Sustainable Fisheries Management and Biodiversity Conservation of Deep-sea Living Resources and Ecosystems in ABNJ

Objective

Enhance sustainability in the use of deep-sea living resources and biodiversity conservation in the ABNJ through the systematic application of an ecosystem approach.

This project will focus on four areas:

Component 1: Policy and legal frameworks for sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation in the ABNJ deep seas

Component 1: Policy and legal frameworks for sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation in the ABNJ deep seas


Outcome 1.1. Improved implementation of existing policy and legal frameworks, incorporating obligations and good practices from global and regional legal and policy instruments for sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation, are tested and disseminated to all competent authorities

  • Challenges to the implementation of international policy and legal instruments identified and remedial measures are formulated
  • Step-wise guide for implementation of relevant international policy and legal instruments to deep-sea fisheries and biodiversity conservation made available to competent authorities, industry partners and other stakeholders
  • Model policy and legal frameworks, enabling sustainable DSF management and biodiversity conservation at the regional and national levels, developed and integrated into legislation in at least one region
  • Options for market-based incentives (e.g. trade certification and eco-labeling) developed and tested in at least one selected pilot area


Outcome 1.2. Global and regional networks are strengthened and/or expanded

  • Collaborative networks and partnerships, including all stakeholders involved in ABNJ-DSF and biodiversity conservation, strengthened or set-up, with links to global and regional communities of practice under the ABNJ Programme

Component 2: Reducing adverse impacts on VMEs and enhanced conservation and management of components of EBSAs

Component 2: Reducing adverse impacts on VMEs and enhanced conservation and management of components of EBSAs


Outcome 2.1. Improved application of management tools for mitigation of threats to sustainable DSF and biodiversity is demonstrated

  • Biological, ecological and economic analyses of DSF and associated biodiversity in the ABNJ carried out, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, to classify risks and threats and identify VMEs
  • Interactive web databases, for identification and use in mitigation of threats to sustainable DSF and biodiversity in ABNJ, particularly for VMEs and components of EBSAs, improved for use in regions in close collaboration with all stakeholders
  • Indicators for the identification of potential VMEs and for description of areas meeting EBSA criteria, developed in at least one pilot area
  • Improved fishing practices to reduce impacts on VMEs and marine biodiversity, developed in at least one pilot area


Outcome 2.2. The capacities of stakeholders are developed to use improved management tools for mitigation of threats to sustainable DSF and biodiversity

  • Customized support provided to at least ten developing countries to fully integrate best practices for sustainable DSF and biodiversity conservation in their management processes
  • Technical and operational support on the application of VME and EBSA criteria provided (including training), for systemic use by countries

Component 3: Improved planning and adaptive management for deep sea fisheries in ABNJ

Component 3: Improved planning and adaptive management for deep sea fisheries in ABNJ


Outcome 3.1. Planning and management processes for achieving sustainable DSF and biodiversity conservation are improved, tested, and disseminated to all competent authorities

  • Best practices, methods, and tools for comprehensive management planning, encompassing an ecosystem approach and allowing for adaptive changes, reviewed and adapted to the special conditions of DSF in the ABNJ
  • Adaptive management processes demonstrated, including identification of management objectives and priorities, through participatory risk analysis in at least one pilot region
  • Objective-based indicators and reference points (related to target species, catch/bycatch composition, biodiversity, etc.) selected and a related monitoring program for DSF in the ABNJ tested in a pilot region
  • Action plan for adoption of best MCS practices, adapted to the specific conditions of DSF in the ABNJ, formulated and adopted in one pilot area
  • Options for improved management measures for sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation – including: (i) encounters with vulnerable species/habitats; (ii) spatial management tools; and (iii) fishing operations aimed at mitigating adverse impacts on sensitive habitats and ecosystems – developed and disseminated

Component 4: Development and testing of a methodology for area‐based planning

Component 4: Development and testing of a methodology for area‐based planning


Outcome 4.1. Efficient area-based planning tools and good practices based on ecosystem-based management are made available to competent authorities

  • Adaptation and further development of available area-based planning tools addressing deep-sea ecosystems in ABNJ and connected exclusive economic zones (EEZs). These tools include trade-off analyses, ecosystem service valuations, and cost-benefit analyses
  • Knowledge and experience sharing from the Northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean concerning deep-sea marine ecosystems and area-based planning, to support other competent authorities, including RSPs and RFMO/As (linked also to other information sharing initiatives such as, e.g. Outcome 1.2) and will be coordinated with the relevant outputs of the Global Capacity Project


Outcome 4.2. Area-based planning in the ABNJ is incorporated into the regional marine planning processes in selected regions through partnerships between competent authorities

  • Testing of area‐based planning tools in the selected regions
  • Science-based and policy relevant advice on area-based planning and management applied in regional deep-sea ecosystem planning processes in the selected test regions with engagement of relevant stakeholders through partnerships between competent authorities

About

Deep-sea fisheries in the high seas occur in waters beyond national jurisdiction on continental slopes or isolated oceanic topographic structures such as seamounts, ridge systems and banks.

These deep-sea fisheries comprise a small yet valuable part of ABNJ activities.  FAO estimates that the total global catch in 2006 of approximately 60 deep-sea species was around 250 000 tonnes worth more than US$400 million and involved at least 27 flag States. From a biodiversity viewpoint, the ecosystems in which these fisheries take place are unique – the seamounts and the water column above them serve as habitats for many benthic organisms and marine mammals. The potential negative impact of fishing on these critical habitats that support globally significant biodiversity has become an issue of international concern. In response, concerted efforts by many organizations, such as the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMO/As) responsible for the management of fish stocks in ABNJ, have been undertaken. This project seeks to build on such efforts, make use of best practices and address other key issues necessary for the global sustainable use and conservation of these marine resources.

It will contribute to improving deep-sea fisheries management and biodiversity conservation through the harmonization of conservation and sustainable use following the principles of the ecosystem approach, while testing innovative and appropriate management tools. The successful implementation of this project would represent a significant step towards the sustainable use of deep-sea fish stocks as well as protection of associated bycatch species, ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity in ABNJ.

       

 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    

          

Interim North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC)