Rebuilding Hong Kong's Marine Fisheries: An Evaluation of Management Options
2007 | FCRR 15(3)
Fisheries scientists are not the only ones who know that world fisheries are in crisis. Most fishers experience it daily, via diminished catches, catches consisting of lower value species, and reduced incomes and profit. Many fishers therefore, especially among the young, would consider alternative land-based jobs. Unfortunately, most interventions in the fisheries sector, by governments and non-governmental organizations alike, are geared toward maintaining the status quo and do not address the issue of reducing fishing effort by encouraging fishers to consider land-based alternatives. These observations also apply to Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China.
This two-part study of the Hong Kong fisheries sector is one of the few which squarely address the issue of effort reduction through retraining of fishers. In the first part, it identifies the number of fishers willing to switch to land-based jobs and the expectations of potential employers, including some in the marine sector. In the second part, it identifies “the potential economic gain (loss) to fishers and to society (Hong Kong as a whole) due to the implementation of different management scenarios”.
The different management scenarios that are investigated here were formulated using the Ecopath with Ecosim software, which is now routinely used for such purposes in various parts of the world. It allowed quantifying the cost and benefits of different strategies for reducing the number of active fishers based in the Hong Kong SAR. The benefits predominate, but they can be obtained only if the Hong Kong government implements a long-term strategy. If it does so, it is likely that the ecosystem will recover from its presently depleted state and that the remaining fishers will have higher incomes. These results are not surprising, but they always need to be restated. This is, here, nicely done for the marine fisheries of Hong Kong.
Director Fisheries Centre, UBC
We thank Albert Leung and Rock Kwok of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of the Hong Kong SAR government for provision of fisheries data. We are grateful to the fishers and other marine-related business operators who provided us with information we needed to carry out this study. We are thankful to the Fish Marketing Organization and the many fisher organizations and associations in Hong Kong for their assistance in arranging the fisher interviews. We also thank Andy Cornish, Clarus Chu, Yvonne Sadovy, Tony Pitcher and Daniel Pauly for their comments on earlier drafts of the report. Rashid Sumaila thanks the Sea Around Us Project for its support. This study was commissioned by WWF Hong Kong under its 'Save Our Seas' initiative to restore fisheries and protect marine biodiversity in Hong Kong.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART 1 ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOODS FOR THE FISHING COMMUNITY
METHODOLOGY FOR THE ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOOD ANALYSIS
RESULTS OF ATLERNATIVE LIVELIHOODS ANALYSIS
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUDING REMARKS
PART 2 ECONOMIC IMPACTS ON THE FISHING INDUSTRY AND SOCIETY
ECONOMIC COSTS TO THE HONG KONG SAR GOVERNMENT
OVERALL COSTS AND BENEFITS TO SOCIETY
MODEL ASSUMPTIONS AND UNCERTAINTIES
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUDING REMARKS