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SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES
Keynote address, 10 ifaf, 2014
PROF. MOHAN JOSEPH MODAYIL
EX ASRB & EX CMFRI
mohanjosephmodayil@gmail.com
© MODAYIL 2014
DISCLAIMER
The views expressed here are
my personal views
and do not reflect those of the organizations
affiliated, past and present
Preamble
• The theme of 10 ifaf is: Towards
Responsible Aquaculture and Sustainable
Fisheries
• My discussion today will be very basic, with
out mathematical models and technical
jargon, a simplified statement of realities
• Today my intention is to bring to focus some
misconceptions and scientific inadequacies
• Addressing these will help us understand
the complexities of sustainable fisheries in
the Indian context
This discussion has the following:
1.Understanding fisheries
2.Understanding sustainability
3.Approaches to sustainability
4.Current and emerging threats
5.Knowledge, Management and
Governance deficits
6.Quo vadis ?
Background
• Fishing is the catching of aquatic wildlife, like hunting wildlife
on the land. There are no human inputs, but only exploitation
of a natural resource. Most industrial-scale fishing across the
world are not sustainable.
• However, most people believe that unspecified
'environmental changes, pollution, climate change’
caused, and continue to cause the collapse of most fisheries.
• In reality the major causes of decline in fisheries are
indiscriminate, unregulated, open access, destructive fishing
by human beings.
• History of fishing makes it clear that humans have had for
thousands of years a major impact on target species and
their supporting ecosystems. Human fishing has undergone
gradual shifts through time, to smaller sizes and the serial
depletion of species. Today we recognize these changes as
symptoms of overfishing. (Pauly, 2002)
UNDERSTANDING FISHERIES
What are fisheries ?
• “The sum (or range) of all fishing activities on a given
resource. It may also refer to the activities of a single
type or style of, fishing The fishery can be artisanal,
or/and industrial, commercial, subsistence, and
recreational, and can be annual or seasonal”- FAO
• “Activity of catching fish, from one or more stocks of
fish, that can be treated as a unit for purposes of
conservation and management and that is identified on
the basis of geographic, scientific, technical,
recreational, social or economic characteristics, and/or
method of catch”. – FAO
• “Fishery” simply refers to the activities involved in
catching a species of fish or shellfish, or a group of
species that share the same habitat.-NOAA
Fisheries are mostly misunderstood
• Misunderstood by scientists, research institutions,
government, scientific societies and academies and
the public
• Generally, anything related to or associated with fish
is deemed to be FISHERIES
• Thus, aquaculture, biotechnology, genetics,
microbiology, processing technology, economics,
pathology sociology……. are all treated as
Fisheries as some fish is used in the study process.
• Even scientific Academies and Societies have not
understood the meaning of fisheries and go on
conferring fellowships / awarding research grants
under Fisheries category on such non-fisheries
scientists / subjects.
• This myopic view has damaged the spirit of true
fisheries research in India and even mandated
institutions have moved away to more “attractive” and
“visible” subjects where recognition comes easily.
• The skewed understanding of the science of fisheries
has damaged and continue to damage the collection
and analysis of scientific information which are much
needed for management and governance of the
capture fisheries of the country.
• The responsibility for this sad state of affairs lies with
scientists, science managers and government/policy
institutions
• Fisheries is natural resource and principles and
practices of natural resource management are
needed for ensuring sustainability
Components of Indian fisheries
• Hill stream fisheries
• Riverine fisheries
• Lacustrine fisheries
• Reservoir fisheries
• Brackish water fisheries
• Traditional livelihood fisheries
• Coastal fisheries
• Offshore multiday fisheries
• Deep sea fisheries
• Oceanic fisheries for straddling stock
• Island fisheries
Why these data are important ?
• Other than catch details, species composition,
seasonal abundance, breeding periods, fish
biology, bionomics, much needed information
on assessing their sustainability are not
available except for most marine and few
riverine species.
• Classifying fisheries in to sustainable,
moderately sustainable, non-sustainable
becomes unscientific and meaningless in the
absence of supporting data analysis.
• Thus fisheries are to be examined by applying
recognized yardsticks of sustainability.
UNDERSTANDING SUSTAINABILITY
What is Sustainability ?
Defining sustainability
Sustainable fisheries
may be defined as the
stewardship of the
fisheries resources so
as to provide economic
and social benefits for
the present while
conserving the
renewable resource
base for future
generations ( Canadian
Department of Fish and Oceans)
Sustainability misconceptions
• Many governmental agencies believe that steady or
increasing annual catch from capture fisheries is an
indication of sustainability. This is not true.
• Such misconceptions at policy and governance levels
contribute to the misery as more boats are put to
fishing, more harbours are built, more bycath is
landed, more products are developed from bycatch
and more subsidies are doled out.
• Lack of understanding and inability and unwillingness
to listen to proper scientific advice is destroying our
fisheries wealth, the less said the better.
• Responsibility for unsustainability lies with the fishing
industry, governmental policy and support agencies,
researchers, industry and export promotions
Use of MSY and MEY models
• MSY and MEY models are no longer useful because of
changed situations (Pauly, 2001)
• These models or modified forms of these are still in use
• The belief that adjusting fishing effort to some optimum level
should generate 'maximum sustainable' yield, a notion that the
fishing industry and the regulatory agencies eagerly adopted, is
only a theoretical concept. It has no relevance today.
• In practice, optimum effort levels were very rarely implemented
Rather the fisheries expanded their reach, both offshore, by fishing
deeper waters and remote sea areas, and by moving onto
untapped resources
• Unfortunately increase in annual catch (because of increased
fishing effort, use of smaller mesh, catching juveniles, new fishing
grounds being accessed, destructive fishing) have been liked by
fisheries governance and planning agencies who continue to
support increasing effort when there is already a huge over
capacity of fishing fleet.
• FAO , NOAA, WORLD BANK, DFID, MSC have developed
indices for assessing sustainability
• There is not yet a comprehensive and inclusive model for
assessing sustainability although some are being evolved
and tested.
• Criteria used by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
and the RAPFISH appear to be promising tools in
assessment of sustainability
• MSC is a certification process and takes a few years of
study for a green certification. On 5th of November, India
received its first MSC certification for the short neck clam
fishery of Keala, thanks to the efforts of the CMFRI which
were initiated in 2006. This is the third species in Asia out
of the 244 certified so far across the world.
• The fact that only 3 species were certified in Asia which is
the major fish provider to the world speaks well about how
unsustainable our fisheries are.
MSC principles of sustainability
– Principle 1. Target species ( High productivity, Recovery
plan, Reproductive capacity)
– Principle 2. Ecosystem ( Functional relationships,
Biodiversity and ETP spp, Recovery plan)
– Principle 3. Management system :
• A Management system criteria - No controversial unilateral
exemption, Clear long-term objectives, appropriate to cultural
context and scale, observe legal and customary rights,
dispute resolution mechanism, Incentives, no negative
subsidies, timely, adaptive, precautionary, research plan,
stock assessments conducted, mgmt measures and
strategies compliance.
• B Operational criteria: Bycatch and discards, habitat
impacts, destructive fishing practices, operational waste, legal
and admin requirements, collaboration in data collection
RAPFISH model for sustainability
evaluation
• RAPFISH (Pitcher & Preikshot,2001)
• Simple, easily scored attributes to provide
rapid, cost effective, multidisciplinary
approach for comparative levels of
sustainability.
• Multivariate ordinations of scored attributes
evaluate fishing status within ecological,
technological, economic, social and ethical
contexts.
• Weakness of this method: perception
differences and data inadequacies can yield
skewed results
Data requirements for RAPFISH
• Ecological (including fish population parameters
and environment)
• Economic (including both micro and macro
economic factors)
• Ethical (including industrial and community
factors)
• Social (including social and anthropological
factors)
• Technological (including gear and fishing
characteristics)
DATA REQUIREMENTS FOR RAPFISH
• Ecological (Exploitation status, recruitment variability, trophic level &
change, migratory range, size of fish caught, catch before maturity, discarded
bycatch, species caught, primary production)
• Economic ( Fishing in GDP, Per person GDP, market right, other income,
sectoral employment, ownership, market subsidy)
• Sociological ( Socialization of fishery, fishing community growth, fishing
sector, environmental knowledge, education level, conflict status, fishing
income, kin participation)
• Technological ( Trip length, landing rights, presale processing, use of
ice, gear, selective gear / power gear)
• Ethical ( Adjacency & relevance, alternatives, equity in entry to fishery, just
management, influences-ethical formation, mitigation=habitat destruction,
migration-ecosystem depletion, Illegal fishing, discards & waste)
• Code of Conduct (Intentions: Management objectives, framework,
precautionary approaches. Results: Stocks, fleet & gear, social & economic,
monitoring, surveillance & control (MCS)
RAPFISH analysis: Sustainability status scores from
simulated fisheries plotted against time. Here the
vertical axis runs from 0% (`bad') to 100% ( ‘good’)
(Source: Pitcher & Preikshot, 2001)
Indicators of Sustainability
• Maintenance and re-establishment of healthy
targeted fish populations
• Maintenance of ecosystem integrity
• Development and maintenance of effective
fisheries management system
• Compliance with relevant local and national
laws and standards and international
understandings and agreements
• Biological indicators include stock status
relative to biological reference points like
spawning biomass, size at maturity vs capture,
age structure, mean size, fishing mortality,
exploitation and recruitment rates.
Current and emerging threats to
sustainability
• Lack of stock assessment information on hill stream
fisheries, riverine fisheries, reservoir fisheries and
lacustrine fisheries.
• Inability to use such information, when available,
for informed fisheries management
• Over capacity of fishing fleet in marine sector
• Indiscriminate and destructive fishing methods
• Lack of implementable, inclusive marine fishing
policy
• Lack of implementation of regulatory measures
• Negative subsidies and incentives which promote
unregulated fishing
Knowledge deficit, Management deficit,
Governance deficit
• Governance and policy frameworks do not make
use of knowledge and wisdom of mandated
institutions while formulating guidelines, regulations
and policies. Instead committees of bureaucrats
with no fisheries knowledge are formed for policies
and guidelines
• Inability of government in reducing overcapacity
and implementation of guidelines and regulations
across the country
• Unregulated promotion of growth of fishing fleet,
fishing activities, incentives for bycatch utilization,
bad subsidies, populist measures
• Lack of a national fisheries policy binding on all
stakeholders
Quo vadis ?
• There are a few pelagic and small scale regional fisheries
which are robust and sustainable. Eg. Tuna, Sardines,
Anchovies, clams, cephalopods, Bombay duck
• Except for such few fisheries, in general, the Indian
fisheries are likely to be unsustainable, unless we have
analytical data to the contrary
• Lack of a desire to move in to a regulated and sustainable
mode is a major concern
• Collapse of many stressed fisheries will not be distant
possibility
• Unless India move on to a regulated mode from an open
access fishery, it will be not only collapse of our fisheries,
but also rejection of our fishery products for want of
certification on sustainability
• It is time for the mandated institutions to come out with
proper analysis using modern tools
• The time to act is now or never
THANK YOU
FOR YOUR TIME

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Sustainable Fisheries in the Indian Context

  • 1. SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES Keynote address, 10 ifaf, 2014 PROF. MOHAN JOSEPH MODAYIL EX ASRB & EX CMFRI mohanjosephmodayil@gmail.com © MODAYIL 2014
  • 2. DISCLAIMER The views expressed here are my personal views and do not reflect those of the organizations affiliated, past and present
  • 3. Preamble • The theme of 10 ifaf is: Towards Responsible Aquaculture and Sustainable Fisheries • My discussion today will be very basic, with out mathematical models and technical jargon, a simplified statement of realities • Today my intention is to bring to focus some misconceptions and scientific inadequacies • Addressing these will help us understand the complexities of sustainable fisheries in the Indian context
  • 4. This discussion has the following: 1.Understanding fisheries 2.Understanding sustainability 3.Approaches to sustainability 4.Current and emerging threats 5.Knowledge, Management and Governance deficits 6.Quo vadis ?
  • 5. Background • Fishing is the catching of aquatic wildlife, like hunting wildlife on the land. There are no human inputs, but only exploitation of a natural resource. Most industrial-scale fishing across the world are not sustainable. • However, most people believe that unspecified 'environmental changes, pollution, climate change’ caused, and continue to cause the collapse of most fisheries. • In reality the major causes of decline in fisheries are indiscriminate, unregulated, open access, destructive fishing by human beings. • History of fishing makes it clear that humans have had for thousands of years a major impact on target species and their supporting ecosystems. Human fishing has undergone gradual shifts through time, to smaller sizes and the serial depletion of species. Today we recognize these changes as symptoms of overfishing. (Pauly, 2002)
  • 7. What are fisheries ? • “The sum (or range) of all fishing activities on a given resource. It may also refer to the activities of a single type or style of, fishing The fishery can be artisanal, or/and industrial, commercial, subsistence, and recreational, and can be annual or seasonal”- FAO • “Activity of catching fish, from one or more stocks of fish, that can be treated as a unit for purposes of conservation and management and that is identified on the basis of geographic, scientific, technical, recreational, social or economic characteristics, and/or method of catch”. – FAO • “Fishery” simply refers to the activities involved in catching a species of fish or shellfish, or a group of species that share the same habitat.-NOAA
  • 8. Fisheries are mostly misunderstood • Misunderstood by scientists, research institutions, government, scientific societies and academies and the public • Generally, anything related to or associated with fish is deemed to be FISHERIES • Thus, aquaculture, biotechnology, genetics, microbiology, processing technology, economics, pathology sociology……. are all treated as Fisheries as some fish is used in the study process. • Even scientific Academies and Societies have not understood the meaning of fisheries and go on conferring fellowships / awarding research grants under Fisheries category on such non-fisheries scientists / subjects.
