People living in coastal areas in Africa can rarely utilise their entire fishing zones as their simple boats only allow them to fish near the coast. Research carried out by economist Kofi Vondolia at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that the migration of fish stocks is significant to fish management.
The United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea allows foreign fishing fleets to utilise the zones further out at sea, justifying this position by stating that there is a surplus of fish in these areas. A tax which takes into account ecological and socio-economic factors has the potential to regulate fishing, preserve stocks at sustainable levels and steer more of the income towards the country in possession of the fishing waters.
- Allowing technically advanced fishing fleets to fish offshore within Ghana's economic zone means that inshore fish stocks, which are accessible to the country's own, small-scale fishing fleets, are also dwindling, says Kofi Vondolia, whose study forms part of a doctoral thesis at the University of Gothenburg.
Economic fishing zones for different countries are regulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, dated 1982. According to the convention, so called surplus fish in economic zones of coastal states may be utilised by other states. However, in the opinion of Kofi Vondolia, the word "surplus" is misleading. He uses empirical data from Ghana to demonstrate that fish management should take into account the fact that fish stocks out at sea migrate towards the coast. A series of other scientific studies have also shown that many fish stocks migrate. However, this knowledge has not yet made a breakthrough in the practical management of the global fish stocks.
This is why Kofi Vondolia has developed a bioeconomic model in order to calculate an optimum tax on fishing at sea, or offshore fishing. This tax can be used as a tool for political control by countries that u
|Contact: Kofi Vondolia|
University of Gothenburg