Environmental and Social Criteria for Allocating Access to Fisheries Resources

Environmental and Social Criteria for Allocating Access to Fisheries Resources

Report commissioned by the Pew Environment Group, on behalf of OCEAN2012, written by Chris Grieve, Executive Director, Meridian Prime. The report highlights environmental and social criteria that are successfully employed in allocating access to fisheries resources.

The well-publicised state of European Union (EU) fish stocks, the challenges facing fishing communities and the industry, along with the opportunity to participate in the public debate about the future of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), motivated the formation of OCEAN2012 in June 2009: an alliance of organisations dedicated to transforming the CFP to prevent overfishing and enhance human well-being.

In the interests of creating a principle-centred approach to fisheries management in EU waters and for the EU fleet globally, OCEAN2012 is investigating issues that may be incorporated into a reformed CFP. Some of these issues capture ideas relating to enshrining environmental objectives within in the CFP as a prerequisite to fulfilling social and economic objectives; defining a decision-making framework that ensures strategic and operational decisions are made at appropriate levels; defining instruments and competencies that deliver sustainable fishing capacity at EU and regional level, including legally-binding, time-bound capacity limits per fisher, both in quantitative and qualitative terms; basing access rules on criteria that ensure a transition to, and support for, environmentally and socially sustainable fishing; and creating transparent and participatory decision-making processes.

The Pew Environment Group, on behalf of OCEAN2012, commissioned Chris Grieve of Meridian Prime to further analyse the potential for establishing criteria for access to, and allocation of, fisheries resources that favour those people, organisations or communities who may contribute to the overarching environmental and/or social objectives of a reformed CFP. Thus, this report presents ten case studies where environmental or social considerations have been used for, or have influenced, preferential access to fisheries resources to people, organisations or communities. A discussion of the outcomes of the case studies includes a comparison of the similarities and differences between them, as well as a summary of lessons learned during the process of transition from one access framework to another. This is followed by some proposed elements for designing access or allocation criteria which could be applied within an overarching management framework, on a regional basis under a regional fisheries management framework or more locally in individual fisheries. The report concludes with suggestions for legislative reform.

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