Study shows: Transparency and participation key to sustainable management

Published on June 25, 2009

Little is known whether management schemes practiced around the world really help against overexploitation and improve sustainability. A new comprehensive study indicates meagre results.

The study, published on the Public Library of Science website with Camilo Mora, a Colombian researcher at Dalhousie University and the University of California San Diego as lead author, had surveyed 1,188 fisheries experts from every coastal country in the world for information about the effectiveness with which fisheries are being managed.

The survey showed that global management of fisheries “lagged far behind” international guidelines for minimizing the effects of overexploitation, and that “only a handful” of nations have a robust scientific basis for management recommendations. It added that the process for turning those recommendations into policy leaves much to be desired in terms of transparency and participation.

In fact, “our study also shows that the conversion of scientific advice into policy, through a participatory and transparent process, is at the core of achieving fisheries sustainability, regardless of other attributes of the fisheries”, the group of scientists write.

The report initially refers to the latest figures from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicating that 28 per cent of the world’s fisheries stocks are currently being overexploited and 52 percent are fully collapsed, while fisheries today supply at least 15 percent of the animal protein consumed by humans.

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