effort to highlight the close connection between the "below" and "above" water dimensions implicit on the 14.b target is of extreme help. In fact the disconnection of both, the terrestrial and marine realms where fisheries take place, is partly responsible for the unawareness of the large complexity that challlenges to this sector entitle. My reflections to the leading questions underneath:

1. What are the challenges faced in your community, country or region, or from the perspective or your organization, in achieving Target 14.b?

Ecuador is one of the 25 major producers of the marine fisheries captures (SOFIA 2016). At the same time, Ecuador ahs been recognized as one of the 50 countries with higher vulnerability to climate change, ocean acidification and food insecurity ( Muir 2013, Huelsenbeck OCEANA 2012).This apparent paradox shows the risk implicit in the assumption that food security can be addressed by only looking at food quantity and thus availability. I found one of the biggest challenge to achieve the SDG 14.b target to be the disconnection between fish supply for the global markets, and the fish availability/affodability and access for fishers' own consumtption. 

Additionally, the food insecurity terrestrialized notion also affects a broader and more comprehensive understanding (recongition) of fish as a potential ally in the hunger and malnutrition problem, globally.

2.     What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.b?

There are many priority actions needed at varied scales, within the access to marine resources by fishing communities:

a. The "de-terrestrialization" of the notion of food-security, that would imply the recognition of fish, small-scale fishing activities, and fishing commnities great role, in alleviating the food insecurity challenge, at both local and national scale, within a global context. Food security lenses needs to go beyond the soils, seeds, droughts, and crops concets, and look at the sea, and at the shore, as well.

b. The recognition that food security/insecurity is not only a problem of the "so-called" developing (Global South) countries. In fact issues of food insecurity and malnutrition can also be witnessed on some areas of the Global North, as well and this should also be paid attention when small-scale fishers access to marine resources and markets are addressed.

c. Different perspectives are needed to tackle the access of small-scale fishers to marine resource and markets. By paying attention to the global and national scales implicit in the markets dynamics also requires a better understanding of the household and individual role, in the access to those resources.

3. innovative partnerships.....

Concerning this question, I am still trying to systematically identify and illustrate those cases. Hopefully my research development will provide abundant evidence of such cases!

Thanks!

Ratana Chuenpagdee's picture

Ratana Chuenpagdee replied:

Dear Maria Jose,

Indeed, the disconnection between life above and below water has detrimental effects on the whole ecosystem. Small-scale fishing people are obviously very close to life below the water and we can do more to draw from their knowledge and experience in managing the fisheries.

Thank you for highlighting the vulnerability of fisheries in Ecuador. While food security goes beyond availability and accessibility to include other aspects like food quality and stability of supply, there’s tendency to look only at the first couple of dimensions. More attention on how to improve markets and market access, and incorporating what you suggested about global/national/local dynamics, will certainly be useful.

Alicia Said's picture

Alicia Said said:

Thanks for organizing this e-panel, which I believe is very important when considering that small-scale fisheries encompass millions of livelihoods around the world. I am looking forward to reading the different stories and learn about the experiences of those involved in the small-scale fishing sector all over the world such that we can collectively voice the need of securing the sustainability of small-scale fisheries. Here is a succinct story of the Maltese fishing sector and what I believe should be the priority actions to make small-scale fisheries sustainable:

The fishing sector in Malta has always been one of a small-scale nature with a long history of fishers engaging in traditional small-scale fishing practices, however, the fishing communities are slowly disappearing as a result of major shifts in the fisheries policies.  With the industrialization of the Bluefin tuna fishery and the increase in the number of industrial trawlers, the fishing fleet and fisheries resources are increasingly becoming concentrated into fewer hands, and inevitably, small-scale fishers are facing multi-faceted deprivation.  In other words, the corporate growth within the fishing sector, a process which has been supported by the national governing system, is adversely affecting the resilience of the small-scale fleet. As a result, fishers are now enduring constant struggles to retain their livelihoods, and feel incapable of changing their destiny. They have become overly fragmented and disempowered to an extent that they are unable to engage in collective action to revert their situation.  

In this regard, I would say that the biggest challenge, and potentially, the only hope for the sustainability of the small-scale fleet, is to get the fishers organized and empowered to become more involved in securing their livelihoods through transparent decision-making. This trajectory, which ought to be embedded in good governance principles, would ease the ongoing crisis of inequity, distributive injustice, and marginalization in a way that safeguards the continuation of the small-scale fishing communities. The starting point for this could be the implementation of the FAO SSF Guidelines for these provide the right guidance upon which the rejuvenation of the small-scale fisheries can take shape.

Ratana Chuenpagdee's picture

Ratana Chuenpagdee replied:

Many thanks, Alicia, for providing us a great example from Malta, with vivid details about what small-scale fisheries communities are going through. I won’t be surprised if similar things are happing in other places as well. We always hear stories about how small-scale fisheries are being displaced, due for the most part to policy and regulatory changes, which restrict their access to the resources and affect their ability to have viable livelihoods. Other factors add to the challenges, including globalized markets and environmental variability. Considering too that many small-scale fisheries are already marginalized (geographically, economically and politically), there is certainly an urgent need to do something to rectify the situation.

I agree with your suggestion about the need for small-scale fishers to be more organized and empowered to participate in decision-making. But proper mechanisms are required to enable that, taking into consideration that the particular conditions that small-scale fishing people are in. I was reminded the other day how small-scale fishers are already doing a lot, from catching the fish, to processing and selling the catches, repairing gears, etc. Won’t it be nice if the governments were to do a good job at managing the fisheries, by following the principles outlined in the SSF Guidelines, so that we don’t have to bother small-scale fishing people too much?

Ratana Chuenpagdee's picture

Ratana Chuenpagdee said:

Welcome to the online forum on Partnership Dialogue 4, "Making Fisheries Sustainable," in advance of the SDG-14 Ocean Conference that will take place in June of this year. We are very pleased to be moderating this discussion and look forward to hearing from you - governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, NGOs, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, private sector, philanthropic organizations and other stakeholders.

In particular, we're interested in receiving contributions on how the global community can achieve Target 14.b: Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.

To help guide and structure the conversation we've proposed the following three questions:

1.     What are the challenges faced in your community, country or region, or from the perspective or your organization, in achieving Target 14.b?

2.     What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.b?

3.     Please share below any innovative partnerships aimed at achieving Targets 14.b - existing or proposed - that you are aware of or involved in that can be highlighted at the June Ocean Conference and can advance effective actions from local to global levels.

This forum will remain open until 7 April. Summaries of the responses will be compiled at the end of the discussion period and posted on the platform.

Your voice matters!  Make it count as the global community converges in June 2017 to commit to action to realize Sustainable Development Goal 14 to sustain Life Below Water for us and our future generations!

But of course, Target 14.b is very much about "Life Above Water." So let's discuss what we need to do to sustain both!