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August 1999 No. 13
XIth Annual Conference of EAFE,
6-10 April 1999
The Annual Conference
and General Meeting of EAFE took place in Dublin this year, and was hosted
by Ireland's Marine Institute in the august and historic surroundings of
Dublin Castle. The remarks of one member of the Bureau, "not many battlements,
or dungeons", on first seeing the place were reasonable enough., because
the castle has undergone quite massive remodelling, mainly in the eighteenth
century, when it was turned into a series of graceful Georgian administrative
blocks of buildings including the magnificent State Apartments for the then
government. Much later refurbishment, carried out for Ireland's entry into
the European Community, created the magnificent conference centre at the
north-west corner of the castle in which the Conference took place.
The Conference was opened
by Ireland's Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, Dr. Michael
Woods, T. D., whose welcoming speech, is given in full in this Bulletin,
together with the reply of the President of EAFE, Dr. Pavel Salz.
The Minister also hosted
a reception for the Conference on Wednesday evening in the superb State
Apartments of the Castle, at which the Marine Institute was represented
by its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Peter Heffernan, Board Member Michael
Manahan, representing the Institute Chairman, Dr. J. P. Crowley who sent
a greeting, David Griffith, Director of Research at the Institute's Fisheries
Research Centre, and John Browne, head of the fish stock assessment division.
Also present was keynote speaker Professor Lee G. Anderson. An evening of
drinks and networking was enjoyed by all.
Regrettably, keynote speaker, Professor Ragnar Arnason, was unable
to be at the reception due to a death in the family. We greatly appreciate
the short visit he did take the trouble to make to give his keynote address,
and sincerely sympathise with him and Mrs. Arnason in their family loss.
On Thursday evening, some
delegates availed of the opportunity to sample Dublin's theatre scene, and
on Friday afternoon there was an excursion to the scenic areas of the Wicklow
Mountains. This was followed by the conference dinner in the evening, where,
in the Killiney Court Hotel, with its beautiful view over the sea, the guests
were entertained to dinner and folk-dancing, - and, of course, "a few
jars". We were joined by John Farnell, Director at DG XIV, Mrs Farnell,
and Dominique Levieil, in preparation for "European Day" on Saturday.
While it may be dangerous
to single out participants for mention, it may also be reasonable to do
so to some extent to show how they lent diversity to the company present.
It is salutary that the majority of fisheries economics research workers
should meet some of the people whose industry and livelihood are permanently
subject to the effects of fisheries economics. On this score it was good
to have Frank Doyle, General Secretary of the Irish Fishermen's Association
attending and presenting a paper. Fishing boat owner/skipper, Lorcan O Cinneide,
from Dingle, Co. Kerry, also attended.
Your Editor and Conference
Secretary Paul Hillis felt extremely satisfied with the outcome, and ended
up being plied with compliments from every direction. He must, however acknowledge
the enthusiasm with which the Marine Institute threw itself behind the job
of organisation once the invitation to come to Dublin had been issued and
accepted. Thanks are due to the Minister for the importance which he accorded
to the event, and to Chief Executive Peter Heffernan for facilitating it
so effectively, but above all to the hard-working team of John Joyce, Gillian
Markey and Helen Boles, whose work put into preparation, organisation, and
servicing the participants at the conference reception was enormous and
very efficiently carried out. They were ably helped and supported during
busy periods by Anne McDaid and Jim Carroll. A very big 'thank you' to all
these and to the courteous and efficient Castle staff is in order and is
- Conference papers
Ragnar Arnason's keynote
address dealt with the costs of fisheries management, - which he found over
different countries to lie in the range of 3% and 30% of the value of the
landed catch, - and the effectiveness of different types of management structure.
He argued that analysis of the performance of fisheries without including
the costs of management gave an incomplete and distorted picture. He concluded
by considering the suitability in terms of mutual motivation of four scenarios
regarding provision of and payment for management services, - (1) Traditional,
government provides and pays, (2) Cost recovery, government provides, industry
pays, (3) Contracting out, private sector provides, government pays, and
(4) Self-management, fishing industry provides and pays. He saw least problems
with the fourth option overall, though he did not discuss in depth the issue
that fishing fleets may consist of diverse factions which may not trust
each other enough for effective management of their shared fishery. It was
generally an interesting paper, though not necessarily one with which all
existing fisheries managers might be particularly comfortable.
Lee G. Anderson's keynote
address analysed the report of the National Academy of Sciences to the U.S.
Congress on Individual Fishing Quotas, which he stated to be essentially
similar to Individual Transferable Quotas. The main concern of Congress
was to avail of the generally good features of IFQ's (optimising harvesting
rates) without their disadvantages, (unearned [windfall] gains and equity
related distribution problems). With this in mind, the three main issues
addressed were initial allocation, transferability, and accumulation limits.
In a review most interesting to Europeans due to its novel perspective on
a number of issues, Lee commended the work generally, whilst noting that
many of the recommendations that were made embodied principles which he
felt should be applied to most or all types of fishery management regulation,
such as the recovery of regulation costs and rent generated by the fishery.
This last provision will strike many European workers as having a potentially
major problem of political unpopularity.
European Day was opened
by John Farnell, Director, DG XIV, European Commission, whose speech outlined
Commission thinking on subsidies to fishing in a (developed) world where
overfishing is a major problem and one where subsidising of fishing exacerbates
it. He recognised the reasons for subsidies, outlined the changes which
were turning mainstream fisheries management thinking against them and pressures
in favour of retaining them, and predicted future trends accordingly. He
drew attention to an important role for economists in analysing the extent
of the subsidy element in the various government measures proposed. Dominique
Levieil also gave his by now familiar outline of opportunities and procedures
for EU support for research planned for the coming year.
The thirty-three papers
submitted to the Conference included fifteen on management, eleven on markets,
five on socio-economics, and one each on the environment and aquaculture.
The management papers covered wide-ranging aspects including an important
Dutch paper on the modelling of fleet economic performance, and Dutch and
French studies of the effectiveness of management measures which have now
been in place for long enough to assess their effects on the fisheries.
Other topics covered included highgrading (from Ireland), discarding (France)
bycatch (UK), sustainability (Germany), optimal state (Spain), uncertainty
(Norway), property rights (Norway), and depleted fishery restoration (Ireland).
Papers in the markets
section included an important Norwegian paper on European whitefish price
parity, British, French and joint British-French papers on market delineation
and two (Danish and British) on modelling of demand. There were also papers
analysing fish as components of the food industry (UK), on efficiency (UK),
markets with development- (UK) or supply- (Portugal) related problems, and
environmentally friendly marketing (UK).
The socio-economics area
contained two French papers, on diversification from commercial fishing
to a partly recreation-orientated mixture of activities, and on seasonal
interaction between two very different local inshore fisheries. It also
included two Irish papers, a criticism of the socio-economic effects of
over-dependence on economic efficiency as a policy goal and a case study
of a remote fishing community, and a British contribution analysing economic
In a German paper on the
environmental economics of the Baltic Sea and its fisheries, Ralf Döring
called for either a conference, or a dedicated session at the IIFET 2000
Conference at Corvallis, Oregon, USA in 2000, to consider the economic,
ecological biological and social problems of the Baltic in a holistic way.
The only paper on aquaculture was also the only non-keynote presentation
from outside Europe and was a survey of small-scale carp culture in southern
India, presented by Ram Jayaraman.
- And the newspapers said.....
The conference received
coverage in the national daily, The Irish Times, which focussed on John
Farnell's speech, noting particularly his predictions of reduced assistance
to the industry in the future, based on a number of factors, including the
perceived connection between overcapacity and overfishing. The paper noted
that this showed some contrast in tone with the recent report of the Irish
Sea Fisheries Board (BIM) seeking to increase structural funding for the
marine sector. The article also briefly reported Lee Anderson and Frank
The fishing industry monthly,
The Irish Skipper, was more forthright. "EU want fish, not fishermen"
stated its front-page headline, over an article that spelled out the logical
and anticipated impact of the EU's quest for cheap food on the position
of EU fishers. It concluded with the verdict that the clause that said that
workers in the fishing industry should receive a proper living was not the
driving force of the policy. It also, on page 2, included a review of the
conference, mentioning the ground it covered, and countries represented,
and gave a brief resume of the Minister's address and papers presented by
Irish workers including Paul Hillis, David Meredith and Frank Doyle.
- Opening Speech by the Minister,
Dr Michael Woods, T. D., with the reply by the President of EAFE, Dr. Pavel
It is a pleasure to welcome
you all to Ireland. I am delighted to see so many distinguished fisheries
economic experts here in Dublin Castle. I congratulate the European Association
of Fisheries Economists on its work over the last decade. You make a valuable
contribution to the international understanding of the problems and challenges
facing the fishing sector.
I would like to thank
the Marine Institute and the EU Commission for organising this conference.
I am particularly impressed by the wide-ranging and heavyweight agenda that
you will be addressing over the next three days. Each of the themes is critical
in its own right but they are also closely interrelated. I welcome and support
the growing recognition, here in Ireland and at EU and international level,
of the need for an integrated approach to tackling both the economic and
scientific challenges inherent in fisheries management.
The management and conservation
of our fisheries resources, meeting the needs of supply and demand, market
strategies and the socio-economic dividends to be obtained from sustainable
fisheries development, cannot individually be treated in isolation. They
are all closely interdependent. Strategies for the sustainable management
of the fisheries resource, designed to ensure supply, must therefore be
matched by efficiency, competitiveness and quality to meet the needs of
the demand side.
As Minister responsible
for all aspects of the Irish fisheries sector, my policy objective is to
support and encourage all components of the sector to develop a 'partnership'
approach and to tackle the challenges for the Irish industry in an integrated
and co-operative way. I strongly support partnership between the fish catching
and processing sector and the scientists as well as fisheries managers and
decision makers. When I established, last December, the National Common
Fisheries Policy Strategy Review Group, my first priority was to ensure
that we brought together all the key players from the catching, aquaculture
and processing sectors as well as other key expertise. A strongly integrated
approach to exploring and identifying the scope for improvements in the
Common Fisheries Policy is essential. Our national negotiating position
is best served by a coherent approach to the many issues involved in the
evolution of the Common Fisheries Policy, as well as the 2002 Review itself.
The Irish Government is
committed to supporting and facilitating the sustainable development of
the national fishing industry. The contribution of the sector as a whole,
from catching and aquaculture to processors and exporters, is vital for
jobs and economic activity in our coastal regions. In line with the Government's
policy objectives for the sector, I am giving priority to the necessary
conservation and developmental strategies to ensure sustainable fishing,
continuity of supply, and the goals of quality, efficiency and competitiveness
on the EU and world markets.
In the last year or so,
we in Ireland have taken important initiatives designed to address the challenges
facing the sector. The Whitefish Fleet Renewal Programme, involving an investment
of some £60 million, will deliver long needed modernisation and renewal
of the whitefish fleet in line with available fishing opportunities. This
will lead to better continuity and quality of supply for the Irish fish
processing and export sector, enabling the demand side in turn to maximise
price, value added and market opportunities. We have also put in place a
new legal framework for the licensing and development of aquaculture to
the highest environmental standards. This will ensure that aquaculture as
a growing supplier of raw material to the processors can play its full part
in delivering jobs and value added for the Irish seafood sector.
The potential for further
significant development has been strongly underlined by the Seafood Strategy
2000-2006 of the Irish Sea fisheries Board (BIM) which I launched some weeks
ago. This Strategy highlights the undoubted economic opportunities that
can be delivered for the sector through cohesive and innovative investments.
The industry has given its full backing to this approach and I am working
with the Irish industry and BIM to secure the necessary investment support
over the medium term.
In that overall policy
context, I welcome, and applaud, the emphasis that this conference is giving
to an interrelated approach to the scientific economic and socio-economic
factors at work in the complex business of fisheries. Such an approach is
essential if the Irish and European fisheries sector is to develop in line
with emerging global trends and market challenges. Solid research and analysis
is vital in its own right, across all elements of the fisheries chain, from
resource management and stock assessment to product quality and market analysis.
Basic research, and innovative RTD strategies are critical to delivering
on the sustainable development objective. The Marine Institute itself has,
in its Marine RTD Strategy, charted the way forward. The Strategy directly
complements and underpins the Development strategy, for the Seafood Sector
drawn up by BIM.
This is a hugely challenging
era for fisheries as a whole. We are all keenly aware of the threats to
depleted stocks and of the need to ensure a viable future for the resource
and for the communities that it supports. I am working to deliver new and
innovative strategies for the Irish fishing industry based on sustainability,
quality and market opportunity as well as responsiveness to consumer needs.
We can only break the mould if scientists, economists, managers and the
sector itself work together in a new partnership. I am committed to supporting
and working for this partnership approach in the Irish and EU fisheries
context. The work of this conference will be a substantive contribution
to our national strategic thinking and to the international experience as
well. We all share the global challenge of fisheries conservation, management
and development. This conference is an excellent opportunity to explore
common solutions to that shared challenge. I wish you well.
Dr. Pavel Salz, President
of EAFE noted that the Minister's stressing of the importance of sustainable
fisheries. He observed that this was a topic that received attention among
biologists under the heading 'precautionary approach'. "In order to
contribute to this discussion", he continued, "we as economists,
should start considering what should be understood under the definition
'economics of sustainability'? What constitutes sustainability in socio-economic
terms? How much can fisheries economists learn from environmental economists
in this respect?" He also concurred strongly with Dr. Woods' mention
of the need for partnership between government and industry. In this partnership,
economists could play an important role by supplying the information required
as a basis for sound dialogue.
Further conference details
will soon be available on this website.
Fisheries Research Centre