Topic: Can Stakeholders Cope with Fisheries Regulation? A Case Study of Co-management in Certain Territorial Waters of Italy
Keywords: Fisheries governance, Fisheries co-management, Management plan, Boat seines, Transparent goby
According to the CFP Mediterranean fisheries are governed using an ecosystem approach that fully integrates the environmental dimension. The Mediterranean Regulation prohibits the use of boat seines, in relation to mesh size, depth and distance from the coast, but provides derogation on condition the fishery is justified by geographical constraints, has no significant impact on the marine environment, affects a limited number of vessels, cannot be undertaken with another gear and is subject to a comprehensive management plan, based on adequate scientific monitoring.
In March 2010 Italy requested a derogation for the use of boat seines fishing for transparent goby (Aphia minuta) in the territorial waters of Liguria and Tuscany, identified as Geographical Sub-Area 9, and such derogation was established by the EC in October 2011. The management plan for transparent goby fishing continues to operate today, thanks to two subsequent renewals of the derogation, the first adopted in December 2015 and the second in October 2018.
The functioning of the management plan required the introduction of new operating methods: direct and active involvement of fishermen, implementation of biological and socio-economic monitoring and the acceptance of a different approach with the introduction of a fishery co-management system. Within the plan, a surveillance and control system was defined and a management body was set up, made up of representatives of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Maritime authorities, Regions, fishermen, fishermen’s associations and research institutions. This paper explores how the management plan works and examines the objective weaknesses and difficulties that have been faced and overcome, including the lack of operational methods, the absence of dedicated financial resources, the multiplicity of actors involved at different levels and territories, the occasional difficulty to correctly interpret and apply the relevant legislation, and the necessity to design an innovative governance system.
The analysis is mainly based on field data, mixed with the direct experience gained in the active participation to the management body of the plan.
The findings indicate that the introduction of new rules for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources required a change in the role of fishermen, who had to establish and share, with other stakeholders, appropriate co-management rules, based on defined objectives, and co-management tools to implement the rules, put in place by a system of monitoring, control and surveillance.