  • 9. • This myopic view has damaged the spirit of true fisheries research in India and even mandated institutions have moved away to more “attractive” and “visible” subjects where recognition comes easily. • The skewed understanding of the science of fisheries has damaged and continue to damage the collection and analysis of scientific information which are much needed for management and governance of the capture fisheries of the country. • The responsibility for this sad state of affairs lies with scientists, science managers and government/policy institutions • Fisheries is natural resource and principles and practices of natural resource management are needed for ensuring sustainability
  • 10. Components of Indian fisheries • Hill stream fisheries • Riverine fisheries • Lacustrine fisheries • Reservoir fisheries • Brackish water fisheries • Traditional livelihood fisheries • Coastal fisheries • Offshore multiday fisheries • Deep sea fisheries • Oceanic fisheries for straddling stock • Island fisheries
  • 11. Why these data are important ? • Other than catch details, species composition, seasonal abundance, breeding periods, fish biology, bionomics, much needed information on assessing their sustainability are not available except for most marine and few riverine species. • Classifying fisheries in to sustainable, moderately sustainable, non-sustainable becomes unscientific and meaningless in the absence of supporting data analysis. • Thus fisheries are to be examined by applying recognized yardsticks of sustainability.
  • 14. Defining sustainability Sustainable fisheries may be defined as the stewardship of the fisheries resources so as to provide economic and social benefits for the present while conserving the renewable resource base for future generations ( Canadian Department of Fish and Oceans)
  • 15. Sustainability misconceptions • Many governmental agencies believe that steady or increasing annual catch from capture fisheries is an indication of sustainability. This is not true. • Such misconceptions at policy and governance levels contribute to the misery as more boats are put to fishing, more harbours are built, more bycath is landed, more products are developed from bycatch and more subsidies are doled out. • Lack of understanding and inability and unwillingness to listen to proper scientific advice is destroying our fisheries wealth, the less said the better. • Responsibility for unsustainability lies with the fishing industry, governmental policy and support agencies, researchers, industry and export promotions
  • 16. Use of MSY and MEY models • MSY and MEY models are no longer useful because of changed situations (Pauly, 2001) • These models or modified forms of these are still in use • The belief that adjusting fishing effort to some optimum level should generate 'maximum sustainable' yield, a notion that the fishing industry and the regulatory agencies eagerly adopted, is only a theoretical concept. It has no relevance today. • In practice, optimum effort levels were very rarely implemented Rather the fisheries expanded their reach, both offshore, by fishing deeper waters and remote sea areas, and by moving onto untapped resources • Unfortunately increase in annual catch (because of increased fishing effort, use of smaller mesh, catching juveniles, new fishing grounds being accessed, destructive fishing) have been liked by fisheries governance and planning agencies who continue to support increasing effort when there is already a huge over capacity of fishing fleet.
  • 17. • FAO , NOAA, WORLD BANK, DFID, MSC have developed indices for assessing sustainability • There is not yet a comprehensive and inclusive model for assessing sustainability although some are being evolved and tested. • Criteria used by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the RAPFISH appear to be promising tools in assessment of sustainability • MSC is a certification process and takes a few years of study for a green certification. On 5th of November, India received its first MSC certification for the short neck clam fishery of Keala, thanks to the efforts of the CMFRI which were initiated in 2006. This is the third species in Asia out of the 244 certified so far across the world. • The fact that only 3 species were certified in Asia which is the major fish provider to the world speaks well about how unsustainable our fisheries are.
