Law, policies, and management plans

Providing advice, support, and training in policy and legal matters for Pacific Island coastal fisheries management to ensure sustainability and long-term benefits for communities

Coastal fisheries are embedded in the culture and lifestyle of Pacific Islanders. The region hosts a wealth of diversity with thousands of communities depending on marine resources for their livelihoods. Increasing population, overfishing, and land-based pollution are some of the main threats to vulnerable coastal ecosystems. Integrating available science and local knowledge, FAME provides support and advice to Pacific Island Countries and Territories’ (PICTs) fisheries agencies for the development of coastal fisheries management measures that are duly consulted and locally adapted to ensure environmental sustainability with long-term benefits for Pacific Island communities.

FAME’s coastal fisheries and aquaculture team provides technical advice to SPC members on law and policy matters to ensure that over 4000 coastal marine species are managed sustainably. FAME works at both national and sub-national level, upon request by PICTs, also to implement regional policies to meet localised needs, such as A new song for coastal fisheries - pathways to change: The Noumea strategy and the Pacific Framework for Action on Scaling-Up Community-Based Fisheries Management. In each PICT, an overarching fisheries policy or strategy may be adopted to define the main governmental objectives for the coastal fisheries sector at national level. This policy or strategy may then inform the adoption of new or revised legislation, such as fisheries acts and regulations, or fisheries management plans, including national and community plans.

Two men in a small fishing boat on the lagoon.

Consultative processes

The team offers advice and expertise in policy and legal matters in a range of areas required to adopt coastal fisheries management measures, both through regulations and management plans. To ensure effectiveness and increased compliance, coastal fisheries management measures are agreed in a consultative process driven by the respective PICT fisheries agency involving local communities, fishers and other stakeholders. Laws, plans, and policies can also enable community-based fisheries management (CBFM) to ensure remote islands’ fishing grounds are protected and looked after by local fishers and community members. All consultations and community-based initiatives follow local and traditional practices, and management measures are designed by the national fisheries agencies in consultation with the customary fishing rights holders.

How can we support?

PICT requests often also include support in the development of a draft bill on coastal fisheries (or aquaculture), a set of regulations to implement the main act, sectoral policies or strategic documents, and management plans, often by fishery or species (for example, aquarium fisheries or trochus fisheries). Depending on available data and information on local status and conditions, we may assist in choosing appropriate management measures to control certain fisheries, such as quotas, export licences, size limits or gear restrictions. We provide technical input to draft policies, acts, regulations or plans, as well as training in the preparation of those documents. We can also provide support in organising consultations and making sure documents are ready for review and endorsement by national or subnational authorities. Our programme offers on-demand training workshops on policy, plans, and legislation development, and is developing an online training course on legislative drafting for coastal fisheries.

Through our comparative database REEFLEX, FAME facilitates access to coastal fisheries laws and policies to all counterparts, stakeholders and partners. FAME also prepares policy briefs and comparative reviews of current coastal fisheries laws and policies in PICTs from different angles, including gender, social inclusion and human rights.

Further reading

Graham A. and D’Andrea A. 2021. Gender and human rights in coastal fisheries and aquaculture: A comparative analysis of legislation in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Noumea, New Caledonia: Pacific Community. 108 p.

Graham A., D'Andrea A. 2021. Gender and human rights in coastal fisheries and aquaculture law - SPC Policy Brief #36. Noumea, New Caledonia: Pacific Community. 4 p.

O’Connor S., D'Andrea, Ariella., Recio-Blanco, Xiao, Devez, Solène. 2023. Legal guide to enabling and strengthening coastal fisheries co-management in the Pacific. Noumea, New Caledonia: Pacific Community . 212 p.

Sauerwein A., D’Andrea A., Vapnek J. 2021. How to draft effective coastal fisheries and aquaculture legislation. SPC Fisheries Newsletter 164:53–60.