A draft prototype of a new EU fisheries management system was presented at the first annual EcoFishMan meeting in Faro, Portugal on 1 March 2012. The new management system is labelled ”Responsive Fisheries Management System” (RFMS) and is an adaptive management system that is result-based and ecosystem-based. The RFMS attempts to reduce micro-management by involving stakeholders and can include elements of right-based management and co-management.
The EcoFishMan project group in Portugal
The purpose of the project, is to propose a new EU fisheries management system based on four case studies. This prototype will be evaluated and improved during the four case studies.
This first prototype of RFMS has taken longer to develop than expected, but now the basis is ready together with the definition of the terms used to describe the new system – the EcoFishMan glossary.
A key feature of RFMS is that fishermen and other potential resource users are involved in, and have influence on, the creation of the new management system as well as its implementation.
The system will be based on a management plan. The management plan is formally proposed by the resource user (e.g. an organised group of fishermen) but needs to be approved by the authorities. In practise, the management plan will work as a contract between the fishermen and the authorities. The contract specifies which goals are to be achieved, how they will be achieved, and how it will be documented that they are achieved. In return for the responsibility to fulfil these requirements, the resource users will be given flexibility to manage in the way they think is appropriate. In contrast to the existing management system, which tends to involve a long list of specific regulations, the resource user is free to design a simple and efficient system – as long as it is demonstrated that the results (biological, economic and social sustainability) are achieved. The focus here is on achieving results, not on regulating the process.
Kåre Nielsen from Tromsø University presents the prototype of the new management system
The focus on results instead of process comes from what is called Results Based Management (RBM). RBM has been used to reform several agencies such as the United Nations, the OECD and the World Bank. The experience from these examples is that RBM can lead to more efficient management, but also that it takes a long time and considerable resources to make the new system work.
Regarding fisheries management a number of quite successful experiences with RBM have been reported, for instance in New Zealand. These experiences will be taken into consideration when the first prototype of the RFMS system is used to develop a management plan for the Icelandic case study. In turn, the experiences from making this management plan will be used when designing management plans for the other case studies. These cases are the North Sea demersal fisheries, a Portuguese crustacean bottom trawl fishery, and, finally, a Mediterranean bottom trawl fishery.
The development of the RFMS model will also draw on inputs from stakeholders’ ideas and attitudes. Feedback from stakeholders on the development of the RFMS model is facilitated though regularly held meetings with a stakeholder group that follows the project closely.
The presentations from the meeting are here: