Collated comments from some members of the Small Pelagic Scientific Working group in response to FISHERIES/2011/SWG-PEL/29.
In February 2010 a method for assessing the implementation efficacy of an Ecosystems Approach to Fishing in the sardine fishery was presented to the SWG-PEL.
At that meeting, concern was expressed that the proposed tool (and its results) might be viewed as a basis for decisions by managers, when in fact it should be rather regarded as a “flag waver” (the analogy of the IUCN Red List was used to clarify this comment) that highlights issues of concern that would then be subjected to more detailed investigation. A request was also made at the same meeting for a document listing the various indicators, the rationale underlying their selection, as well as the thresholds that are employed for each to be circulated to allow for more informed suggestions and comments.
It was suggested that the human well-being component should be represented relative to similar income brackets in other sectors of the economy to generate a more realistic perception. As the output stands at the moment, it could provide a basis for political targeting of the fishing industry as “mistreating” workers.
A component of this tool, i.e., the ecological wellbeing component is currently under further development as part of an MSc project. A presentation of the planned indicators and their thresholds to the SWG-PEL on the 17th May 2011 (FISHERIES/2011/SWG-PEL/29) resulted in mixed views about the utility of such a tool and the relevance of certain of the indicators and their thresholds. As discussion time was limited, the Chair agreed to collate comments from working group members and observers for consideration by the student.