will note that the process of expansion and improvement under the previous
editors has been temporarily halted. We can only hope that it is a case
of "reculer pour mieux sauter". It seemed wiser on this occasion
to get a slim issue out on time rather than delay so as to produce a fuller
one. In particular we need to focus attention early on next year's conference
if we are to maintain the high standard of contributions. Authors and organizers
need adequate notice for this to happen.
President makes it clear that our current paramount challenge is communication.
I would hope that our membership will respond with a flood of information
and opinion. That will ease the Editor's task of sustaining interest. More
importantly it will allow the Association to maintain the progress shown
in the first decade.
a stimulus to our debate it may be helpful to have the views of a former
agricultural economist and fisheries administrator. Two points immediately
strike someone with this perspective. The first relates to the gaps in the
system. The second relates to the social environment and its impact on the
messages within the system.
first is the lack of an extension or advisory service comparable with that
available to farmers. The latter can get not just advice on technology but
also on business. The continuum from scientific research through to running
a profitable farm exists. This is not so with fishing; commercial interests
and the inventiveness of fishermen look after the development and dissemination
of technology very effectively; but they do not cope so well with financial
implications for the fishermen. There is no general tradition of costs and
earnings surveys providing management guidance. This need has to be and
is filled by bankers, accountants, fish salesmen and others but only to
some extent. The space between marine science (and fisheries economics)
and the fisherman as a businessman is filled to a large extent by politicians
and administrators. This does not seem sensible.
second is the lack of an acceptable and defensible system of ownership of
the basic resource. Farmers have fences and rights which are recognized
not just in law but in other people's respect for their property. Enforcement
is the exception in farming rather than the rule (as it is in fisheries)
and where needed is often inexpensive and easy. Enforcement in fishing is
difficult and expensive with the added drawback that it is seldom seen as
effective. Furthermore public and occasionally court sympathy with the transgressor
compounds the problem. There is an intuitive belief in open access to the
resources of the sea and this belief is confirmed by the fact and tradition
of virtually universal rights of peaceful navigation. In addition the proven
dangers of sea fishing support the view that fishermen are due something
in return for their courage, other than convictions for offences perceived
as technical or obscure by most people.
the particular perspective of these comments will provoke the readership
to constructive thoughts. Such responses should at least balance the argument.
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