Programme: FP7-KBBE - Specific Programme "Cooperation": Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology
The States have the obligation of assuring the sustainability of the fishery resources they exploit and being actively involved in encouraging responsible fishing based on scientific research. With this in mind, the fundamental purpose of the TXOTX project is to facilitate a coherent scientific research approach on world’s oceans fisheries to support policy-making at international level, directed at the assessment and management of resources sustainably, putting the focus on research and funding. Hence, the actions proposed should be coherent with the main international agreements in these matters (UNCLOS, CCRF, UNIA, CMDS). During the project lifetime, the Consortium will carry out four main tasks, for whose completion, the cooperation with States, Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and other relevant agencies will be required. Firstly, the project will collate the greatest information possible on scientific research programs, and Fisheries Partnership agreements from different world’s oceans regions. In particular, the project will focus on those regions where the European fleet is fishing, or the EU has important development goals – with special emphasis on Caribean-Pacific and African zones. Secondly, the project will analyse available data and methodologies applied in the regional assessment and management procedures, in order to identify gaps in the collection of data and in the coordination of research. Thirdly, based on the identified gaps, the project will draw up recommendations on how to improve cooperation with third parties oriented towards enhancing research which will ensure the sustainability of the resources. Finally, the TXOTX Consortium proposes to build a network of scientists and rest of stakeholders – including the general public, in countries with a strategic geographical interest for the EU, to produce a synthesis of data collection standards, assessment methods and management procedures which will be disseminated to achieve the objectives above.
Keywords: Fisheries, fisheries management, sustainability, fisheries research
Risk, vulnerability and resilience
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Fishing and aquaculture
Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine maritime and inland water research and bioeconomy
REVIEW OF MANAGEMENT AREAS. This work-package delivered a description of current data collection programmes and existing researcher-led coordination and linkages and collaboration at the regional and international levels. Special emphasis was given to data collection and analysis; dissemination of results and management systems carried out for scientific advice in support to fisheries management in regions where EU has fishery interests. Research and data needs in the wider ocean areas were considered in detail in 3 key review areas (Tuna RFMOs, non-tuna RFMOs and Countries). These areas represent those which the Consortium identified as best covering the areas of specific interest to the EU fishing activities. Review reports generated during this WP were desk studies, completed by contacting key players in the various regions, such as RFMOs, RFOs, other regional bodies, FAO, the Commission, Regional Advisory Councils (RACs), individual Member States research organizations known to be conducting research within a region, individual research scientists, key non-Member States research organizations and other research bodies including conservation organizations. Information was collected through a number of approaches. The primary mechanism was the use of structured questionnaires designed to collect the required information on all potential issues identified. Wherever possible the questionnaires were not sent cold, they were applied in structured face-to-face interviews with relevant key members of the contacted bodies, although some preferred to complete them either in plenary sessions or with remote support from the TXOTX project team. Information from questionnaires was supplemented through web searches, which in many cases were used prior to sending the questionnaire to an RFMO, to provide a basis for their consideration. Following completion of questionnaires, the project team synthesised the collected information into summary documents, to summarise and highlight the key findings and perceived strengths and weaknesses within RFMO and country processes. These summary documents were in turn used to create a review report for each key area (Tuna RFMO, non-Tuna RFMO and Countries).----------------------------- ACROSS REGIONS REVIEW. This work package took the specific (local and regional) information gained through the data collection exercises and interviews performed under WP2, and peer reviewed the outputs during a succession of stakeholder/expert workshops. This was necessary to quality control the information in order to ensure that it was appropriate for the analyses and outputs required from the project. This quality control was in addition to the key contacted persons interviews undertaken within WP2, and had the added value of including the more generic knowledge of a wide range of experienced scientists, managers and stakeholders on specific processes as well as specific regions. Following an initial expert panel review, these narrative descriptions were organised into broad topic areas in an Inventory of Information. The information was structured in various tables covering different case studies, such as: • Matrix 1 Tuna RFMOs: WCPFC, ICCAT, CCBST, IATTC, IOTC • Matrix 2 Non-Tuna RFMOs: IWC, NAMMCO, CCAMLR and NASCO • Matrix 3 Non-Tuna RFMOs: NEAFC, NAFO, SEAFO and GFCM • Matrix 4 Scientific Advisory Bodies: ICES and STECF • Matrix 5 West African Countries 1 • Matrix 6 West African Countries 2 • Matrix 7 Indian Ocean Countries • Matrix 8 South Pacific Countries • Matrix 9 North Atlantic Countries. The information from that inventory was applied firstly in the form of GAP analysis and then by compiling SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat) style matrices to identify commonalities and gaps between the management bodies within each area (tuna-RFMO, non- tuna RFMO and Countries). The matrix structure facilitates, through a series of tables, further analysis enabling contrast and comparison of strengths and weaknesses between groups within each topic. These matrices were presented to key experts at workshops held in London in February and November 2010 for comment and refinement. As a result, comprehensive matrices detailing similarities and gaps and also strengths and weaknesses were produced, providing the structured analysis that fed directly into WP4.
