The World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg 2002), encouraged States to adopt the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) by 2010. However, progress towards reaching this target has been slow. One of the main constraints has been a lack of understanding of what EAF is and how it differs from other approaches to fisheries management. The training was planned to demonstrate how EAF is a move away from management systems that focus only on the sustainable harvest of target species to a system that also considers all the major components of an ecosystem, including associated species, habitats, and vulnerable species, as well as the social and economic benefits that can be derived from harvesting fish. It also dealt with the governance issues that need to be addressed to apply EAF in practice.
EAF can be best thought of as an approach to implementing sustainable development in a fisheries context and is based on the concept of the ecosystem approach adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity that was later described as:
'A strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.'
It is important to note that the principles underpinning EAF are not new and EAF is simply a strategy to implement the sustainable development principles enshrined in many international instruments including the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Objective: Develop recommendations and an action plan as to how PERSGA members and the regional approach can promote or support the implementation of ecosystem approaches to fisheries.
The workshop consisted of a series of short presentations (using MS PowerPoint) and interspersed with Working Group activities to familiarize participants in applying EAF. The first two and a half days focused on how to apply EAF to two example fisheries – Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The last afternoon focused on drawing up an action plan that participants can take back home and start implementing the training.
Regional actions (PERSGA) (Red Sea – Gulf of Aden)
The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden