Implementation of EAF

The implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)

A partnership between the Benguela Current Commission and the EAF-Nansen project makes provision for the funding of three projects that will facilitate the implementation of an EAF in the Benguela. The projects are:

  • Implementing a process which allows the review (auditing) and tracking of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management;
  • Integrating the human dimension of an EAF into fisheries management in the BCC region; and
  • Guidance on institutional arrangements that support an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

The first project is adapting the tracking tool that was originally developed for South Africa by the global conservation organisation, WWF. The tool is used to monitor and assess progress with the implementation of EAF and it is being developed for the use of the three countries of the Benguela region. Ecological risk assessments (ERAs) are being updated so that comprehensive lists of the problems, weaknesses and oversights experienced in a wide range of fisheries may be identified and prioritised on the basis of the magnitude of risk they pose to the optimal and sustainable use of ecosystem resources. The tracking tool is used to assess the implementation of the management actions recommended by the ERAs.

Special attention is being paid to building the capacity of scientists and managers so that they are able to participate fully in this and other EAF projects in the Benguela.

The goal of the second project is to ensure that social and economic factors are included in the fisheries management decision process, thereby reducing the subjective and often unstructured way in which social and economic considerations are included in fisheries management in the Benguela region. It involves the collation and organisation of existing information and knowledge and the identification of knowledge gaps with respect to the social, cultural, economic, political and governance dimensions of fisheries management. The project aims to introduce a more holistic and integrated approach to fisheries management in the Benguela region.

The third project will assist the three countries of the Benguela region to make the adjustments necessary for the practical implementation of an EAF. It will identify what the participating countries require in order to effectively manage fisheries in accordance with EAF principles.

All three projects are expected to strengthen the regional implementation of an EAF by building the necessary institutional arrangements. Moreover, the EAF projects implemented by the BCC are expected to make valuable contributions to the growing body of international experience with the application of an ecosystem approach.