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Part III: Ocean governance: Regional level
The regional seas programme - Integrating
environment and development: The next phase
Fisheries efficiency, resources conservation effectiveness, and institutional innovations
Regional cooperation in nonliving resources: Joint management zones
Regional centres for marine science and technology
Regional cooperation in marine sciences
Regional case-studies: The Baltic Sea, and Indian Ocean
The regional seas programme - Integrating environment and development: The next phase
The regional seas programme of UNEP
The mediterranean action plan
The next phase
Due to numerous advantages offered by the coastal and near-shore areas, they have been, since antiquity, among the most intensively used and abused parts of the planet. About one-half of today's population lives on the seashores or in their immediate proximity; a variety of industries have developed on a large scale along the coast; the coastal zones are a major recreational area and the basis for expanding tourism; harbours are essential as centres for national and international transport and trade. The near-shore maritime Areas contain the largest part of commercially exploitable marine living and mineral resources. They are also the zones used for marine culture, whose full potential is yet to be developed.
The gradual physical and ecological degradation of the coastal and nearshore areas, and the depletion of their resources, has accelerated during the last few decades at an alarming pace. Although seemingly local in nature, these problems are widespread and are today so evident at sites far away from their origin that only globally applied strategies have a chance to achieve long-term solutions.
The problems of the oceans and coastal Areas are global in nature, but there are significant regional differences in their causes and magnitude. Therefore, the most cost-effective remedies should be sought through action on local and national level, undertaken in the framework and as part of a wider regional and global developmental strategies. The type and intensity of curative and preventive measures and policies, if they are to be effective, are those made in response to the actual situation which varies from place to place, and from region to region, keeping in mind that a solution at one site should not create a nuisance elsewhere. Consequently, regional cooperation seems to be one of the most promising avenues leading to pragmatic solutions to problems specific for a group of countries sharing the same natural environment, such as an enclosed or semi-enclosed sea.
These facts and premises formed the conceptual basis for the development of the Regional Seas Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as a globally coordinated set of regional action plans implemented on national levels according to a global strategy.
The regional seas programme of UNEP
The regional seas action plans
Regional action plans, adopted at high level intergovernmental meetings are the backbone of the Regional Seas Programme. Since the Programme was launched in 1974, nine regional action plans for the protection and development of specific marine and coastal Areas have been adopted for the Mediterranean (1975), Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (1976), Gulf (1978), wider Caribbean (1981), East-Asian Seas (1981), South-East Pacific (1981), West and Central African (1981), South Pacific (1982), and Eastern Africa (1985) regions.
The structure of the action plans follows the framework adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Development (Stockholm, 1972) for the Action Plan for Human Environment, consisting of three basic components:
- environmental assessment (evaluation and review, research, monitoring, information exchange);
- environmental management (goal setting and planning, inter national consultation and agreements); and
- supporting measures (education and training, public information, technical cooperation, organization, financing).
In spite of the formal similarity of the action plans, in their details they are highly specific in order to respond to the actual problems, priorities, needs, and capabilities of the participating countries.
The explicit overall and ultimate goal of all action plans is the protection and development of the environment and resources in geographic areas covered by the action plans. This goal was to be achieved through a cross-sectoral approach and in a gradual way, taking into account the urgency of the problems as perceived by the relevant governments and the capacity (financial, manpower, institutional) of these governments and their institutions to tackle the problems in a realistic way.
The initial focus of the action plans was on marine pollution control, an obvious subject of high priority requiring a harmonized regional policy and strategy. However, the common experience of all action plans soon confirmed that underdevelopment or improper development are at the roots of most environmental problems, and that meaningful and lasting environmental protection is indeed inseparably linked with social and economic development. Therefore, the focus of the action plans was gradually shifting from a sectoral approach towards pollution control to integrated coastal zone planning and management as the key tool through which solutions are being sought.
Information exchange, training, technical assistance, and projects on various subjects requiring regional cooperation are among the more prominent features of all action plans.