Based on information obtained through the extensive data collection mechanisms described above and the expert feedback the following examples and advice regarding best practice for Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and, where possible, National Management bodies in relation to current research mechanisms, collaboration and coordination of research in support of scientific management advice were developed. The “best practice” term is used here as a “method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved by other means, and that can be considered a “benchmark”. However, defining best practice is not an easy process and in several circumstances, what may be good practice in one situation may not be as crucial or applicable for another. In the specific case of tuna RFMOs, in general they share many common issues and thus a list of best practices for this particular type of RFMO can draw upon these commonalities. The list of recommendations provided below address some of the observations made by Lodge et al. (2007) and represents the data collected during this study along with expert opinion and observations. In these cases the recommendations stem from observed examples of best practice already being carried out by one or more RFMOs. At this point it is important to note that this is not a performance review of any RFMO. The examples provided illustrate a point, and in many cases, equally suitable examples could have been obtained from a number of other RFMOs. It must be pointed out as well that although the examples mentioned below are labeled “best practices”, as this is common terminology in reviews such as is conducted here, they refer rather to cases of “good practice” that are already being conducted. There is always room for improvement in terms of fisheries research and management, and so to label these examples as the “best” may be a little misleading. Also, based on these examples, recommendations for improvements were suggested and, thus, they can be considered as good practice leading to the identification of better practice. They form a guideline of how RFMOs and Fisheries Management Bodies are responding to the challenges required for sound fisheries science and management. -Where funding and time permits, all scientific outputs should be peer reviewed. -Adoption of Harvest control Rules with simulation texting using Management Strategy Evaluations -Ensure adequate observer data with sufficient coverage -Improved management for species not directly covered under RFMO conventions (of particular concern, shark species) -Research for inclusion of target & limit reference points in species management -Development of short, medium and long term scientific research plans -Fisheries independent data are crucial for provision of scientific advice for management. Tagging studies are recommended for tuna-RFMOs as providing a source of “relatively fishing independent” data. -Improved communication between Scientists and Managers. RFMO secretariats need to be strengthened to better coordinate communication and scientific initiatives. -Coordination at a regional level should be developed to address research and monitoring needs over large spatial scales and/or where there are multiple administrative boundaries. -Improved co-operation and co-ordination between regions and RFMOs. -Funding for large scale regional projects may be better co-ordinated and managed by RFMO secretariats (eg. Tagging projects). Centralised funds could be administered by the RFMO secretariat with the assistance of a dedicated Steering Committee. Contracting Parties contributing to the fund could recover contributions from the private sector. -Efforts should be made to improve operational communications and coordination between RFMOs possibly using MoUs -Methods for operationalising EAFM in terms of i] bycatch ii] negative impact on habitat iii] biological spp interactions and iv] the impacts of environmental change. -All stock assessments should be sufficiently transparent to be repeatable by interested scientists/institutes. -Research towards 100% Catch Utilisation -Focused research (and funding) to explore the application of effort controls in (i) RFMO context and (ii) for individual countries, and how to make these compatible.
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Recommendations on future research needs and topics
The recommendations on future research needs and topics were initially developed during the TXOTX workshop held in London in November 2011. Key experts present at the workshop provided feedback and guidance on an initial list of proposals and then more extensive discussions were held at the Final Expert Workshop, held in Bilbao, Spain, on the 12 and 13 May 2011. The latter workshop attended by scientists with diverse backgrounds enabled a more balanced identification of future priorities. During the workshop, breakout group discussions brainstormed future research needs as well as potential mechanisms and funding, after which these were discussed in plenary. The primary outcome of the Bilbao workshop was a set of 23 recommendations, the 20 initial recommendations pre- sented to the experts as well as four newly proposed suggestions by the expert panel (two of the initial recommendations were merged due to their similar nature). These are listed below (note, recommendations 20, 21, 22 and 23 were the new recommendations created during the meeting). The initial recommendations presented to the participants at the 2011 Bilbao workshop were ranked according to priority. These are listed below: Recommendation 1: Fisheries Science Research Plans Recommendation 2: Harvest Control Rules Recommendation 3: Management of fishery impacts on non-target species Recommendation 4: Research for inclusion of targets & limits in species management Recommendation 5: Improve communication between scientists and managers Recommendation 6: Increase/improve research coordination and capacity building Recommendation 7: Ensure adequate observer data with sufficient coverage. Recommendation 8: Facilitate complete observer data availability to the science community for stock assessment and other scientific purposes. Recommendation 9: Pre-defined management processes should be in place to ensure that overall removals set by decision makers do not exceed those provided by