StewardFish Examination of Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) related International Guidelines
Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) is advocated as a means of natural resource management focused on the conservation and sustainable use of the whole ecosystem. The approach is not new; its key principles have their roots in earlier natural resource management instruments, as well as indigenous management practices and customary tenure developed millennia ago. There are now a number of international agreements and instruments which describe what EAF entails, its guiding principles and how it is implemented. Despite this attention, countries have been challenged to put in place measures required to give effect to the principles at the national and local level. In the Caribbean, there is a supportive political foundation for EAF, however, most countries are making slow incremental progress. To support operationalization of EAF principles in the Caribbean the StewardFish project recommends the development of both regional and national-level practical EAF Codes of Conduct by and for persons in the fishing industry. Following a methodology previously used in Barbados to develop a local fisheries code of conduct, we outline an iterative social learning process of development for these codes, which emphasizes industry engagement, formal endorsement, implementation and participatory monitoring and evaluation.