FarFish is an EU Horizon 2020 funded project with 21 partners. The project is led by Matis, a food research and biotechnology company which is a close UNU-FTP partner.Informaiton about the project can be found at www.farfish.eu
UNU-FTP’s role in the project is oversight of th ework package dealing with capacity development and dissemination. UNU-FTP is also represented on the Project Management team.
In the Capapcity development and dissemination work package, UNU-FTP is responsible for conducting training needs assessments in the project case study countires and institiutions. These incluse IMROP in Mauritania, CRODT in Senegal, INDP in Cape Verde, and SFA in Seychelles. UNU-FTP is also responsible to creating training activities for these institutions based upon their identified needs.
In addition, UNU-FTP is responsible for oversight of all capacity building and dissemination activities int he FarFish project.
In 2013, the EU fishing fleet caught 4.8 million tonnes [[i]], of which roughly 21% came from non-EU waters [[ii]]. Approximately 13% were taken from the international waters and 8% from within the waters of countries that have signed bilateral agreements with the EU, granting EU vessels access and restricted fishing rights. These agreements are of two types, i.e. northern agreements and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) [[iii]]. The northern agreements are with countries in the Northern Atlantic that have shared stocks with the EU and have therefore signed joint management agreements allowing the EU fleet access to their waters in exchange for similar access rights in EU waters. The SFPAs are with non-EU countries that are not fully utilising their fisheries resources and have consequently agreed to allow EU vessels to fish surplus stocks. The SFPAs are intended to enhance fisheries governance for sustainable exploitation within the relevant waters and contribute to stable fish supply and development in the fisheries sector [[iv]]. The agreements include financial support which aims to promote sustainable fisheries development in the partner countries by strengthening their administrative and scientific capacity.
Governance of fishing resources in international waters (also referred to as high seas) is usually subject to regional governance through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs). RFMOs are intergovernmental regional fishery bodies or arrangements formed by countries with fishing interest in the same area or same target species. Some of them manage all the fish stocks found in a specific area, while others focus on particular highly migratory species, notably tuna or tuna-like species, throughout the area in which these species migrate. The organisations are open both to countries in the region (“coastal states”) and countries with interests in the fisheries concerned (“distant water fishing nations”). While most international waters are covered by at least one RFMO, significant spatial and fishery gaps still remain, leaving large oceanic areas and/or fisheries of particular species without any management or control.
Many of the countries that have signed SFPAs with the EU lack the infrastructure and know-how to sufficiently manage and utilise their marine resources. Biological knowledge and control of the fisheries are weak, which is also often an issue in international waters [[v]]. The management measures in these fisheries are often based on limited science, and management decisions are made in the context of limited enforcement capabilities. Understanding of the biology and ecology of target and by-catch species in these areas are incomplete, and appropriate stock assessment and management tools need to be further developed and implemented to provide a more solid knowledge base and advice on fisheries management. Increased accountability and transparency are needed to improved compliance.
The role and responsibilities of the EU fleet are significant in ensuring sustainable utilisation of the resources to which they are allowed access, whether that is under SFPAs or in international waters. The fleet should therefore cooperate with the RFMOs and national authorities in partnership countries to improve knowledge and make management more effective. The EU should also place emphasis on strengthening capabilities in the partner countries they have SFPAs with, to efficiently manage and utilise fisheries resources. This will ultimately lead to sustainable utilisation, increasing the long-term profitability of all stakeholders.
The overall goal of FarFish is to provide knowledge, tools and methods to support responsible, sustainable and profitable EU fisheries outside European waters, compatible with Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). To achieve this, FarFish will develop practical, achievable and cost-effective fisheries management tools and advice which can be applied immediately. The work will be done in collaboration of scientists, policy makers, resource users and other stakeholders aimed to improve fisheries management competences. FarFish will provide a better knowledge base of these fisheries and encourage resource users to actively take part in the management, thus empowering them, generating a sense of ownership and enhancing compliance. The overall objective for FarFish is therefore formulated as follows: FarFish will improve knowledge on and management of EU fisheries outside Europe, while contributing to sustainability and long-term profitability.