robust scientific advice and in line with adopted HCRs. Recommendation 10: Working groups between RFMOs, regardless of type, and fisheries science bodies should be developed to address specific common issues Recommendation 11: Focused research (and funding) to explore the application of effort controls in (i) RFMO context and (ii) for individual countries, and how to make these compatible. Recommendation 12: Coordination at a regional level with centralised funding should be developed to address research and monitoring needs over large spatial scales and/or where there are multiple administrative boundaries. Recommendation 13: All stock assessments should be sufficiently transparent to be repeatable by interested scientists/institutes. Recommendation 14: The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) needs to be operationalised, including for example management of by-catch, impacts on habitat and ecosystem function, biological species interactions and the impacts of environmental change. Recommendation 15: Where funding and time permits all scientific outputs should be peer reviewed. Recommendation 16: Integrate and cross validate/check fishery data sources. Recommendation 17: Stock management unit definitions should have a biological basis and where biological information is lacking, the relevant research should be conducted to enable biological stock delineation. Recommendation 18: Improve communication and collaboration between RFMOs. Recommendation 19: RFMOs need to increase their capacity to address socio- and bio-economic issues in fisheries management. This may require research to develop appropriate tools (e.g. models) and data to support the use of those tools. Recommendation 20: Science underpinning management has to be of long duration to create significant time series. Recommendation 21: Countries should agree minimum terms and conditions for the provision of data by vessels fishing under RFMOs (applicable across all RFMOs). Recommendation 22: RFMOs should have a management and monitoring mechanism in place for new fisheries. Such management should be precautionary until information is available on resource size and sustainable levels of exploitation. Recommendation 23: Research is needed towards facilitating 100% utilization of catches.
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Recommendations for how regional collaborative and coordination networks within third countries should be established or improved and their most efficient format
1. Literature reviews and direct feedback from relevant experts point out the need to develop effective collaboration on research issues within/among RFMOs and other RFBs. Such collaborative processes require taking into account institutional, technical and financial issues.-------------------------- 2. Collaboration in research and data gathering and exchange is, in many cases, the basis of broader collaboration in management of shared stocks. Major international instruments such as UNCLOS, FAO Code of Conduct and UNFSA advocate collaboration in research through exchange of relevant and available data. -------------------------- 3. Collaborative and coordinated networking is usually established between parties (e.g. RFMOs, CPCs) through memoranda of understanding, agreements, within FAO’s biennial Regional Fishery Body Secretariat Network – RSN, within the Kobe process in the case of tuna RFMOs, or even without formal arrangements. Organisations devoted per se to enhance collaboration and coordination in fisheries research needs are scarce (e.g. EFARO). The development of detailed Scientific Research Plans (SRPs), within a given RFMO/RFO, may provide a good basis for coordination and collaboration since all needs will be listed and ranked according to priority. -------------------------- 4. Considerable institutional capacity building is required to undertake data collection, biological studies and stock assessment tasks. RFMOs that have built sufficient capacity to undertake scientific tasks may be the institutions best placed to carry out more global capacity building. -------------------------- 5. International experiences show how research institutes can be organised to form dedicated associations that permit the better coordination of national efforts by establishing priorities on research to back up management. Temporal central coordination can also be provided by large projects that can in turn provide opportunities for research initiatives such as complementary research projects or programs (e.g. tagging programs). -------------------------- 6. In the absence of RFMOs, other fishing regional bodies may also play a role in enhancing collaboration and coordination. For example, the Sub-Regional Fishery Commission (SRFC) have promoted coordination on MCS in West Africa, which is a region lacking a RFMO. -------------------------- 7. Collaboration shall also be enhanced in areas where fisheries regional bodies already exist, such as data collection but also emerging needs such as ecosystem-based management (with special regards to bycatch and discard issues). These issues require close collaboration between organisations of a different nature such as tuna and non-tuna RFMOs. This can be seen in the Pacific where the recently created SPRFMO will manage species that tunas feed on, hence requiring close relations with tuna RFMOs such as WCPFC and IATTC. -------------------------- 8. Enhanced collaboration and coordination may allow interested parties to address common needs, optimising the use of funds. In the context of the EU, for example, there is collaboration in marine research matters amongst different research institutes but there is virtually no collaboration at a funding level. The project MARIFISH shows that it is feasible to launch a regional project that coordinates diverse national research efforts and that can in turn be encompassed by subsidiary research activities. -------------------------- 9. The use of centralised coordination of scientific initiatives may also require the centralization of funding. In that case, the central body should accurately identify the sources of funding, considering non-traditional funding (e.g. GEF, NGOs and indus- try). Again, SRPs may facilitate the identification of research needs and quantification of the funds required ranking them in terms of priority.