Original Articles

An ecosystem approach to fisheries in the southern Benguela context


The 2001 Reykjavík Declaration on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem and the Plan of Implementation of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development highlighted the need in fisheries to look beyond considering only the target species and to consider in fisheries management the impacts of fishing on the ecosystem as a whole, as well as the impacts of the ecosystem on fisheries. This paper examines the practical implications of progressing towards ecosystem approaches by reference, in particular, to the FAO technical guidelines on the topic. It goes on to examine the major fishery types in South Africa and the southern Benguela, and to consider the probable impacts of those fisheries on target species, bycatch species and the ecosystem, as well as the indirect impacts on other affected species. The review reveals that all fisheries have impacts beyond the target species and that an ecosystem approach is required in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the living marine resources of the southern Benguela and the ecosystem as a whole. Finally, the likely obstacles to successful implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries in the southern Benguela are discussed.

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