The regional seas conventions
As the legal framework of the action plans, eight regional conventions were adopted for the Mediterranean (Barcelona, 1976), Gulf (Kuwait, 1978), West and Central African (Abidjan, 1981), South-East Pacific (Lima, 1981), Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (Jeddah, 1982), wider Caribbean (Cartagena, 1983), Eastern Africa (Nairobi, 1984) and South Pacific (Noumea, 1986) regions. All but one of the regional seas conventions (Nairobi) are today in force and more than 120 coastal States are potential parties to them. The conventions are of "framework" type committing the contracting parties to protect and enhance the marine environment covered by the convention area, which is in most cases restricted to the 200-mile exclusive economic zones. In a few instances (for example Cartagena and Noumea conventions) high seas which are enclosed from all sides by the 200-mile zone of the contracting parties are also included into the convention area.
Each convention is supplemented with at least two protocols dealing with specific problems, such as cooperation in cases of pollution emergencies, control of pollution from dumping and land-based sources, and protection of endangered species and ecologically sensitive areas. For the purpose of the protocols on the control of pollution from land-based sources and on the protection of endangered species and sensitive areas, the convention Areas have been enlarged to include internal waters, up to the freshwater limit, as well as selected coastal Areas.
In developing the regional seas conventions and their protocols care has been taken to avoid any conflict with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, or of any other international agreement on subjects covered by the regional seas conventions.
Institutional and financial arrangements
The action plans operate under the authority of periodic intergovernmental meetings of the States participating in the action plans, or the meetings of the contracting parties in cases where a convention is in force as the legal framework for the action plan.
UNEP provides the overall coordination of the Regional Seas Programme and serves as the secretariat of six action plans and four conventions. In several instances the countries participating in the action plans decided to set up their own secretariats for the conventions and action plans, or designated an existing regional organization to perform the secretariat functions.
The implementation of the action plans is supported by active participation of 14 organizations of the United Nations system, about 30 non-UN international and regional organizations, and more than 1,000 national institutions.
The Environment Fund of UNEP provides the financial resources needed initially to catalyze the development and implementation of the early phases of the action plans. However, the resources of this fund are gradually being replaced by special trust funds set up by the government participating in the action plans, as well as by funds provided by international financial institutions, aid agencies, and generous voluntary contributions from a large number of governments.
The Regional Seas Programme is frequently identified with the Mediterranean action plan and is considered as its mere extension. Nothing can be further from the truth, the Mediterranean action plan is only one, albeit the oldest and most mature component of the Regional Seas Programme. However, today several other regional action plans can also be considered as mature and highly viable entities of the Programme. In fact, some of them in their complexity, geographic scope, political significance, and real impact on the participating countries, far surpass the Mediterranean action plan. Therefore, when identifying the Regional Seas Programme with the Mediterranean action plan, the use of the Mediterranean action plan as a typical model and yardstick for the evaluation of other regional action plans, and the assignment of special prominence to the Mediterranean action plan, is not correct and is distorting a fair picture of the status of the Regional Seas Programme. Nevertheless, the Mediterranean action plan, although not typical for all action plans of the Regional Seas Programme, could serve to illustrate the development, achievements, as well as shortcomings and failures of the Programme.
The mediterranean action plan
By the early 1970s it was a widely held view that the environmental problems of the Mediterranean basin required urgent attention and that solutions should be sought through international cooperation of all 18 coastal States. Therefore, in 1973 the Mediterranean was selected as the first region where UNEP decided to test the regional approach to the protection of the oceans.
In spite of considerable differences in the political and socio-economic systems, levels of development of the countries concerned, and even open hostilities between some of the neighbouring States, it was relatively easy to reach quickly an agreement (Barcelona, 1975) of 17 coastal States (all except Albania) about an action plan. The action plan specifically called for:
a. integrated planning of the development and management of the resources of the Mediterranean basin;
b. coordinated programme for research, monitoring and exchange of information; and
c. development of a framework convention and related protocols.
Shortly after the adoption of the action plan the Coordinated Mediterranean Pollution Monitoring and Research Programme (MEDPOL) was launched to provide the assessment of the sources, levels, and effects of pollutants on a continuous basis. The programme was based on networks of national institutions and an agreed common methodology for their work. The number of institutions participating in the network was gradually growing and today the programme has more than 80 participants.
Within a year of the adoption of the action plan, negotiations were completed for a legally binding agreement which would serve as the legal framework of the action plan. The agreement, in a form of convention supplemented with two protocols (control of dumping and cooperation in cases of pollution emergencies), was signed in early 1976 by 11 countries and the European Economic Community (EEC). Less than 2 years after signing, the convention and the two protocols entered into force, and today all 18 Mediterranean countries and the EEC are parties to these agreements.
The assessments carried out after the adoption of the action plan revealed that the land-based sources of pollution are the single most important issue in the protection of the Mediterranean sea. Therefore, the negotiations of an additional protocol on the approaches and measures to curb pollution from these sources was initiated in 1977. The negotiations proved to be lengthy and difficult as they touched on the sensitive subjects of economic development, transfer of technologies, and mutual assistance. While recognizing the need for an urgent action, the developing countries rightly felt that the developed countries, which contribute about 80 per cent to the Mediterranean's pollution load from land-based sources, must not use the protocol in a way which would hurt their development potentials.
The protocol was finally adopted and signed (Athens, 1980) by 12 Mediterranean countries and the EEC. The protocol entered into force in 1983 and today 16 Mediterranean countries (all except Lebanon and Syria) and the EEC are parties to the protocol.
Under the influence of the negotiating parties which were, or were planning at that time, to become parties to the Paris Convention or members of the EEC, the adopted text of the Athens protocol closely follows the pattern of the Paris Convention (designed for oceans with completely different characteristics and by countries on approximately equal levels of economic development) and the strategy of EEC for the control of pollution from land-based sources.
This proved to be a mixed blessing. By such an approach the implementation of the protocol was automatically ensured by the parties to the Paris Convention and members of the EEC (at present all countries bordering the northern shores of the Mediterranean, except Albania, Monaco, Turkey, and former Yugoslavia), that is, by the most developed countries of the Mediterranean. However, for the same reason the joint efforts of the parties to the Paris Convention and the members of the EEC are concentrated on preventing the adoption of any Mediterranean guideline, standard, criteria, or measure (as envisaged by the protocol) which may be contrary to their policies or interests, regardless of whether these measures reflect the priorities of developing countries and their capabilities to implement them.
During the negotiating process the developing countries, with the notable exception of Lebanon and Libya, did not fully realize that the approach taken by developed countries (e.g. insistence on common emission standards; only token promise of assistance to developing countries in acquisition, utilization, and production of appropriate equipment on advantageous terms; lack of any agreement on liability and compensation for damage done by transboundary pollution) may not be in their best interests and may not provide them with adequate international assistance needed for the meaningful implementation of the protocol.
Some believe that the language of the Athens protocol should have been stronger to compel action by the parties. The frequent insertion of words like if necessary, as far as possible, and as appropriate in the text of the protocol, are weakening the protocol and are, for all practical purposes, giving licence to the countries to do whatever they wish. Perhaps more important, however, is the lack of real political commitment to implement the obligations embodied in the protocol. This is evidenced, among other things, by the failure of most parties to adopt national laws and legislation reflecting the provisions of the protocol and its annexes, and by a virtually complete lack of reporting on measures taken, results achieved and difficulties encountered in the application of the protocol, as envisaged by the protocol.
In parallel with the efforts to deal with the problems related to marine pollution, another protocol dealing with specially protected areas was signed (Geneva, 1982); a large-scale prospective study of the Mediterranean's development, the Blue Plan, was undertaken; and a series of projects were initiated as part of the action plan's Priority Action Programme. They dealt with subjects such as soil protection, tourism, rehabilitation of historic settlements, freshwater resource development, solid and liquid waste disposal, renewable sources of energy, aquaculture, environmental impact assessment, coastal zone planning and management.
Realizing that the action plan, at the pace it was progressing, will not solve the burning environmental problems of the Mediterranean basin, the contracting parties to the Barcelona convention adopted in 1985 the Genoa Declaration committing them to the following 10 targets to be achieved as a matter of priority during the second decade (1986-1995) of the Mediterranean action plan:
a. Establishment of reception facilities for dirty ballast waters and other oily residues from tankers and ships in ports of the Mediterranean.
b. Establishment, as a matter of priority, of sewage treatment plants in all cities around the Mediterranean, with more than 100,000 inhabitants and appropriate outfalls and/or treatment plants for all towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants.
c. Applying environmental impact assessment as an important tool to ensure proper development activities.
d. Cooperation to improve the safety of maritime navigation and reduce substantially the risk of transport of dangerous toxic substances likely to affect the coastal areas or induce marine pollution.
e. Protection of the endangered marine species (e.g. monk seal and Mediterranean sea turtle).
f. Concrete measures to achieve substantial reduction in industrial pollution and disposal of solid waste.
g. Identification and protection of at least 100 coastal historic sites of common interests.
h. Identification and protection of at least 50 new marine and coastal sites or reserves of Mediterranean interest.
i. Intensify effective measures to prevent and combat forest fires, soil loss, and desertification.
j. Substantial reduction in air pollution which adversely affects coastal areas and the marine environment with the potential danger of acid rain.
At the same time when adopting the Genoa Declaration, the parties also adopted a long-term (10-year) calendar for the implementation of the Athens protocol. The calendar envisages that a detailed assessment be prepared for each of the pollutant, or groups of pollutants, listed in the annexes of the protocol, accompanied by concrete proposals for measures which may be needed for their control. Among other issues, the calendar also envisages the preparation and adoption of an annex to the protocol which would deal with the control of pollutants from land-based sources transported by the atmosphere into the Mediterranean.
According to this calendar detailed assessments and proposals for control measures have been prepared for 12 pollutants or groups of pollutants listed in the annexes of the protocol. Eight of the proposed measures for microbiological quality of bathing and shellfish growing waters; mercury in seafood and discharges; and discharges of used lubricating oils, cadmium, organotins and organohalogens have already been formally adopted by the parties to the Barcelona convention, and several more are being considered for adoption in the near future. From the information available it seems that until now the adopted measures have been incorporated in national practices of only a few countries. The technical negotiations of the annex on control of air pollution have been completed and the annex may be adopted soon.
In 1987 it became obvious that the action plan lacks a common focus and by spreading its resources and activities in too many directions they do not reinforce each other adequately. This seriously hampered the action plan from concentrating on crucial issues and thus becoming the main instrument of a joint coordinated policy of the Mediterranean countries in matters dealing with the environmental protection of the Mediterranean basin. Therefore, it was decided by the contracting parties to refocus the action plan on its original central goal, i.e., on integrated planning of the development and management of the resources of the Mediterranean basin. The gradual refocusing of the action plan was attempted through a series of integrated coastal zone management pilot projects, taking full advantage of the past achievements of the action plan as well as of ongoing activities and structures adapted to the newly defined central goal.
UNEP coordinates, through a small secretariat in Athens, the implementation of the action plan, according to a precise work plan and budget approved by a biennial meeting of the parties to the Barcelona Convention. For the technical coordination of certain specific activities carried out under the action plan international regional centres were established (e.g. the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre in Malta), or national institutions assumed the role of regional activity centres (e.g. for the Blue Plan in Sophia Antipolis, the Priority Actions Programme in Split, and the specially protected areas in Tunis).
Although it is difficult to assess the influence of the action plan, including the Barcelona Convention and its four protocols, on the environmental policies and practices of the Mediterranean countries, there is direct and indirect evidence that a large number of concrete actions were taken by many countries to conform with the requirements and provisions of the action plan and the convention. A few examples for such actions are highlighted in the following paragraphs.
There are no precise statistics on the status of the sewage treatment and disposal systems in all Mediterranean countries. However, the steadily increasing number of beaches monitored in the framework of MEDPOL which meet the required quality standards (78 per cent in 1983, 96 per cent in 1987) is indirect evidence that the treatment and disposal of sewage is improving in many parts of the Mediterranean.
In the Mediterranean coastal zone of France (1700 km of coastline, 5.8 million permanent residents, and 22.2 million tourists annually) in the period 1980-1990 the proportion of treated sewage has increased from 22.5 to 66.5 per cent, and presently 93 per cent of the population is covered by the public sewage system.
