- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
SUSTAINABLE CO‐MANAGEMENT OF FISHING RESOURCES:
SUSTAINABLE SEAS AND RESPONSIBLE CONSUMERS
Submitted by Fundación Lonxanet, Spain
28 October 2011
Contact: Antonio García Allut firstname.lastname@example.org, Chairman,
Fundación Lonxanet para la Pesca Sostenible
Fundación Lonxanet (Spain) is grateful for the opportunity to provide input for inclusion in the
compilation document to serve as basis of the Zero Draft for the UN Conference on
Sustainable Development (UNCSD 2012).
As the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was underway in Johannesburg in
September 2002, Fundación Lonxanet para la Pesca Sostenible was created in North West
Spain, in part to respond to the WSSD's call for the creation of an international network of
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Fundación Lonxanet is an innovative initiative that promotes
a change in the mind‐set of artisanal fishermen to minimise the loss of living marine resources
and achieve sustainable development.
We work with artisanal fishing communities and organisations whose livelihoods depend on
any water system (rivers, lakes, estuaries, seas and oceans) from Spain, Latin America and
Africa. We develop and promote best practices both by and for artisanal fisherfolk and give
visibility to their efforts and contributions to a more sustainable sea and world.
RELEVANCE TO THE CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 2012 (UNCSD
Fundación Lonxanet welcomes the efforts to address the sustainable use of marine resources
as a central theme of UNCSD 2012. We concur with the view that major conferences on the
environment and sustainable development cannot ignore the importance of healthy seas for
sustainable development, especially in light of the role played by artisanal fisherfolk in global
food security, including what some have described as the blue economy.
Our proposal is fully consistent with the goals and objectives of UNCSD 2012 as well as with
the Millennium Development Goals. The proposal departs from our assessment that progress
achieved to date for sustainable seas and oceans has been insufficient and, that there is a gap
remaining in the implementation of ocean‐related outcomes from past major summits on
sustainable development, especially the commitment in Johannesburg to establish and
maintain an international network of Marine Protected Areas. Our proposal relates directly to
key issues listed in the Co‐Chairs? Guidance Note for inputs for Compilation Document:
oceans, food security, biodiversity, sustainable consumption and production (including the
"green jobs") and adaptation to climate change. This successful experience stems from
Lonxanet?s initiative and works accompanying artisanal fishermen, and contributes to the
integration of the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and
Within this framework, Fundación Lonxanet facilitates the development of processes aimed at
aligning artisanal fisherman and the State in the common goal of a sustainable management of
fishery resources to achieve social, economic and environmental benefits for both fishing
communities and society in general. The creation of symmetric spaces of dialogue between the
state and the fisheries sector promotes a change in the fishermen's mind-set leading to co‐
responsibility of the future of the oceans, empowering and involving them in the management
of fishery resources under an adaptive and ecosystemic approach.
CONTEXT: CAUSES AND CONSECUENCES OF THE GLOBAL FAILURE IN FISHERIES
Living marine resources in the world are in a critical state. According to the UN FAO, 80% of
the world?s fisheries are at risk due to excessive fishing efforts. Within this percentage, 52%
are completed exploited, 19% is over-exploited, and 8% has been depleted. Although virtually
all governments acknowlege the gravity of the problem and are making efforts to regulate the
exploitation of these resources with sustainability criteria, the global state of the oceans and
its resources continues to deteriorate. In accordance to the FAO?s analysis, only 1% of the
world?s fisheries appear to be recovering from past over‐exploitation. The European Union,
with the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, 88% of its fisheries are over‐exploited
and 69% are in danger of depletion.
The problems and its consequences can be summarised in six points:
(1) Market forces that favour overfishing, (2) Overfishing and depletion of resources, (3)
Increasing impacts of climate change; 4) Pollution, environmental degradation of coastal
ecosystems and biodiversity loss; 5) Failure of governance in resource management, since it is
centralised and hierarchical, (6) Loss of oceans' resilience. This leads to the following
consequences: a) Depletion of fishery resources; (b) Crisis of artisanal fisheries sector and local
communities; c) Loss of future expectations for the families of those fishermen who abandon
fishing: emigration and depopulation; d) Loss of food sovereignty and security.
