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Policy transparency key to saving world's fisheries
Date:6/22/2009

and co-author of the paper. "We now recognize that overfishing can also lead to the erosion of biodiversity and ecosystem productivity."

"The different socioeconomic and ecological consequences associated with declining fish stocks are an international concern and several initiatives have been put forward to ensure that countries improve the way they use their marine resources," explains Mora. "Some of these initiatives include the United Nations Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Although these initiatives have been endorsed by most governments, a global assessment on the extent to which these ideals are actually implemented and effective remains lacking."

In this study, Mora and his colleagues analyzed a set of attributes upon which country-level fisheries could be evaluated. The attributes that they pinpointed included the scientific quality of management recommendations, the transparency of converting scientific recommendations into policy, the enforcement of policies, and the extent of subsidies, fishing effort and fishing by foreign fleets.

To quantify those attributes the researchers developed a questionnaire designed to elicit worst- to best-case scenarios. The survey was translated into five languages and distributed to over 13,000 fisheries experts around the world. Nearly 1,200 evaluations were used in the study. The responses of the surveyed experts were compared to, and found to be in accordance with, empirical data, supporting the validity of the data obtained in the study.

The results of this global survey showed that 7% of all coastal states carry out rigorous scientific assessments for the generation of management policies, 1.4% also have a participatory and transparent process to convert scientific recommendations into policy, and less than 1% also implement mechanisms to ensure the compliance with regulations. No one country
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Contact: Catherine Muir
cmuir@mathstat.dal.ca
902-494-2146
Dalhousie University
Source:Eurekalert

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