A COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF BIODIVERSITY, FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE IN 53 COUNTRIES’ EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONES
2008 | FCRR 16(7)
Edited by Jackie Alder and Daniel Pauly.
There are increasing concerns about the sustainability of the seafood we consume and about the environmental impact of fisheries, as attested by the growing popularity of initiatives such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s and similar wallet cards, and the fisheries certification scheme run by the Marine Stewardship Council. However, the sustainability of fisheries is not only a matter of how they are managed, but also of the health of the ecosystems in which they are embedded.
There are at present no practical schemes for assessing the health of ecosystems, even if the concept could be defined rigorously. What is proposed in this report, instead, are a set of indicators which may capture how much countries attempt to do towards managing their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs; usually including several exploited marine ecosystems) and, to a certain extent, how well they succeed in doing so.
The EEZs of most countries are used for economic, recreational and cultural purposes, and the impacts from these uses vary across countries. The indicators presented here addressed a number of challenges. Foremost among them was to identify the components of the marine ecosystems that needed to, and could be, tracked by indicators. The second challenge was to design, apply and test selected indicators, notably with regard to their ability to produce, when aggregated, an overall indicator of how well individual countries are managing the biodiversity and the living resources within their EEZs.
These challenges could be met, thanks to the dedication of a number of authors, but also because previous work by the Sea Around Us Project had generated precursors to several of the indicators presented here, and databases enabling estimation of their values for most countries. The work of Dr. Pitcher and collaborators, on countries’ compliance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries paved our way, notably regarding the selection of countries to be included in this first analysis. The 53 countries included here represent over 95 % of the world catch. Jointly, they ensure that this report presents more than a pilot study for a sample of countries.
The aggregate indicator presented in the first chapter of this report synthesizes 14 specific indicators, jointly covering the major areas of concern with regard to EEZs: fisheries, coastal aquaculture, seabirds and marine mammals. These 14 indicators were derived from various specific studies that the Sea Around Us Project undertook over the last two years, reported upon in the other six chapters in this report.
Seven fisheries indicators, which cover various aspects of fisheries management including subsidies, landed value, compliance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and fuel use are presented by Mondoux et al. (this volume). There are two aquaculture indicators covering ecological and socio-economic aspects of the sector (Trujillo, this volume) and an indicator on the quality of countries’ fisheries statistics (Pauly and Watson, this volume). Countries’ compliance with international conventions for the conservation of seabirds (Karpouzi and Pauly, this volume) and marine mammals (Swartz et al., this volume) are also included in the aggregate indicator, along with an indicator of countries’ expenditure on marine protected areas (Cullis-Suzuki and Pauly, this volume).
This is the first report of its kind, and the indicators it presents could be refined, and strengthened through improvements in the quality of the underlying data. Nevertheless, a baseline has been established, which may be used to monitor countries’ progress in improving the management of their biodiversity and marine resources in their EEZs.
Daniel Pauly, Director, UBC Fisheries Centre, August 2008
Aggregate performance of countries in managing their EEZs
Jackie Alder and Daniel Pauly
Ranking maritime countries by the sustainability of their fisheries
Suzanne Mondoux, Tony Pitcher and Daniel Pauly
Using a mariculture sustainability index to rank countries’ performance
Adjusting for context in evaluating national fisheries statistics reporting systems
Daniel Pauly and Reg Watson
A framework for evaluating national seabird conservation efforts
Vasiliki S. Karpouzi and Daniel Pauly
The marine mammal protection index: ranking countries’ conservation performance
Wilf Swartz, Kristin Kaschner and Daniel Pauly
Preliminary estimates of national and global costs of marine protected areas
Sarika Cullis-Suzuki and Daniel Pauly