Asia is an important region in terms of fish trade supplying nearly 60% of global fish production. The region’s coastal fisheries play a critical role in ensuring food security and providing livelihoods, particularly for poorer sections of the community. This paper introduces a regional initiative in which eight Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam) undertook simultaneous, multi-disciplinary assessments of their coastal fisheries. The outputs of this initiative are presented in the next four papers of this volume of Fisheries Research. The assessments have highlighted two disturbing regional trends: coastal fisheries resources are severely depleted, biological and economic overfishing is occurring throughout the region. These are symptoms of the lack of effective management of fishing capacity in the region. This overview paper highlights the urgent need to reduce fishing capacity in the region. Only through such capacity reduction strategies can fish stocks be rebuilt to more productive and sustainable levels so that potential economic and social benefits from fisheries can be realized. Strategies need to be country- and fishery-specific and should focus on the development of effective access and property-rights regimes. For instance, countries need to explicitly allocate rights between small-scale and industrial fisheries, where resources are shared. This will require an understanding of the overlap between the sectors in terms of resource use and also the relative economic and social benefits from each sector.
Key issues in coastal fisheries South and Southeast Asia, outcomes of a regional initiative
Stobutzki, I.C., Silvestre, G.T., Garces, L.R. (2006)
Fisheries Research v.78:109-172