Harmonization of fisheries legislation and assessment of the implementation of fisheries management plans and rights-based management in the South West Indian ocean

Posted on 22 May 2013    
Bird Islands, Seychelles
© Martin Harvey / WWF
This report is comprised of eight components, and applies to the South West Indian Ocean (SWIO) countries Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania.

A review of fisheries legislation of SWIO countries in the context of harmonising and promoting shared and/or straddling stock management shows that existing legislation is generally weak and outdated, but five countries are currently developing new laws. Indicative legal text is provided for a wide range of legal provisions, including monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS).
A draft fisheries management legal agreement for shared or straddling fisheries resources in the SWIO range States, with bilateral and multilateral options is provided.

A review and assessment of the extent Rights Based Management (RBM) systems have been applied in the SWIO countries, including its practice and level of understanding, was undertaken. Although efforts are being made in some countries and fisheries to implement RBM systems, many concerns were expressed, including the need for better understanding of what constitutes RBM, data collection, training, awareness raising and substantial government commitment. Options for adoption, including piloting, were considered and supporting legislation reviewed. Development of RBM guidelines was also addressed and case studies were presented, including considerations for adopting RBM for tuna fisheries.

The extent of development and implementation of national and regional fisheries management plans was reviewed, including existing plans and those under development. The extent to which the EAF approach has been incorporated in fisheries management plans was described, noting that it depended mainly on support by EAF-­‐Nansen which is currently assisting in the development of seven such plans in the region. In many countries, it was thought that EAF-­‐Nansen work represents a positive step forward but that a clear basis for implementation was needed. National legislation was considered inadequate for ensuring full and effective implementation of the EAF.

An assessment and recommendations were given relating to the linkages and implications for improved regional fisheries management among the SADC Fisheries Protocol, COI-­‐IOC Fisheries Strategy, the SWIOFC and IOTC, with a focus on MCS.

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