Minimizing illegal fishing is of paramount importance for fisheries sustainability. The present study focused on the fisheries infringements through the analysis of the official records in one of the largest Mediterranean lagoons, Mesolonghi-Etolikon, and the analysis of questionnaires answered by local fishermen to determine the true effectiveness of the control efforts. This double analysis represents a valuable case study for determining illegal fisheries practices, status of control, and efficacy of regulations. Results exhibited that: (a) the high contribution of the recorded infringements was due to absence of fishermen/vessel licenses, (b) fines are not proportionate with the type of illegal activity, and (c) the number of the recorded infringements represented a very small percentage of the estimated number of fishing days conducted by both professional fishermen and people not having fishing/vessel license. Findings indicated a situation with great presence of illegality that might completely weak any possibility for assessing the status of fisheries and resources and seriously hamper any definition of thresholds useful for sustainable management. Solutions are discussed especially in the light of revision of regulations and of transparency in the decision-making process.
Due to the ambiguity of international law in this area, taking action against vessels without nationality on the high seas has been inherently problematic. In recent years, however, a number of legal developments have emerged in the international fisheries sphere, designed to address this uncertainty. This article considers the ambiguity in this area, describes recent legal developments and contemplates their impact on the law, including their potential to contribute to the development of a new customary norm, or represent evidence of an international legal and political consensus on existing law. It considers the likelihood that these recent developments, whatever their precise legal effect, will facilitate the international community’s efforts in combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing into the future.
Non-compliance with fishing regulations can undermine management effectiveness. Previous bivariate approaches were unable to untangle the complex mix of factors that may influence fishers’ compliance decisions, including enforcement, moral norms, perceived legitimacy of regulations and the behaviour of others. We compared seven multivariate behavioural models of fisher compliance decisions using structural equation modeling. An online survey of over 300 recreational fishers tested the ability of each model to best predict their compliance with two fishing regulations (daily and size limits). The best fitting model for both regulations was composed solely of psycho-social factors, with social norms having the greatest influence on fishers’ compliance behaviour. Fishers’ attitude also directly affected compliance with size limit, but to a lesser extent. On the basis of these findings, we suggest behavioural interventions to target social norms instead of increasing enforcement for the focal regulations in the recreational blue cod fishery in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. These interventions could include articles in local newspapers and fishing magazines highlighting the extent of regulation compliance as well as using respected local fishers to emphasize the benefits of compliance through public meetings or letters to the editor. Our methodological approach can be broadly applied by natural resource managers as an effective tool to identify drivers of compliance that can then guide the design of interventions to decrease illegal resource use.
Oceana, in partnership with Google and SkyTruth, has developed Global Fishing Watch, a public, web- based technology platform that will track global fishing activity and be used to improve transparency and traceability in the world’s fishing industry. It will allow scientists to study the interactions between fishing and ocean processes, help governments better manage fish stocks and enforce policies aimed at rebuilding their fisheries, and provide citizens, NGOs and activists with the information they need to hold governments and fisheries management organizations accountable for responsible fisheries management practices. Oceana and its partners released the Global Fishing Watch prototype in late 2014, and are now developing a version for public release.
Effective enforcement can reduce the impacts of illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, resulting in numerous economic, ecological, and social benefits. However, resource managers in small-scale fisheries often lack the expertise and financial resources required to design and implement an effective enforcement system. Here, a bio-economic model is developed to investigate optimal levels of fishery enforcement and financing mechanisms available to recover costs of enforcement. The model is parameterized to represent a small-scale Caribbean lobster fishery, and optimal fishery enforcement levels for three different stakeholder archetypes are considered: (1) a fishing industry only; (2) a dive tourism industry only; and (3) fishing and dive tourism industries. For the illustrative small-scale fishery presented, the optimal level of fishery enforcement decreases with increasing levels of biomass, and is higher when a dive tourism industry is present. Results also indicate that costs of fisheries enforcement can be recovered through a suite of financing mechanisms. However, the timescale over which financing becomes sustainable will depend largely on the current status of the fishery resource. This study may serve as a framework that can be used by resource managers to help design and finance economically optimal fisheries enforcement systems.
Tropical marine molluscs are traded globally. Larger species with slow life histories are under threat from over-exploitation. We report on the trade in protected marine mollusc shells in and from Java and Bali, Indonesia. Since 1987 twelve species of marine molluscs are protected under Indonesian law to shield them from overexploitation. Despite this protection they are traded openly in large volumes.
We collected data on species composition, origins, volumes and prices at two large open markets (2013), collected data from wholesale traders (2013), and compiled seizure data by the Indonesian authorities (2008–2013). All twelve protected species were observed in trade. Smaller species were traded for <USD1.00 whereas prices of larger species were USD15.00–40.00 with clear price-size relationships. Some shells were collected locally in Java and Bali, but the trade involves networks stretching hundreds of kilometres throughout Indonesia. Wholesale traders offer protected marine mollusc shells for the export market by the container or by the metric ton. Data from 20 confiscated shipments show an on-going trade in these molluscs. Over 42,000 shells were seized over a 5-year period, with a retail value of USD700,000 within Indonesia; horned helmet (Cassis cornuta) (>32,000 shells valued at USD500,000), chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) (>3,000 shells, USD60,000) and giant clams (Tridacna spp.) (>2,000 shells, USD45,000) were traded in largest volumes. Two-thirds of this trade was destined for international markets, including in the USA and Asia-Pacific region.
