Assessment of marine resources and fisheries management
No parliamentary report has been made on this subject, except for those studies currently being carried out about biodiversity under the aegis of the Office by Senators Laffitte and Saunier. However, while the latest alarmist evaluations of the current state of the fish stocks (see Boris Worm et al, Science, 3 Nov. 2006) have instigated a particularly sharp debate, the media exposure of this issue hardly allows for a balanced and reasoned understanding. An evaluation of the fish stocks and of fishery management raises several important questions. The first such question is the role of research in determining state decision-making. Indeed, the authorities are completely dependent upon scientific data in estimating fish stocks, fixing catch limits, and determining proper methods. Secondly, fishing has become an issue of sustainable development. For many years, this activity was unregulated, with the fishermen removing as much as they could of an infinite resource. Such is no longer the case. In several regions, the stocks seem to have been over-fished, thereby threatening the fish species. A commonly held view is that fish farming should now take the place of "hunting and gathering". However, is this view, in fact, justified? This report is therefore eagerly-awaited by the professionals (fishermen and administrators), the researchers (working towards an ecosystemic approach), and the environmental NGOs. Furthermore, it seems pertinent in a sector for which the question has also been clearly raised regarding the relation between research independence and political decision-making autonomy. Finally, it raises fundamental questions concerning the issue of sustainable development: man's impact on decreasingly-wild environments and our responsibility for its proper management. This report is not concerned with the fishery resources of the interior waters (rivers and lakes), but it does consider marine aquaculture and shellfish farming. It therefore considers the management of the marine fish stocks in the broadest sense. Within these limits, this study on the role played by research in the evaluation of fishery resources and in fishery management has six objectives: - present an evaluation of the current state of the fish stocks, while taking into account the uncertainties; - evaluate the potential of aquaculture; - better understand the research perspectives; - evaluate French research in this domain; - take into account the sector's socio-economic dimensions, - as well as the European and international dimensions.
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Environment, Expert-based, Governance, Parliament involvement, Sustainability
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Office Parlementaire d´Evaluation des Choix Scientifiques et Technologiques of the French Parliament (OPECST)