REPORT ON THE CIAC 2003 CONFERENCE IN THAILAND - SASMIA Chairman: J.D.Tucker
The conference consisted of a workshop followed by a symposium, held over three and four days respectively. Eighty posters and one hundred and thirty papers were presented.
The conference was well attended and delegates appeared to represent most countries or regions in which cephalopod fishing takes place. The value of the interaction between these scientists was immediately obvious. Although the conference covered all types of cephalopod, many with no obvious bearing on our own fishery, the sharing of theories, results and methodology as well as plain and simple face to face contact between researchers must certainly have the effect of streamlining and focussing our own South African research.
From a lay-mans point of view, there was a large amount of advanced biology that was, at times, difficult to follow, as well as a lot of topics with little relevance to the South African squid fisherman. In general, however, it was highly informative and an excellent learning experience and I would recommend that industry participants who intend partaking in the management of the fishery, attend future conferences.
I found the posters to be a particularly effective instrument for informing both scientist and lay-man as it provides a "snapshot" of a project. Congratulations to Karen Dorfler and Mike Roberts on their poster entitled "The Dynamics of Benthic Turbidity on the Spawning Grounds of Chokka Squid and Links to Catches". I intend to ask Mike to have this and other posters of relevance to our industry posted on the SASMIA website and possibly on display at the general meeting.
Papers presented by the South African delegation were:
An abstract of "Management of the squid fishery in post apartheid South Africa" is as follows:
CO-OPERATIVE MANAGEMENT IN THE SQUID INDUSTRY IN SOUTH AFRICA - BUILDING A SYSTEM
by, Warwick Sauer1 and Jim Tucker2
Of all the fishing sectors in South Africa the squid industry has had arguably the best cooperation between industry, scientists and managers with a strong Industrial Association. Entry of South Africa into a new democratic era has brought with it a challenge to build stronger linkages between industry and government. With the publishing of the White Paper on Marine Fisheries Policy in 1997, and the passing of the new Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) in 1998, the fundamental policy and regulatory framework for fisheries management in South Africa were put in place. However, finding a way that would ensure that the under-representation of historically disadvantaged individuals or companies in the fishing industry presented a massive challenge to a Government department that was, at the time, ill equipped to implement the MLRA, not least as it required significant re-engineering of the South African fishing industry. Inadequate administrative capacity, yet new major new and added responsibilities since 1992 resulted in a virtually permanent state of crisis management not helped by a system of annual allocation of rights and very limited discussions with the commercial fishing sectors. A process to completely reinvent fisheries management in South Africa commenced in 2000. Part of this strategy was to build a rational, legally defensible and transparent allocation system that met critical transformation targets. Due to time constraints allocations had to precede prior to the new policy being in place. Although imperfect the squid industry in general accepted the revised allocations and the industry now enjoys rights for the next 4 years. Co-operative governance will be key to ensuring future successful management of this fishery, with both industry and government accepting responsibility. We now need spell out the nature of the links between industry and government to establish a form of co-operative governance that is able to meet the requirements of the MLRA.
The paper basically discussed the socio economic implications of cephalopod and other fisheries management systems, particularly in developing fisheries, against a background of the recent South African experiences. It served to highlight the fact that no international guidelines exist from which to draw, and posed the question of whether the council should not place more emphasis on the socio economic aspects of cephalopod fishery management as opposed to concentrating on pure science. The presentation was well received. I was later informed by various delegates and council members, that this was indeed what had been contemplated at the inception of the council, but that it had subsequently evolved into its current status as a forum for pure science. The theme of the next conference (Tasmania 2006) is to be "management".
While it was gratifying to note the high regard in which our South African researchers are held by their peers, it did not reflect well on the South African delegation that Dr Marek Lipinski, who was to be the convenor of Session 1 of the symposium was unable to attend due to an administrative snarl up. It was also alarming to note that, as with our cricket and rugby, the Australian researchers appear to have outstripped their South African counterparts. They have, in a few short years managed to complete their work with statoliths and are applying the results, whereas, although our sampling has been complete for some time, these samples lie waiting in a laboratory for someone to do the work. I was particularly impressed by the work of Belinda Mc Grath of the University of Tasmania.
In conclusion I must thank SASMIA and the Research Fund Committee for affording me this valuable opportunity to expand my knowledge, hopefully to the benefit of the industry, as well as Mike Roberts and Warwick Sauer (together with the fine ladies of Thailand) for their guidance and assistance, without which this experience would have been far less rewarding.
1. Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140