The original Control of Foreign Fisheries project (R4775) aimed at developing a suitable framework for decision-making in the planning of surveillance, enforcement and quantification of licence fees for developing countries. The results of the project revealed a number of general principles underlying optimal management of foreign fishing activities by a coastal state.

An important output of the project was a simple spreadsheet-based management 'game' incorporating these principles, designed to demonstrate both the problems of licensing foreign fishing vessels and potential solutions to fishery managers. However, the model was based on simplified assumptions, and therefore there was a need to examine how well these results transferred to the practical situations faced in developing countries.


This project examined how effectively theoretical results derived in project R4775 transferred to practical situations through case studies of tuna fisheries in the Seychelles, the South Pacific and the British Indian Ocean Territories and the toothfish fishery around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

In the South Pacific, the special needs of island states in relation to management of their tuna fisheries were determined through collaborative research with Forum Fisheries Staff, leading to modifications to the methodology. Analysis of catch-effort data from tuna fisheries in Seychelles waters was used to estimate the benefits of different fleets fishing within the EEZ. Models of surveillance were developed and used along with the catch-effort analyses, to investigate optimal license fees, fine levels and surveillance activity for long-line and purse seine fleets. Similar analyses were carried out for the remaining case studies in the British Virgin Islands, the British Indian Ocean Territory and South Georgia.


The project successfully demonstrated that the methodology developed during the Control of Foreign Fisheries research project can be applied to develop practical advice on management of foreign fishing, but that it is first necessary to undertake two types of analyses. Firstly, catch and effort data pertaining to fishing both inside and outside the coastal state's EEZ must be analysed to determine estimated benefits to foreign fishermen of fishing within EEZs. Secondly, estimates need to be made of the probabilities of detection and successful arrest of unlicensed fishing vessels arising from different levels of surveillance activities. It is necessary to tailor both types of analyses to match the particular fisheries and surveillance characteristics of the region or country.

Each of the case studies emphasised the importance of imposing large fines for illegal fishing activities. This was also a primary conclusion of the original Control of Foreign Fisheries research project.