  • 18. MSC principles of sustainability – Principle 1. Target species ( High productivity, Recovery plan, Reproductive capacity) – Principle 2. Ecosystem ( Functional relationships, Biodiversity and ETP spp, Recovery plan) – Principle 3. Management system : • A Management system criteria - No controversial unilateral exemption, Clear long-term objectives, appropriate to cultural context and scale, observe legal and customary rights, dispute resolution mechanism, Incentives, no negative subsidies, timely, adaptive, precautionary, research plan, stock assessments conducted, mgmt measures and strategies compliance. • B Operational criteria: Bycatch and discards, habitat impacts, destructive fishing practices, operational waste, legal and admin requirements, collaboration in data collection
  • 19. RAPFISH model for sustainability evaluation • RAPFISH (Pitcher & Preikshot,2001) • Simple, easily scored attributes to provide rapid, cost effective, multidisciplinary approach for comparative levels of sustainability. • Multivariate ordinations of scored attributes evaluate fishing status within ecological, technological, economic, social and ethical contexts. • Weakness of this method: perception differences and data inadequacies can yield skewed results
  • 20. Data requirements for RAPFISH • Ecological (including fish population parameters and environment) • Economic (including both micro and macro economic factors) • Ethical (including industrial and community factors) • Social (including social and anthropological factors) • Technological (including gear and fishing characteristics)
  • 21. DATA REQUIREMENTS FOR RAPFISH • Ecological (Exploitation status, recruitment variability, trophic level & change, migratory range, size of fish caught, catch before maturity, discarded bycatch, species caught, primary production) • Economic ( Fishing in GDP, Per person GDP, market right, other income, sectoral employment, ownership, market subsidy) • Sociological ( Socialization of fishery, fishing community growth, fishing sector, environmental knowledge, education level, conflict status, fishing income, kin participation) • Technological ( Trip length, landing rights, presale processing, use of ice, gear, selective gear / power gear) • Ethical ( Adjacency & relevance, alternatives, equity in entry to fishery, just management, influences-ethical formation, mitigation=habitat destruction, migration-ecosystem depletion, Illegal fishing, discards & waste) • Code of Conduct (Intentions: Management objectives, framework, precautionary approaches. Results: Stocks, fleet & gear, social & economic, monitoring, surveillance & control (MCS)
  • 22. RAPFISH analysis: Sustainability status scores from simulated fisheries plotted against time. Here the vertical axis runs from 0% (`bad') to 100% ( ‘good’) (Source: Pitcher & Preikshot, 2001)
  • 23. Indicators of Sustainability • Maintenance and re-establishment of healthy targeted fish populations • Maintenance of ecosystem integrity • Development and maintenance of effective fisheries management system • Compliance with relevant local and national laws and standards and international understandings and agreements • Biological indicators include stock status relative to biological reference points like spawning biomass, size at maturity vs capture, age structure, mean size, fishing mortality, exploitation and recruitment rates.
  • 24. Current and emerging threats to sustainability • Lack of stock assessment information on hill stream fisheries, riverine fisheries, reservoir fisheries and lacustrine fisheries. • Inability to use such information, when available, for informed fisheries management • Over capacity of fishing fleet in marine sector • Indiscriminate and destructive fishing methods • Lack of implementable, inclusive marine fishing policy • Lack of implementation of regulatory measures • Negative subsidies and incentives which promote unregulated fishing
  • 25. Knowledge deficit, Management deficit, Governance deficit • Governance and policy frameworks do not make use of knowledge and wisdom of mandated institutions while formulating guidelines, regulations and policies. Instead committees of bureaucrats with no fisheries knowledge are formed for policies and guidelines • Inability of government in reducing overcapacity and implementation of guidelines and regulations across the country • Unregulated promotion of growth of fishing fleet, fishing activities, incentives for bycatch utilization, bad subsidies, populist measures • Lack of a national fisheries policy binding on all stakeholders
  • 26. Quo vadis ? • There are a few pelagic and small scale regional fisheries which are robust and sustainable. Eg. Tuna, Sardines, Anchovies, clams, cephalopods, Bombay duck • Except for such few fisheries, in general, the Indian fisheries are likely to be unsustainable, unless we have analytical data to the contrary • Lack of a desire to move in to a regulated and sustainable mode is a major concern • Collapse of many stressed fisheries will not be distant possibility • Unless India move on to a regulated mode from an open access fishery, it will be not only collapse of our fisheries, but also rejection of our fishery products for want of certification on sustainability • It is time for the mandated institutions to come out with proper analysis using modern tools • The time to act is now or never