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).

  • Action planning for PERSGA member countries region

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.


  • Using the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden as a basis, PERSGA should develop a strategic plan for the sustainable development of fisheries in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
  • PERSGA should follow up the training on the ecosystem approach for fisheries with more training on “Governance in Fisheries”, especially how to develop a more effective monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) system.
  • PERSGA should implement the action plan developed during the workshop, noting that the action plan will take several years to implement, and that PERSGA should provide an annual review of progress against the milestones specified below:


Country actions

  • Review of current data – ecological, social and economic [within 1 year]
  • Identify priority issues at country level for major fisheries [within 1 year]
  • Revise legislation – harmonize across region [2 year]
  • Select national focal point and set up network [now]
  • Establish better MCS [1-3 years]
  • Develop management plan(s) for major fisheries [2 years]
  • Raise awareness of SD and EAF [ongoing]
  • Build cooperation and communication among stakeholders – networks [ongoing]
  • Build human capacity for implementing EAF [ongoing but start now]
  • Seek better mechanisms for increased funding for EAF [ongoing]

Regional actions (PERSGA) (Red Sea – Gulf of Aden)

  • Monitor country progress against milestones [ Annual review]
  • Act as data/information centre for countries [ongoing]
  • Improve standardized data collection in countries [ongoing]
  • Update the review of priority issues at regional level [Annual review]
  • Interface with international agencies e.g. IMO, FAO, UNEP etc and mobilize technical and funding support [ongoing]
  • Adapt regional code of conduct based on FAO CCRF [1 year]
  • Continue capacity building of skills for implementing EAF
  • Identify research priorities
  • Support projects that implement EAF in the region
  • Promote EAF through improved awareness, meetings, media etc


  • Lack of adequate human capacity
  • Limited finance
  • Weakness of legislation and law
  • Lack of synergy and common policies across government agencies
  • Cycle of poverty
  • Lack of cooperation of stakeholders



The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden