Development of SEAFDEC regional guidelines on co-management by means of group user rights
In the Southeast Asian context, small-scale fisheries, which involve either full-time or part-time activities in inland and inshore waters, constitute the major part of the sector. With a view to developing and improving the management of small-scale fisheries, 'group user rights' are considered essential under a co-management system. In line with the principles set forth in the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, SEAFDEC initiated activities which resulted in the development of 4 sets of regional guidelines for responsible fisheries in Southeast Asia, dealing with fishing operations, aquaculture, fisheries management and post-harvest practices and trade. The SEAFDEC Secretariat has clarified and introduced the concepts of rights-based fisheries and co-management for small-scale fisheries. To facilate further development of these concepts, the SEAFDEC Secretariat developed the Regional Guidelines for Co-management Using Group User Rights for Small-scale Fisheries in the ASEAN Member Countries. These guidelines are intended to provide a regional reference for countries that are interested in implementing and improving the management of their small-scale fisheries using group user rights and co-management. They generalize regional fisheries issues in the broader context rather than focusing on specific national situations. The guidelines consist of 5 key sections: 1) Supporting national policy; 2) Supporting legal frameworks; 3) Fishing rights; 4) Mechanisms; and 5) Institution building in co-management. They need to be adapted to each national management system and to local specifications, in order to build upon experience and existing systems and utilize available resources for the greatest benefit of each Member Country.