We demonstrated that the trade in protected marine mollusc shells in Indonesia is not controlled nor monitored, that it involves large volumes, and that networks of shell collectors, traders, middlemen and exporters span the globe. This impedes protection of these species on the ground and calls into question the effectiveness of protected species management in Indonesia; solutions are unlikely to be found only in Indonesia and must involve the cooperation of importing countries.
Effective conservation depends largely on people’s compliance with regulations. We investigate compliance through the lens of fishers’ compliance with marine protected areas (MPAs). MPAs are widely used tools for marine conservation and fisheries management. Studies show that compliance alone is a strong predictor of fish biomass within MPAs. Hence, fishers’ compliance is critical for MPA effectiveness. However, there are few empirical studies showing what factors influence fishers’ compliance with MPAs. Without such information, conservation planners and managers have limited opportunities to provide effective interventions. By studying 12 MPAs in a developing country (Costa Rica), we demonstrate the role that different variables have on fishers’ compliance with MPAs. Particularly, we found that compliance levels perceived by resource users were higher in MPAs (1) with multiple livelihoods, (2) where government efforts against illegal fishing were effective, (3) where fishing was allowed but regulated, (4) where people were more involved in decisions, and (5) that were smaller. We also provide a novel and practical measure of compliance: a compound variable formed by the number illegal fishers and their illegal fishing effort. Our study underlines the centrality of people’s behavior in nature conservation and the importance of grounding decision making on the social and institutional realities of each location.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly employed worldwide to conserve marine resources. However, information on the role of governance mechanisms, in particular those associated with compliance, in shaping ecological condition inside MPAs at the regional scale remains deficient. An exploratory data analysis was conducted to evaluate links between strategies used to promote compliance with MPA regulations (e.g. incentives and penalties) and indicators of ecological condition, including biomass and density of commercial fish species, fish functional groups and coral cover in 21 MPAs across 13 different countries and territories in the greater Caribbean region. The strategies used to promote compliance with MPA regulations were correlated with indicators of ecological condition. For example, MPAs in which a larger number of incentives and penalties are present in the governance system are associated with higher commercial fish biomass and density as compared to those with fewer penalties and incentives available to promote compliance. Although most MPAs in the greater Caribbean use penalties to enforce compliance, these results suggest incentives may also be an important governance strategy for ensuring efficacy of protected areas in conserving key species. Alternatively, the presence of a high number of penalties and incentives in governance systems may also be indicative of greater state capacity and political will in these MPAs resulting in better managed MPAs. Further research is necessary to evaluate results of the exploratory data analysis presented in this study with a more in depth analysis of the de facto use of the regulations evaluated and their efficacy. Multi-country comparisons of MPA governance and ecological indicators can help policy and decision makers maintain MPAs that most effectively achieve MPA conservation objectives.
A simple bioeconomic leader-follower model was constructed to simulate snapper (family Lutjanidae) and grouper (family Serranidae) fisheries in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, an area of significant coral and fish biodiversity. We developed a leader-follower game, wherein the Regency government as the leader chooses an enforcement model to discourage illegal fishing. Fishers are then given a choice to fish using legal gears, such as handlines, or to fish with illegal gears, e.g. dynamite (for snapper) or cyanide (for grouper). Given prices and costs of legal and illegal fishing, the status quo simulations with no Regency enforcement result in a large amount of illegal catch throughout the 50 yr simulation, which agrees with expert opinion that destructive illegal fishing is occurring in the region. In an attempt to include ecosystem-based management principles into Raja Ampat governance, we introduce an enforcement regime in the form of detecting and punishing illegal fishing. Results suggest that current fishing practices do not account for the disproportionate ecosystem effects of destructive fishing, and that elimination of dynamite fishing may be easier for the government due to the high profitability of the live fish trade connected with cyanide fishing.
Measuring the ‘level of compliance’ has emerged as a key performance indicator for MPA success internationally. Accurate interpretation of quantitative and qualitative compliance data is critical for determining which compliance activities contribute to specific management outcomes. To demonstrate the value of enforcement data in effective MPA management, more than 5000 enforcement actions from 2007 to 2013 from five New South Wales (NSW) Marine Parks were analysed. Specifically, it was tested whether through time: (i) the number of enforcement actions standardised by surveillance effort declined-indicating that ‘general deterrence’ was being achieved; (ii) the number of repeat offenders decreased-indicating that ‘specific deterrence’ was being achieved; (iii) the number of ‘local community’ enforcement actions standardised by surveillance effort declined-indicating growing support for marine parks was being achieved at the community level; and (iv) the percentage of young offenders (<25 yr) had declined-indicating that education programs targeting young adults were successful. Results indicated that general deterrence was not being achieved, with offence rates being relatively stable between years. In contrast, compliance measures were achieving individual deterrence, with the percentage of repeat offenders being very low (0.13–0.83%). Although compliance strategies may be making some progress in improving local compliance in some marine parks, the overall offence rate of local communities was concerning. The data suggested that there were major differences in compliance rates among age groups of offenders over time, although the percentage of young offenders declined over time in three marine parks. Over the six-year data collection period, there was no discernable improvement in compliance rates in most NSW Marine Parks. Overall, the significant value of collecting and analysing information on enforcement activities for MPAs was demonstrated, an often neglected aspect of their management world-wide.