Plans have been developed to provide the major coastal settlements and tourist complexes of Cyprus with communal sewage treatment and disposal systems.
Between 1973 and 1988 the amount of pollutants discharged into the sea from the industrial complex of Fos-Berre in France, which is one of the largest industrial complexes (mostly oil refineries and petrochemicals) around the Mediterranean, was reduced by over 90 per cent.
Reception facilities for wastes from ships exist in 50 Mediterranean harbours, although most of them (35) are below the required capacity or standards.
Environmental impact assessment has been introduced in most Mediterranean countries as a standard requirement for all major development projects which may have environmental implications.
UNEP's role as the secretariat of the action plan was essential for the rapid development of the action plan. UNEP as an "untainted newcomer" to the Mediterranean scene was in a unique position to mobilize the countries of the Mediterranean basin around the most complex programme ever undertaken by them jointly. However, it was not the only key to the success, as several unsuccessful attempts to rally the Mediterranean countries around a common cause (including environmental) showed. The active and aggressive leadership provided by UNEP, and the use of UNEP's financial resources to launch the agreed programme, were of crucial importance in the early phases of the action plan.
The action plan is, since 1984, financially self-sufficient. Today practically all expenses are borne by the contributions from the contracting parties to the Mediterranean Trust Fund established in 1979. It was one of the most useful lessons demonstrating that UNEP's funds can be used to catalyze a large-scale programme which continues and bears results long after UNEP's financial support is withdrawn.
The analysis contained in the preceding paragraphs shows that in spite of the numerous shortcomings of the Mediterranean action plan, it is today a viable instrument and mechanism for regional cooperation. However, the future relevance of the action plan to the parties of the Barcelona Convention will critically depend on successful shifting of the focus of the action plan from monitoring, data collection and assessment, to management of coastal areas and near-shore waters, including control of pollution and other activities leading to the degradation of the Mediterranean basin. The primary responsibility to achieve this goal does not only depend on the parties to the convention but also on UNEP, which as the secretariat of the convention and the coordinator of the action plan, should have been stronger in catalyzing the action of the parties.
The next phase
The regional action plans are under the authority of the relevant governments, that is, the contracting parties to the conventions providing the legal frameworks for the action plans. with the "maturing" of the action plans and their increasing financial self-sufficiency, the initial catalytic role of UNEP in shaping their evolution is gradually decreasing. Therefore, it is difficult to foresee the future development of the action plans although, based on the experience accumulated through more than 15 years of the Regional Seas Programme, the following general trends could be foreseen:
a. Shifting of the emphasis from curative to preventive type of action, particularly through the integrated management, on a sustainable basis, of coastal and near-shore areas and their resources.
b. Stronger inter-regional cooperation and establishment of more meaningful links with other regional programmes and arrangements (i.e., Helsinki Commission, Paris/Oslo Commissions) as well as with global programmes and arrangements (such as UNCLOS, Basel Convention, IPCC) relevant to the overall goals of the Regional Seas Programme.
c. Strengthening of the present institutional structures (secretariats) coordinating the existing regional action plans and establishment of the new coordinating structures for the action plans, now directly coordinated by UNEP's Headquarters on an interim basis.
d. Strengthening of the financial basis of the action plans, primarily through the growth of regional trust funds, and additional financial resources mobilized from international financial institutions, private sector, and other non-governmental sources.
e. Expansion of the Regional Seas Programme to geographic areas yet to be covered (e.g., Black Sea, North-East Pacific).
Several important conditions would have to be fulfilled, and developments would have to take place, to ensure that all regional action plans become truly meaningful instruments of regional cooperation.
Initially, the present vague and often noncommittal pledge of the governments to the protection of the marine environment through regional cooperation should be reinforced by binding non-ambiguous political commitments. The involvement of all sectors of the society would be needed to ensure a broad social awareness and support for such commitment. The present prevailing practice of most countries to handle the regional programmes as an activity falling almost exclusively in the sphere of interest of their ministries of foreign affairs deprives the action plans of support from the general public, private and public economic development sectors, and non-governmental environmental pressure groups.
