Coastal Fisheries Programme
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Number 30 - December 2012



Group Co-ordinator and Bulletin Editor:
Kenneth Ruddle, Asahigaoka-cho 7-22-511, Ashiya-shi, Hyogo-ken, Japan 659-0012.

Information Section, Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, SPC, BP D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia

Produced with financial assistance from Australia, France and New Zealand.

Note from the editor,

This issue contains two articles. The first, “Appropriate management for small-scale tropical fisheries”, is by Yasuhisa Kato, now a professor at Kagoshima University in Japan. The second article “Massaging the misery: Recent approaches to fisheries governance and the betrayal of small-scale fisheries”, by Anthony Davis and Kenneth Ruddle, appeared a few months ago in Human Organization (vol. 71, no. 3: 244–254, 2012). It is reprinted verbatim here because it enlarges on one of the themes running through the preceding article.

Dr Yasuhisa Kato, the author of the first article, served as Director of the Fisheries Operation Service (1989–1994) and then as Director of the Fisheries Policy and Planning Division (1994–1997) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In these positions, he was involved closely in the preparation and global promotion of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF). Although the CCRF was intended as a global instrument to promote sustainable fisheries, based on Agenda 21 adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED 1992), and was developed during four years of technical work involving many people from FAO member countries, no appropriate focus on the specific nature of tropical fisheries was provided. Along with others, Kato believed that such a serious shortcoming would handicap the global promotion of sustainable fisheries, and that it had originated from a temperate zone bias in conventional approaches to fisheries education and management that was caused by a relative lack of understanding of tropical conditions. Such a bias and focus, he believed, could never lead to sustainable fisheries worldwide, because developing countries contribute more than 60% of world fisheries production and account for 90% of the people involved in fisheries worldwide. His strongly held belief about this eventually led in 1997 to a move from FAO to the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) as a special advisor. There, during an 11-year term, and in close collaboration with Southeast Asian countries and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Kato initiated various regional fisheries policies to replace a blind application of global policy that ignored various different environments He was responsible for organizing in 2001 the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the New Millennium, Fish for the People. His other contributions that elaborated on the basic idea include the development of the Resolution and Plan of Action for Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security, that was adopted in 2002 by fisheries-related ministers at the conference, and later accepted by ASEAN’s Asian Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry, and the development of a series of regional guidelines of CCRF that accommodate Southeast Asian regional specifics into CCRF.

The increasing recognition over the last two decades of the contributions of small-scale fisheries has led to the vigorous promotion of alternative approaches for their governance, in particular co-management. Among the widely asserted benefits of co-management are a more inclusive and equitable form of resource governance that directly engages and thereby empowers “users” and “stakeholders.” It is implicitly assumed, but never convincingly demonstrated, that this would enhance ecological and livelihood sustainability while fostering “user/stakeholder” regulatory compliance. Focusing on co-management and treating briefly the “human rights” approach, which they examine in greater depth in an article in Marine Policy (39:87–93), Davis and Ruddle analyze the key concepts and presumptions from a selection of recent governance approaches. Their core argument is that co-management is not aimed at “power-sharing”, but at shifting the burdens and responsibilities to citizen-users as a means of rationalizing fisheries. Davis and Ruddle examine the central topic of the relationship between neoliberalism and co-management using examples from Nova Scotia, Canada. They believe this analysis can be applied to small-scale fisheries management in the developing world, where it has been asserted that managers need to exert more control over access (i.e. property rights). The authors’ intent in this article is to provide a first step toward isolating and illustrating central ways that “recent approaches” in governance actually betray both small-scale fisheries and the promise of social research, and in that way to stimulate a deeper analysis of the intents and impacts of introduced management approaches in the Pacific Islands region..

Kenneth Ruddle


Appropriate management for small-scale tropical fisheries
Kato Y. (pdf: 135 KB)
Massaging the misery: Recent approaches to fisheries governance and the betrayal of small-scale fisheries
Davis A., Ruddle K. (pdf: 125 KB)

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Traditional #30 (pdf: )

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