Principles for Fisheries Management in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction - the Essential Role of Incentive-Based Approaches
Fisheries that intersect with the high seas, or areas beyond national jurisdictions (ABNJ), are ecologically, institutionally, and politically complex. These fisheries also generate enormous economic and social benefits, and have the potential to generate even greater benefits and wealth under improved management regimes that incorporate incentives. Governance gaps within international instruments for ABNJ fisheries are well recognized. However, reform through a global process is slow and highly contingent upon political will. While the need for incentives is critical to make up for the gaps in governance, the gaps themselves and the multilateral nature of ABNJ fisheries management make it impossible to achieve first best solutions. Thus, a new theory of change for ABNJ fisheries is needed that mixes State regulation and economic incentives in a way that achieves “smart,” sustainable, and equitable management. Drawing on the vast multidisciplinary literature and insights from the Common Oceans Global Think Tank on ABNJ fisheries, this publication presents nine principles for utilizing “smart mixes” of regulatory and incentive-based tools (instruments). The following nine principles for smart instrument mixes are explained further in the publication, bolstered by examples and case studies: 1. Ensure compatible instrument combinations 2. Calibrate interventions towards points of least resistance, lowest cost, and maximum impact 3. Sequence or scale interventions as necessary to achieve goals 4. Empower participants to act as surrogate regulators and enable voluntary initiatives 5. Maximize opportunities for net gain outcomes 6. Consider and harness the responsiveness of stakeholders (bottom-up matters) 7. Consider top-down relationships, opportunities, and constraints 8. Monitor and adapt the smart mix in light of its effectiveness 9. Assess performance and adoption of better interventions ABNJ fisheries are broad in scope and scale, and are composed of heterogeneous States and fishers with varied incomes and motivations. The result is that risks, expected costs, speed of transformation, scale of investments, and returns from these fisheries are highly variable. Thus, the nine principles should not be viewed as prescriptive. Instead, the principles provide guidelines for managers and policy makers to reflect on existing management, and steer stakeholders through an adaptive process to effect change. The biggest takeaway is that there is no single solution or path. Instead, these principles indicate solid directions to proceed, tempered by general conditions found across case studies presented here and in the wider OPP body of knowledge.