The sectoral approach to a solution of the identified problems should be abandoned in favour of an integrated and holistic approach, which does not see environmental problems as separate from the full complexity of the underlying social and economic issues. The constraints on a more vigorous development experienced by developing countries should be recognized as stemming predominantly from the current relationship between the developed and developing world, dominated by the market forces of developed countries. These forces frequently operate at the expense of the environmental quality and resources of developing countries. Without radical changes in the present pattern of economic development, and without accelerated socio-economic development, most of the developing countries will continue to suffer from further environmental degradation and irrational exploitation of their resources.
The lack of financial resources is a very serious issue, but is not the fundamental reason underlying the inadequate investments in the protection and development of the marine and coastal areas. The major problem is in setting of priorities when allocating available resources for economic development, and in the global economic policies which generally do not favour environmental protection. The root of the problem is in the still widespread notion among political circles that the seemingly drastic and costly changes and measures advocated by natural and technical sciences are economically, politically, and socially impractical or unrealistic, while the constantly growing military expenditures are widely, if quietly, held to be inevitable.
Loans and grants from international financial institutions and bilateral aid from developed countries play a considerable, albeit inadequate, role in assisting developing countries to solve some of their environmental problems through accelerated development. The flow of assistance to developing countries through the Regional Seas Programme, at present far from being commensurate with the problems of developing countries and capabilities of developed countries, should become more meaningful.
In spite of the centrifugal forces which tend to isolate the individual action plans, and the decreasing relative importance of UNEP's financial support to the action plans, UNEP will probably remain the overall coordinator of the Regional Seas Programme. Whether this will continue to happen in the future will depend on UNEP's skill:
- to remain an active partner of the governments participating in the Programmer
- to continue playing a catalytic and non-bureaucratic role for the development of new and innovative approaches and ideas;
- to develop into a mechanism ensuring a globally coordinated approach to the protection and development of the marine and coastal environment through interregional cooperation; and
- to mobilize and coordinate the continuing support of the specialized bodies of the United Nations system to the Regional Seas Programme.
Fisheries efficiency, resources conservation effectiveness, and institutional innovations
End of the extensification stage: relation between scarcity, value, and property
Regulating the production function
Implications for management structures
So far, in fisheries, the change in the ocean regime has had mixed effects.1 National administrations have acquired new management responsibilities. In regions where long-distance fleets used to operate, shifts in wealth distribution benefited coastal countries. On the other hand, the exploitation of high-seas resources has been little affected and, more important since the quasi-totality of world fishery resources is distributed within the EEZs, the state and performances of a majority of domestic fisheries have not improved significantly. Imbalances between fishing capacities and resource productivity - with their well-known consequences of overinvestment and overcapacity, overfishing, conflicts between fisher groups as well as among users of aquatic ecosystems, and poor enforcement of regulatory measures are pervasive.
Does this means that the objectives of efficiency in fisheries and effectiveness in conservation are unrealistic, or incompatible, or that the new ocean regime alone is insufficient? For answering these questions, the significance for fisheries of the new ocean regime has to be clearly understood. Does this change result primarily from spontaneous initiatives taken by particular individuals or groups, or from forces affecting the sector on an historical scale? If appropriation of international fisheries by coastal States is a long-term development, endogeneous to the sector, is the same process likely to happen again in domestic fisheries?
As in other uses of ecosystems, it is the adjustment of the exploitation regime2 the natural productivity of the resource, rather than the efficiency of fishing operations or the management of fishing companies, that causes problems in fisheries. Enhanced efficiency in the production function depends primarily on better controls at the level of the fishery, or of the ecosystem, rather than at that of the haul, the trip, or the fishing company. For implementing such controls, new institutional instruments are required. These include property regimes, mechanisms for allocating fishing rights, and structures to put the first two into effect. It is these regimes, mechanisms, and structures that we designate in this paper under the generic term of institutions.
