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Rights Based Fisheries Management

Oct 02,2007 SAC


Press Release
EAA, European Anglers Alliance
- 2 October 2007
Rights-Based Fisheries Management - EU Consultation

- Response by EAA, the European Anglers Alliance

 

For us as anglers we have a problem with the basic principle in Right Based Management (RBM) that some stakeholders are given 'ownership' or 'quasi rights' to parts of our common resource, the fish stocks, if this means that we as anglers are loosing rights. However, on this fundamental issue we won't debate at this time.

 

Globally marine capture fisheries are in transition from a paradigm of “it is not possible to over-exploit natural marine resources” to one of “it is not acceptable to overexploit natural marine resources”.

 

We doubt that RBM has anything positive to add to that paradigm shift. At least not as long as the EU and Member States are un-willing to allocate the necessary resources for some very needed accompanying measures like a dramatic increase in control and enforcement. On the contrary, one of the downsides of fishing rights -or quasi rights- to our common fish stocks is that effective fisheries management might become more difficult as if more disputes between managers and exploiters end up in Court. These tend to happen when managers propose, for conservation reasons, some necessary cuts in quotas. Commercial fishermen with the right to fish a certain quota, given for free when the management system was first put in place, or bought at a high price from another commercial fisherman/company, most often won't agree such a cut and might ask the Court's help to 'regain' his 'right' to fish up the full quota and/or to be compensated for his 'losses'.

 

Our advice would be that any fisheries management scheme should try to secure that the managers can manage without resorting to the Courts to resolve disputes. There are several ways this can be achieved, which we shall not dwell on here but one of them is to set aside a buffer of quotas secured for the commons alongside the fishing quotas to be distributed among nations and their fishermen. Such an 'under-exploitation scheme' might be unwelcome by fishermen, for economic short term reasons, but 'under-exploitation' or closures will always be part of any restoration plan for a depleted fish stock.

 

By making 'under exploitation' the core principle in the fisheries management scheme the European fisheries management stands a much better chance of keeping safe the fish stocks and to restore depleted stocks at a faster rate as all the politics and haggle over quotas would be kept safely within the basic quota system. And if politics demand more than that, then the common owned buffer quota is the target without bringing at stake, as is the case now, the basic breading stock or the secure minimum level of bio-mass. Everything considered an 'under exploitation scheme' in Europe most likely is the scheme which will give the highest volume of fish bio-mass in the short, medium and long term, and produce the highest economic output in the medium and long term. If proper control and enforcement is put in place later then more sophisticated management measures might be able to push the output from this management regime further a step.

 

In June 2001 under the Swedish Presidency, Heads of State of the European Union agreed on the EU strategy for sustainable development, which included the 2010 target: 'biodiversity decline should be halted with the aim of reaching this objective by 2010'.

 

It is now 2007 and there doesn’t seem to be much progress on this.

 

To be truly sustainable any fisheries management system should include biodiversity among its objectives and measures but this is almost never the case. There is an urgent need for a change in fisheries management to cohere with biodiversity definitions and principles. One management objective should be to secure a more natural and healthy age structure in exploited fish stocks. There are far too few big fish around to secure marine biodiversity.

ENDS

--------------------

On behalf of the European Anglers Alliance

John Crudden, EAA's Subgroup Sea Sea Angling

EAA Board Member

-------------------

Note for editors:

Background information concerning the EU Commission's public consultation on Rights-Based Management (RBM) tools in fisheries can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/governance/consultations/consultation_260207_en.htm

The Commission will sum up the debate and assess the need for follow-up at Community and national levels in 2008.

EAA is the only pan-European organisation in existence defending the recreational anglers' interest at the European level and beyond.

EAA represents national angling organisations in 11 European countries representing around 3 mill affiliated anglers.

Europe has some 25 million anglers. They generate a socio-economic value of estimated 25 billion euros every year. 

 

---------------

Jan Kappel,
Secretary General


EAA, the European Anglers Alliance

Tel:  32 (0)2 286 5956
Fax: 32 (0)2 286 5958

E-mail: email@eaa-europe.org
Web:   www.eaa-europe.org

Office:
47 Rue du Luxembourg
B-1050        Brussels
Belgium

Rights-Based Fisheries Management - EU Consultation

- Response by EAA, the European Anglers Alliance

 

For us as anglers we have a problem with the basic principle in Right Based Management (RBM) that some stakeholders are given 'ownership' or 'quasi rights' to parts of our common resource, the fish stocks, if this means that we as anglers are loosing rights. However, on this fundamental issue we won't debate at this time.

 

Globally marine capture fisheries are in transition from a paradigm of “it is not possible to over-exploit natural marine resources” to one of “it is not acceptable to overexploit natural marine resources”.

 

We doubt that RBM has anything positive to add to that paradigm shift. At least not as long as the EU and Member States are un-willing to allocate the necessary resources for some very needed accompanying measures like a dramatic increase in control and enforcement. On the contrary, one of the downsides of fishing rights -or quasi rights- to our common fish stocks is that effective fisheries management might become more difficult as if more disputes between managers and exploiters end up in Court. These tend to happen when managers propose, for conservation reasons, some necessary cuts in quotas. Commercial fishermen with the right to fish a certain quota, given for free when the management system was first put in place, or bought at a high price from another commercial fisherman/company, most often won't agree such a cut and might ask the Court's help to 'regain' his 'right' to fish up the full quota and/or to be compensated for his 'losses'.

 

Our advice would be that any fisheries management scheme should try to secure that the managers can manage without resorting to the Courts to resolve disputes. There are several ways this can be achieved, which we shall not dwell on here but one of them is to set aside a buffer of quotas secured for the commons alongside the fishing quotas to be distributed among nations and their fishermen. Such an 'under-exploitation scheme' might be unwelcome by fishermen, for economic short term reasons, but 'under-exploitation' or closures will always be part of any restoration plan for a depleted fish stock.

 

By making 'under exploitation' the core principle in the fisheries management scheme the European fisheries management stands a much better chance of keeping safe the fish stocks and to restore depleted stocks at a faster rate as all the politics and haggle over quotas would be kept safely within the basic quota system. And if politics demand more than that, then the common owned buffer quota is the target without bringing at stake, as is the case now, the basic breading stock or the secure minimum level of bio-mass. Everything considered an 'under exploitation scheme' in Europe most likely is the scheme which will give the highest volume of fish bio-mass in the short, medium and long term, and produce the highest economic output in the medium and long term. If proper control and enforcement is put in place later then more sophisticated management measures might be able to push the output from this management regime further a step.

 

In June 2001 under the Swedish Presidency, Heads of State of the European Union agreed on the EU strategy for sustainable development, which included the 2010 target: 'biodiversity decline should be halted with the aim of reaching this objective by 2010'.

 

It is now 2007 and there doesn’t seem to be much progress on this.

 

To be truly sustainable any fisheries management system should include biodiversity among its objectives and measures but this is almost never the case. There is an urgent need for a change in fisheries management to cohere with biodiversity definitions and principles. One management objective should be to secure a more natural and healthy age structure in exploited fish stocks. There are far too few big fish around to secure marine biodiversity.

ENDS

--------------------

On behalf of the European Anglers Alliance

John Crudden, EAA's Subgroup Sea Sea Angling

EAA Board Member

-------------------

Note for editors:

Background information concerning the EU Commission's public consultation on Rights-Based Management (RBM) tools in fisheries can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/governance/consultations/consultation_260207_en.htm

The Commission will sum up the debate and assess the need for follow-up at Community and national levels in 2008.

EAA is the only pan-European organisation in existence defending the recreational anglers' interest at the European level and beyond.

EAA represents national angling organisations in 11 European countries representing around 3 mill affiliated anglers.

Europe has some 25 million anglers. They generate a socio-economic value of estimated 25 billion euros every year. 

 

---------------

Jan Kappel,
Secretary General


EAA, the European Anglers Alliance

Tel:  32 (0)2 286 5956
Fax: 32 (0)2 286 5958

E-mail: email@eaa-europe.org
Web:   www.eaa-europe.org

Office:
47 Rue du Luxembourg
B-1050        Brussels
Belgium



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