|Exercising national jurisdiction over natural resources - such as fishstocks, water or land - enables a state, either directly or through delegated authority, to reduce or eliminate the risk of overuse and other degradations. This is achieved inter alia by controlling access to the resources: implicitly or explicitly allocating the resources to selected individuals or groups of people. Allowing some to access and use the resources, while excluding others, creates rights to the stream of benefits that arise from the use of the resource. However, property- or use-rights in fisheries is often controversial because of differing interpretations of the concept, the variety of forms that property rights might take, and equity problems occurring when rights are created. |
At international level, governance arrangements are often inadequate and do not result in effective management of fisheries. Reasons often include:
The relationship between environmental and fisheries conventions and agreements is also a problem. Issues that are frequently raised in relation to good governance practices are the use of subsidies in fisheries, participation and transparency of management, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. However, a number of important international instruments adopted during the last decade of the 20th century have improved the governance framework. The 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement and FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing are among the most important of them. Similarly, the FAO International Plans of Action (IPOAs) adopted by FAO member states improve the likelihood of improved governance of fisheries.
- weak decision-making mechanisms;
- ineffective enforcement and conflict resolution;
- ecosystem and jurisdiction boundaries do not coincide;
- and, in most developing regions, a lack of human and financial resources.