Establish territorial fishing use rights
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Territorial fishing use rights is an area-based way of managing marine resources that gives exclusive harvesting rights to fish in a specified area to certain groups of people. These are usually allocated to and managed locally by groups of fishers working in a cooperative system. They may also be part of co-management systems with the government under national or regional frameworks. Territorial fishing use areas can be used to control fishing mortality and enforce fisher compliance. The benefits may include resource and habitat conservation and improved community participation and decision-making at a local scale.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A study in 2007–2011 of reef and lagoon areas of an inhabited coral reef island in the Pacific Ocean, Tonga (Webster et al. 2017) found that after establishing new territorial fishing rights (exclusion of fishers from outside areas) under a new co-management system in an area, total fish catch rates did not increase in the five years after, catch rates of half of the six individual species groups decreased and there was no decrease in overall fishing effort. No differences in total fish catch rates and catch rates of three of six fish groups (Acanthuridae - Naso spp., Holocentridae, Lethrinidae) were found since implementation, but catch rates of the remaining three (Acanthuridae - Acanthurus spp., Scaridae, Serranidae) decreased (data reported as statistical results). In addition, no difference in overall fishing effort was found (data reported as statistical results), but the authors reported that this was likely to be due to reduced travel to fishing grounds further away by resident fishers with the new exclusive rights. Co-management formally commenced on the island of ‘O’ua (one of 170 Tongan Islands) in 2007, covering a marine area of 4,606 ha, of which 203 ha is a no-take zone. Only residents on ‘Ou’a can fish the co-managed area, whereas before, there was access also to fishers from neighbouring islands and small commercial vessels from the main island group. Fish catch landings (species and weight/trip) were sampled each year between 2007–2011 (total 184 records), collected opportunistically from individual fishers (see original paper for fishing types). Catch data from spearfishing only was used for statistical analysis.Study and other actions tested