III. ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING OF FISHERY RESOURCES IN SAMOA
F. Methodologies used in other countries
1. Selected methodologies and their effectiveness and weaknesses
Even though the Pacific Islands may have retained enough of a traditional infrastructure to be a relatively good foundation for the application of good governance principles, most governments have not until recently given active encouragement to community or traditional participation in coastal fisheries management. In a few cases there has been active discouragement, but the majority, until recently, have not pursued any policy at all and have been restricted to crisis management (usually involving an export commodity). Lewis 1996.
Most countries of the world have poor records in sustainable management of fisheries resources and as a result, these are in almost universal decline (Weber 1994). Norse, 1991, stated "the entire marine realm, from estuaries and coastal waters to the open ocean and the deep sea, is at risk." This situation developed despite the extensive efforts of fisheries scientists to assess and monitor fishery resources for management purposes.
Until very recently, inshore fisheries, especially subsistence and recreational fisheries, have been almost totally ignored while fisheries scientists concentrated on large scale, single species commercial exploitation. Because of this bias, fishing quotas and gear restrictions, and limited entry to fisheries were only applied to the commercial, not recreational or subsistence, fishers.
In Australia and New Zealand, size limits, fishing seasons and some gear limits now apply to recreational fishing, but these are poorly enforced because of the inability of limited staff members to police the whole coastline. Recreational fishers do not need a licence and any number of them can fish a stock. This has created tensions between commercial fishers - who are subjected to fishing licence quotas - and recreational fishers - who are not.
Dealing with the large, diffuse recreational fisheries has challenged the fisheries organisations in Australia and New Zealand. The New Zealand Ministry for Fisheries recently began monitoring the catch and effort of recreational fishermen using trained volunteers to conduct surveys at boat ramps. Questionnaires include information on areas fished, fishing gear and boat used, fishing methods, time spent, numbers of fishermen in a party, and composition of the catch.
These data quickly showed the recreational fishery was a large and important sector and had a significant impact on the nearshore fishery resources. Catch and size limits were tightened for both recreational and commercial fishers, especially for fisheries of declining stocks of fish or invertebrates. Some species of shellfish were protected by fishing moratoriums.