An over-centralised management model, where the artisanal fisherman neither participates
nor is represented, brings about an incompatibility between the sustainability objective
pursued by the States and maximising fishermen's economic objectives favoured by market
The world fish trade sources its products in developing countries to be sold in developed
countries. Therefore, the fishing industry and consumer markets in the most developed
countries are the main contributors to the fall in resources from the world's coastal, sea and
ocean ecosystems. In accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated
responsibility" enshrined in the Rio Declaration of 1992, these countries have a special duty to
correct and avoid this dramatic situation. Increasing controls on fishermen to correct bad
practices is not enough. It also requires a more equitable and sustainable redistribution of
fishery resources as a public good between the fleets exploiting them, to correct social
imbalances affecting artisanal fisherfolk.
Artisanal fishing is often characterised by relatively low impact practices on marine
ecosystems, using more selective fishing gear, with a less destructive impact on habitats, less
fuel consumption and less fishing effort, far below that of industrialised fishing. Furthermore,
as showed by FAO statistics, it should be taken into account that artisanal fishing employs a
large number of the people who play a very important role in the social and cultural life of
most coastal countries.
To address the abuses and excesses of the market, producers and consumers must be made
co‐responsible. Yet to date the impact of the majority of awareness policies and campaigns
applied to fishermen and consumers remains low.
WHAT HAS BEEN DONE, WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED
Over the last decade, with a systemic, participatory and bottom-up approach that empowers
local artisanal fishing communities through human, economic, social and environmental
projects, Fundación Lonxanet has developed ways to minimise the obstacles to sustainable
development that artisanal fisherfolk and fish workers have encountered and to develop
locally workable conditions that favour comprehensive sustainable development.
The Fundación Lonxanet initiative started as a pilot project in the region of Galicia, North West
Spain, which included the creation of two Marine Protected Areas of Fishing Interest co‐
managed equally by artisanal fishermen and the public authorities. In addition, a marketing
company was created to directly distribute sustainable seafood produced in this area to
consumers, with a view to increasing the revenues of the artisanal fishermen and, at the same
time, protecting and conserving their resources (?from a sustainable sea to a responsible
consumer?). All of this led to the creation of the international Network of Artisanal Fishing
communities for Sustainable Development (RECOPADES), active in Europe, Latin America and
These experiences demonstrate that dialogue and collaboration between public authorities
and artisanal fisherfolk is not only possible but successful. Placing the artisanal fisherman at
the heart of fisheries management on an equal footing with the public administration has
opened a consolidation process regarding new ocean governance. This experience has
important benefits for the coastal ecosystem and for society in general. A greater involvement
of fisherman has been achieved regarding environmental sustainability goals. The catches of
certain species have been greatly increased. Conflicts have been reduced and the fishermen
feel involved and co‐responsible for their future, applying sustainability criteria in fisheries
management. They are being referenced as an example of sustainable experience at an
Our experience to date shows how the involvement of fishermen in the co-management of
fishery resources and the green economy can be a means to achieve sustainable
development in its three dimensions (social, economic and environmental), together with
the eradication of poverty. This is its added value, in line with the Co-Chairs? Guidance Notes,
asking to emphasise what has worked and how to build upon success to seize opportunities for
possible elements of an agreement in the outcome document.
The proposals we present here address the implementation of a series of guidelines that
promote a convergence of state and fisheries towards sustainability as a common goal. It
represents a very important step to build an active and participatory citizenship, co‐
responsible for the management of natural resources.
