Publications

Technological Development and Fisheries Management

Eigaard, O.R.; Marchal, P.; Gislason, H.; Rijnsdorp, A.D.

Summary

Many marine fish stocks are overexploited and considerable overcapacity exists in fishing fleets worldwide. One of the reasons for the imbalance between resource availability and fishing capacity is technological development, which continuously increases the efficiency of the vesselsa mechanism referred to as technological creep. We review how the introduction of new and more efficient electronic equipment, gear design, engines, deck equipment, and catch-handling procedures influences the capture efficiency (catchability) of commercial fishing vessels. On average, we estimate that catchability increases by 3.2% per year due to technological developments, an increase often ignored in fisheries management. The documentation and quantification of technological creep improves the basis for successfully integrating the effects of technological development (and catchability changes) in fisheries management regulations and policies. Ways of counteracting the undesired effects of technological creep are discussed as are the potential management benefits from improved fishing technology. Specific suggestions are given on the selection, application, and tuning of fisheries management tools that can be used to improve the balance between harvesting capacity and resource availability.