In July 2015, Scotland became one of the first countries to sign up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which, unlike their forerunner the Millennium Development Goals, are not restricted to developing nations. Their respective targets should drive policy decisions for Scottish fisheries, in keeping with the universal intent of the new goals. This paper explores the relevance of SDG 14 to the Scottish fishing industry, noting that there are a number of linkages with other goals and targets that should be considered within management frameworks. Scottish fishing has a long history, but the size of the inshore fleet has seen decline in recent decades, particularly of small-scale fishers in rural communities. Available literature was reviewed and a survey of active Scottish fishers conducted to explore the current availability and equality of distribution of benefits from ecosystem services to Scottish fisheries, and the factors that affect them. The findings suggest that benefits may not currently be equally distributed across Scottish fisheries; this is largely sector dependent and driven by market forces, but also relates to gaps in current management and monitoring systems. Furthermore, the potential benefits to fisheries of marine protected areas (MPAs) established for conservation purposes are not adequately assessed as part of their design, which may result in less support from fisheries stakeholders and reduce the benefit to ecosystem services. It concludes with some recommendations for consideration by decision-makers to improve how fishing businesses and communities could benefit more from ecosystem services whilst operating within environmental limits.
Fisheries and Fisheries Management
Future impacts of climate change on marine fisheries have the potential to negatively influence a wide range of socio-economic factors, including food security, livelihoods and public health, and even to reshape development trajectories and spark transboundary conflict. Yet there is considerable variability in the vulnerability of countries around the world to these effects. We calculate a vulnerability index of 147 countries by drawing on the most recent data related to the impacts of climate change on marine fisheries. Building on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change framework for vulnerability, we first construct aggregate indices for exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity using 12 primary variables. Seven out of the ten most vulnerable countries on the resulting index are Small Island Developing States, and the top quartile of the index includes countries located in Africa (17), Asia (7), North America and the Caribbean (4) and Oceania (8). More than 87% of least developed countries are found within the top half of the vulnerability index, while the bottom half includes all but one of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member states. This is primarily due to the tremendous variation in countries’ adaptive capacity, as no such trends are evident from the exposure or sensitivity indices. A negative correlation exists between vulnerability and per capita carbon emissions, and the clustering of states at different levels of development across the vulnerability index suggests growing barriers to meeting global commitments to reducing inequality, promoting human well-being and ensuring sustainable cities and communities. The index provides a useful tool for prioritizing the allocation of climate finance, as well as activities aimed at capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.
The Northeast Arctic cod (Gadus morhua L.: NEAC) remains the most abundant cod stock in the North Atlantic, while the catches of the partially co-occurring Norwegian coastal cod (NCC) stocks have dramatically decreased in recent years. To ensure effective management of the two stocks, it is necessary to know if the population genetic structure is associated with any pattern in the spatial dynamics or whether it is affected by any distinct environmental factors. By combining information from electronic data storage tags (DST) and molecular genetics methods with statistical tools, we have been able to associate spatial dynamics and distinct environmental factors to the two cod stocks. In general, adult NEAC migrate between deep, warm overwintering grounds and shallow summer feeding grounds where water temperatures maybe low. In contrast, NCC do not undertake large-scale seasonal migrations, show little seasonal variation in depth distribution, and experience the opposite seasonal change in temperature compared with NEAC. However, within the NCC group, some individuals did conduct longer horizontal movements than others. Even though the distances calculated in this study represent the shortest distance between release and recapture positions, they are far higher than previously reported by NCC. Distinctive depth profiles indicate that this migrant NCC have moved out of the area, passing the deep trenches outside Lofoten while more stationary NCC occupies shallower depths throughout the year. The temperature profiles also indicate that migrant and stationary NCC has occupied different areas during the year. We demonstrate that the combination of information from DSTs and molecular genetics offers a deeper understanding of individual cod behaviour, provides an insight in the spatial dynamics of the species, and ultimately, improves the scientific basis for management of a complex mixed fishery of Atlantic cod.
Recent articles in high-profile journals advocating the widespread establishment of economic rights-based approaches for managing fisheries has re-kindled the debate over the efficacy of incentive-based vs. regulatory-based management approaches. Inspection of these works, written from the particular perspectives of economics, fisheries biology, or marine ecology, reveals that advocates of rights-based regimes such as Individual Transferrable Quotas are sometimes recommending these policy instruments for quite different reasons. Hence, the advantageous attributes of rights-based approaches from the perspective of one discipline may be quite different when seen from the perspective of another discipline. This is of concern as it exposes a tendency for particular disciplines to consider only the advantages of rights-based approaches, such as establishing a harvest cap, but to implicitly discount the disadvantages such as less attention being paid to critical ecological and ecosystem issues.
In 2011, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council implemented an individual transferrable quota (ITQ) system for the US West Coast groundfish trawl fleet. Under the ITQ system, each vessel now receives transferrable annual allocations of quota for 29 groundfish species, including target and bycatch species. Here we develop an ecosystem and fleet dynamics model to identify which components of an ITQ system are likely to drive responses in effort, target species catch, bycatch, and overall profitability. In the absence of penalties for discarding over-quota fish, ITQs lead to large increases in fishing effort and bycatch. The penalties fishermen expect for exceeding quota have the largest effect on fleet behaviour, capping effort and total bycatch. Quota prices for target or bycatch species have lesser impacts on fishing dynamics, even up to bycatch quota prices of $50 kg−1. Ports that overlap less with bycatch species can increase effort under individual quotas, while other ports decrease effort. Relative to a prior management system, ITQs with penalties for exceeding quotas lead to increased target species landings and lower bycatch, but with strong variation among species. The model illustrates how alternative fishery management policies affect profitability, sustainability and the ecosystem.
Individual transferable quotas (ITQs) are one of the property rights instruments that have been employed to improve economic efficiency in fisheries. ITQs are not high-quality property rights in the basic fundamental marine resources on which fisheries are based. As a result ITQs cannot be expected to generate full efficiency in the use of these resources. This article examines to what extent ITQs are capable of generating economic efficiency in fisheries. It is shown that ITQs can greatly improve efficiency in fishing. Moreover, by including recreational fishers in the system, ITQs can strike an efficient balance between commercial and recreational fishing. On the negative side, it is shown that on their own, ITQs are not capable of generating full efficiency in fisheries. In particular, ITQs are not sufficient for setting the socially optimal total allowable catch, ensuring the optimal use of the ecosystem, or harmonizing fishing with conflicting uses of marine resources such as marine tourism, mining, and conservation. Potentially counteracting these limitations, ITQ holders as a group have an incentive to manage overall ecosystem use for the long-term benefit of their fishery and negotiate the adjustment of their fishing activity toward the interests of conflicting uses of the marine resources.
New Zealand implemented a comprehensive management system using individual transferable quotas in 1986 that has been instrumental in guiding the roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities of fisheries science, fisheries management, and the fishing industry ever since. However, at the time of the initial design, a number of issues were not adequately considered. These relate mainly to the dynamic nature of fish stocks, multispecies considerations, and environmental and other externalities. Subsequent efforts to address these issues have been challenging and many are not yet fully resolved. The outcomes for fisheries science, stock status, multispecies management, ecosystem effects, and fishing industry accountability have been mixed, although mostly positive. Fisheries science, fisheries management, and the fishing industry have all become much more professionalized and their activities have been increasingly streamlined. New initiatives to further improve the system continue to be researched and implemented. Overall, we believe that the positives considerably outweigh the negatives. The initial design has proved to be a system that can be built upon. Comparing New Zealand with most of the rest of the world, key positive outcomes for preventing overfishing are the current lack of significant overcapacity in most fisheries, the development of biological reference points and a harvest strategy standard, the favourable stock status for the majority of stocks with known status, and the development and implementation of comprehensive risk assessments and management plans to protect seabirds and marine mammals.
Among the proposals for the 2012 revision of the EU Common Fisheries Policy, a strong case is made for the introduction of a system of rights-based management. The EU perceives individual fishing concessions as an important instrument for capacity management. We will use the introduction of individual tradable quotas in the management of the Dutch North Sea beam trawl fisheries as a case for exploring the effect of the introduction of such an instrument. The effect will be assessed in terms of reduction of fishing capacity in the Dutch beam trawl fleet and its economic and social impact. These Dutch experiences will be translated to the current debate on the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. Especially, we will focus on the issues of "relative stability", the concentration of rights, and the effects on the small-scale fisheries sector. Some of the negative effects associated with individual tradable rights can be addressed through design. However, trying to maintain stability and counter perceived negative impacts on fishing communities will modify the effect of introducing individual fishing concessions.
Successful individual transferable quota (ITQ) management requires a binding (constraining) total allowable catch (TAC). A non-binding TAC may result in a shift back towards open access conditions, where fishers increasingly compete (‘race’) to catch their share of the total harvest. This process was examined by comparing fishing fleet behaviour and profitability in the Tasmanian southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) fishery (TSRLF), Australia. Between 2008 and 2010, the TSRLF had a non-binding TAC and effectively reverted to a regulated, limited-entry fishery. Fishers' uncertainty about future profitability and their ability to take their allocated catch weakened the security characteristic of the ITQ allocation. The low quota lease price contributed to an increase in fleet capacity, while the more limited reduction in quota asset value proved an investment barrier, hindering the autonomous adjustment of quota towards the most efficient fishers. In the TSRLF, catch rates vary more than beach price and are therefore more important for determining daily revenue (i.e., price x catch rate) than market price. Consequently, fishers concentrated effort during times of higher catch rates rather than high market demand. This increased rent dissipation as fishers engaged in competitive race to fish to be the first to exploit the stock and obtain higher catch rates. The history of this fishery emphasizes the need for a constraining TAC in all ITQ fisheries, not only for stock management, but also to manage the security of the ITQ allocation and prevent unanticipated and undesirable changes in fisher behaviour and fishery profitability.
Atlantic Canadian fisheries policy exhibits a tension between competing objectives of economic efficiency, and of well-being and equity within coastal communities and small-scale fisheries. The struggle between different actors over these objectives has generated distinct forms of neoliberalism in different regions and fishing fleets. In the lobster fishery, the right to fish has been concentrated since limited-entry licensing policy was introduced in the 1980s. This paper examines actors and events at two scales, including Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 34 Advisory Committee meetings involving fishermen, representatives of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and other stakeholders, and broader scale strategies of the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation (CIFHF). A Foucauldian perspective aids in understanding how fisheries governance is the product of struggles between the power and agency of individual fishermen, fishing organizations, processing companies, the DFO, the Minister of Fisheries and the courts. While many theorists view fisheries through the lens of the “tragedy of the commons”, alternative tragedies are developing in Atlantic Canadian fisheries. These include rising levels of debt, reduced earnings, vulnerability to financial volatility, loss of fishing rights within communities, and too much processor control.