EMPOWER ARTISANAL FISHERMEN FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE
We urge the UNCSD 2012 to express in Rio the necessity and their willingness to empower
artisanal fisherfolk to both participate in similar processes and in resources management in
order to address the changes in production and consumption models that have failed to
secure the sustainability of fishery resources worldwide. We also urge the states to enable
that fishermen and state representatives go hand in hand in the process of co‐management
The approach we request UNCSD 2012 to support comprises a series of measures to promote
processes of change in the artisanal fishing sector that can lead to a culture of sustainability
and can be applied in a wide range of contexts and scales, with a convergent and coherent
view about the future of artisanal fishing and the collective interest of their communities:
Respect for fishermen's local environmental knowledge in the design of management
plans for fishery resources.
Action plans, with a bottom-up approach, and participatory processes to build trust
and encourage the participation of small‐scale fishing communities with a leading role.
Empower partnerships and networks with other fishing communities and other actors
(governments, NGOs, companies, public administrations, etc.) at local, national or
Promote, as a result of the required mind shift, artisanal fisherfolk as custodians and
guardians of the living marine resources and their habitats.
Based on RECOPADES? experience, we urge UNSCD 2012 to encourage and support:
Artisanal fishermen's involvement in the process of change through projects that
promote the co‐responsibility of future fishery resources, promoting a thinking where
they consider themselves trustees and custodians of the sustainability of marine
resources and their habitats for future generations.
The creation of opportunities for participation and dialogue between states and the
artisanal fishing sector directed towards the co‐management of fisheries, by
promoting the participation of artisanal fishermen in the diagnosis, planning,
management and monitoring of artisanal fishing.
The creation of Marine Protected Areas of Fishing Interest, co‐managed as a suitable
tool in different contexts, giving the central role of sustainable management to the
artisanal fishermen and giving them prominence and visibility in their efforts to
develop projects aimed at sustainability.
The promotion of differentiated marketing of artisanal fishing as a denomination‐of‐
origin product with added social and environmental value.
The transfer of sustainable development methodologies and knowledge among
artisanal fishing communities and organisations worldwide and the sharing of
successful experiences, in order to disseminate and enhance the good practices
developed by artisanal fishermen.
Bestowing artisanal fishermen a more equitable representation in Regional Fisheries
Management Organisations so they can defend the sustainability of resources.
ANNEXE: THE CASE FOR CO‐MANAGED AREAS OF FISHING INTEREST
There is excessive competition for fishery resources.
Exploitation costs grow higher due to the increase in fishing efforts and the decrease in
Control and audit systems are inefficient despite high investment from public
Tensions between fisherfolk and public administrations often impede the necessary
spirit of mutual understanding and compromise.
In certain regions, these tensions can be aggravated by short‐term local political
interests within both the fishermen's representative organisations and the public
administrations. This can result in favourable treatments for some organisations which
create obstacles for comprehensive agreements with the artisanal fishing sector as a
Fisheries management systems, influenced primarily by industrial fisheries' interests,
fail to address the complexity of artisanal fishing communities and the variety of
fishing gear and interests.
The majority of current management models fail to involve artisanal fisherfolk and
Illegal fishing contributes to worsening the situation.
Proposals: Co-managed Protected Areas of Fishing Interest represent?
Pilot projects, managed by a management body made up equally of public
administrations and artisanal fishermen, in order to create a more complete and co‐
responsible scenario to build a new shared decision culture between the state and civil
Opportunities for consolidation of this entire scenario, through continuous dialogue
and negotiation between artisanal fishermen and public administrations to accomplish
the sustainability objectives identified.
A response, from the artisanal fishing sector itself, to the lack of productivity of the
coastal ecosystems on which they depend.
A practical formula to reduce excessive competitivity for limited resources.
A tool to avoid the over‐exploitation of fishery resources.
An effective way to address administrative loopholes and the pace of bureaucracy,
biased in favour of capital‐intensive industrial interests, and local specificities.
A bottom‐up opportunity for artisanal fisherfolk to be partners for sustainable
development, thus minimising the management costs, which, in most cases, make the
current system unsustainable.