Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 177–214

Management procedures in a fishery based on highly variable stocks and with conflicting objectives: experiences in the South African pelagic fishery

  • Kevern L Cochrane
  • Doug S. Butterworth
  • José A.A. De Oliveira
  • Beatriz A. Roel
Article

Abstract

The pelagic fishery in South Africa targets mainly anchovy, Engraulis capensis, and sardine, Sardinops sagax, both of which have varied substantially in abundance during the history of the fishery. Since 1988, there has been progress in this fishery towards the use of management procedures as the basis for determination of management regulations, where a management procedure is defined as a set of rules, derived by simulation and normally implemented for three to five years, specifying how the regulatory mechanism is set, the data collected for this purpose and how these data are to be analysed and used. Advantages of management procedures include formal consideration of uncertainty, the ability to choose decision rules based on their predicted medium-term consequences and a saving in workload compared with annual assessments.

This paper discusses the lessons learned in application of management procedures and their precursors in this fishery. The high variability in abundance of the two stocks, the trend in their relative abundance, the substantial uncertainties in information, strong pressure to meet socio-economic goals and the conflicting objectives which arose between the directed anchovy and directed sardine fishery are identified as major problems in implementation of procedures and management of the resources. However, the use of management procedures is considered to have led to greatly improved communication with the industry and to substantial input by them into the management process. The procedures and the simulations upon which they were based also enabled consideration of the major sources of uncertainty in understanding of the resource dynamics and facilitated the development of procedures that were robust to them.

It is argued that biological uncertainty greatly exacerbated the problems in application of the procedures but probably cannot be markedly reduced in the near future. Management procedures must be robust to likely variability and uncertainty. Of equal importance are identification and selection of achievable objectives, and allocation to the political decision makers and not to the scientists, of responsibility for determining acceptable trade-offs between conservation and socio-economic goals. Other issues, including the importance of long-term rights and allowance for flexibility in fishing practice, are also highlighted

anchovy decision rule management objectives sardine uncertainty 

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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevern L Cochrane
  • Doug S. Butterworth
  • José A.A. De Oliveira
  • Beatriz A. Roel

There are no affiliations available

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