Obviously, an analysis of institutional innovations for fisheries management has to draw on ecology, economics, sociology, and law. Since each discipline casts light only on a part of the issue, inputs from all relevant disciplines have to be integrated. Owing to communication barriers between disciplines, this is not the least difficult point in the analysis.
A second difficulty relates to the diversity of fisheries. As in agriculture (for example, Jollivet 1988), fisheries encompass a broad variety of production systems, differing by their biological, technological, economic, social, institutional, and historical features. All sets, however, are not equally efficient or viable, and the number of options that are open to a given fishery at a given time in its history is limited. There is, therefore, no universal recipe of management or development. If the promotion of fisheries is to be effective, this diversity has to be recognized, analyzed, and accounted for in development and management policies and strategies. This diversity, however, does not prevent general principles to be elaborated. The purpose of this chapter is to present a grid for their analysis.
End of the extensification stage: relation between scarcity, value, and property
During the past three decades, three warnings signalled that large-scale fisheries were undergoing structural changes of historical significance. (Troadec 1989)
First, during the 1960s, production levelled off in the northern Atlantic and the northern Pacific where, traditionally, long-distance fleets concentrated their activities. But, as in the past, they could maintain their growth by extending their operations into southern latitudes. In 1972, however, the growth rate of world fish production dropped suddenly from 6 to about 1 per cent annually. When, that year, the stock of Peruvian anchovy collapsed, for the first time in its history, the large-scale sector had no alternative resource of comparable quality and quantity to sustain its expansion. Unconventional resources (krill, mesopelagic fish, oceanic squids) failed to provide comparable opportunities.
Second, also during the 1960s, the price of fish tended to increase faster than that of other food items in industrialized countries. (Rettig 1989) In Japan, for example, it doubled during the 1960s, and tripled between 1961 and 1976. (FAO 1981)
Third, even though the concept of exclusive economic zone emerged in the early 1950s with the Santiago Declaration on the maritime zone of Chile, the move that led to the acceptance of the 1982 Convention, meant that this concept actually took off after the above-mentioned events. When negotiating fishing agreements, coastal and long-distance fishing countries did not wait until the 1982 Convention principles were officially accepted before using them as a customary legal framework.
Thus, with the exhaustion of extensification opportunities, supply started to lag behind a demand in steady expansion. In many countries - in the North as well as in the South - the price of high-valued species rose relative to other food commodities. Coastal countries with important resources off their shores started to challenge the principle of open access. Unilaterally, they gradually extended the* jurisdictions over resources that long-distance fleets were currently exploiting. The right to fish acquired value. To keep access to fishing grounds, long-distance fishing countries or fleets accepted that they should pay compensation in kind or in cash. Progress in aquaculture and food technology was insufficient to stop and reverse this structural change.
Like manpower and capital at earlier times, the resource was progressively incorporated into the economic process of allocation. With a lag of ten centuries, the history of fisheries repeated that of agriculture. In western Europe, it was indeed during the late Middle Ages that, for allocating land, economic mechanisms (market) gradually took over the discretionary (command) ones of the feudal system, or those based on the social organization of rural communities. (Duby 1962) Today, world fisheries give another illustration of a process that dominated the history of economic thought: the relationship between scarcity, value, and property. (Brown 1987) "Scarce goods, once appropriated, acquire an exchange value." (Walras 1874) For centuries, long-distance fisheries developed under the principles of freedom of navigation, trade, and fishing. Privileges of anteriority of occupation and possession by rural communities were denied, including in developed countries.3 Management systems developed by coastal communities earlier affected by resource scarcity were actually damaged by this development, until the property instruments required by the market economy were ultimately accepted by the large-scale sector itself. (Troadec 1989)
Yet, for the world as a whole, the change has affected domestic fisheries only partially. Only certain countries (such as Australia, Canada, Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, several developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region) have addressed the issue explicitly. Their initiatives invite a considerable interest. They provide evidence to check the validity of the theories, and invaluable experience on possible practical solutions. Still, in many countries, the conditions of access for domestic fishermen have not been modified to the same extent as new conditions were imposed on foreign fishermen. The resources being the same, will the same cause have the same effect? i.e., is the scenario outlined above for international fisheries also valid for domestic fisheries?
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