| Fisheries Technologies for Developing Countries |
The future of traditional fisheries will be shaped by the attention given to their special problems and by the recognition of their unique value. Declining stocks of readily accessible fish, competition from industrial fishermen, high operating costs, less than optimal gear and vessels, poor storage and marketing facilities, and little access to credit all tend to limit development for fishermen in the traditional sector. Culturally and economically acceptable technologies can help with some of these problems, but policy changes and interventions must also be part of the assistance strategy.
The effort is worthwhile. Traditional fishermen are important contributors to the food supply in developing countries. They currently account for about one-quarter of the world's total fish catch-an estimated 20 million tons of a total of 80 million. Although only about one-fifth of the fish caught in Latin America come from the traditional sector, in Asia these fishermen provide
two-thirds of the catch, and in Africa, five-sixths.
Traditional fishermen are economically important for other reasons as well: their boats and gear are locally produced, easily repaired with local parts, and represent a low capital investment; their fish-capture techniques and propulsion methods are both low energy consumers. Commercial fishing boats and gear, in contrast, are largely imported, and therefore often require imported spare parts. Moreover, they require a high capital investment and consume large amounts of energy to reach and capture fish. There is also more wastage of by-catch from their operations.
Many developing countries have ignored traditional fishermen and have concentrated their assistance in industrial fisheries. Traditional fishermen have suffered more than neglect from this policy: commercial trawlers operating near shore can simultaneously harvest large numbers of fish (including juveniles) and destroy spawning and breeding grounds. The adverse effects for the traditional fishermen are both immediate and persistent; current stocks are depleted and the potential for recovery is reduced.
Developing countries could increase their fish harvest and improve the quality of life for their coastal dwellers by providing traditional fishing communities with access to modest technical and financial resources and by assuring protection for their fishing grounds. The evaluation and introduction of some of the technologies described in this report could initiate this process.
Information in this report was largely derived through a meeting (participants listed on pages iii-iv) at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences in Miami, Florida, August 13-15, 1985. Additional data was obtained through correspondence with fisheries experts throughout the world.