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African Journal of Marine Science

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Sustainability and present-day approaches to fisheries management — are the two concepts irreconcilable?

GM Pilling, AIL Payne

Abstract


Sustainability may be defined as the maintenance of the quality, diversity and availability of fishery resources in sufficient quantities for present and future generations. But how do modern management systems aim to achieve this in the face of natural fluctuations and human-induced pressures? Using four case study fisheries (northern Atlantic cod and North Sea cod [both Gadus morhua], Pacific sablefish Anoplopoma fimbria, and South African West Coast lobster Jasus lalandii), we examine the components and considerations used in the development of management systems. Historically, these considerations have been biologybased, incorporating reference points appropriate for management goals or targets. Following some quite spectacular failures, however, inputs from disciplines such as socio-economics and ecosystem science are increasingly important drivers behind management decisions, but have the potential to increase management complexity greatly. We identify three areas of particular importance. Precautionary, robust and responsive management is needed, with pre-agreed actions to be taken when particular conditions are experienced. Management decisions need to be based upon adequate scientific information, particularly given the increasing variety of drivers for management. Finally, fisheries management needs to be a collaborative process, involving all stakeholders, thereby raising the credibility of management for all participants. Integrating all these aspects within the fisheries management framework is complex, but when combined with the realisation that harvests are likely to be lower than historical levels, there appears to be a greater chance of successful sustainable exploitation.

Keywords: fisheries management, precautionary approach, sustainability

African Journal of Marine Science 2008, 30(1): 1–10



http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/AJMS.2008.30.1.1.446
AJOL African Journals Online