Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Stakeholder groups: the next step in ensuring sustainable fisheries development

Jacques Cousteau said " We must plant the sea and herd its animals … using the sea as farmers instead of hunters. That is what civilization is all about — farming replacing hunting. Farming as we do it is hunting, and in the sea we act like barbarians." Interview (17 July 1971)

Since I read that quote in Stewart Brands Book Wh*** Earth Discipline, I have been thinking a lot about the sea and the over fishing that we do to it. When I was reviewing the CBNRM list, this one - Stakeholder groups: the next step in ensuring sustainable fisheries... caught my eye.

From exploring this report, the main point one takes away is the same as John Kasaona - give people a stake in the wildlife around them (in this case the fish schools off the coasts of New Zealand) and they will find the best way to manage them. With the introduction of ITQ's (Individual transferable Quotas) Fishers gleamed a new sense of ownership and respect for there catch, with the creation of Stakeholder groups, the fisher groups learned how to work together to care for a catch.

One need only see the positive outcomes:

The outcomes outlined below are based on interviews with Company directors (quota holders) and comments from policy analysts from the Ministry of Fisheries.

Fisher perceptions:

Positive outcomes from being in a stakeholder grouping, from the fishers’ perspectives are:

  • strong support from quota holders/fishers
  • a professionally managed company/stakeholder group
  • employment maintained directly in fishing and processing
  • increased accountability
  • more certainty with less government interference
  • increased focus on sustainable management
  • ability to fund and undertake their own research
  • ability to develop own management regime, e.g. rotational harvesting,
  • ability to self police their ‘own’ rules
  • ability to negotiate directly with other users, e.g. recreational and tourism based
  • improved awareness and accountability for environmental matters.

this report was sent in 1998, since then new Zealand fishers have become the model of sustainability.

Further esearch shows :

The Common Fisheries Policy: A Sinking Ship

Roger Bate
The Wall Street Journal
"This time, however, European bureaucrats did not have the floor to themselves. They encountered market advocates from New Zealand, Australia, Iceland and North America demanding the removal of the "welfare fishing" provisions of the CFP. They pointed out that fishing is no longer a viable industry in Europe, while the CFP is simply a political means of propping up failing communities. In its place, they proposed something called the individual tradable (catch) quota, or ITQ.

The system, which already operates in New Zealand, Iceland and the Philippines, sets a limit on the total allowable catch of any fish (such as the New Zealand orange roughy). Within that total catch, quotas are established, either by auction or by gift to inc**bent fishermen. These quotas are tradable among individual fishermen. This offers an escape clause for some fishermen who no longer operate economically. It encourages more successful fishermen to buy fishing rights and exercise their property rights responsibly by fishing within their quota and monitoring others to make sure they do so as well. It also encourages brokers to speed up transactions and even allows environmentalists to enter the market and buy (and retire) quotas if they believe stocks are being overfished.

The success of this system is astonishing. In New Zealand the "value of the fisheries have doubled in recent years," says Roger Beattie, a fisherman from Christchurch. The value of Icelandic fisheries has also soared, according to studies by Hannes Gissuarson, an Iceland University political science professor. Perhaps more importantly, fishermen in both locations have voluntarily reduced their catch to ensure sufficient stocks to provide a future livelihood. "Because they have the property right to secure future benefit from the resource, they are prepared to wait -- to optimize their returns" says Mr. Gissuarson."

the New Zealand experience has been cited in the BNP report for the UK for 2010 as well.

All in all, the old saying rings true " give a persona fish, feed them for a day, teach a person to fish, feed them for a lifetime".



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