Implementing ESD – Introduction

Whilst the high level objectives of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) are relatively simple in concept, translation of these high level objectives into operational objectives at the fishery management plan level has proved difficult to achieve, both in Australia and elsewhere.

Most fisheries agencies have had measures for some components, particularly those related to the biological sustainability of target species.  However, without clear objectives, indicators and performance measures for all aspects of ESD, agencies risk being unable to demonstrate that they are achieving – or even pursuing – ESD.

To demonstrate that ESD is being addressed requires an appropriate conceptual framework that maps out:

  • how the general ESD objectives will be applied in the fisheries context;
  • the scope of the issues that will be addressed; and
  • how progress will be reported and assessed.

The choice of framework is important because it impacts upon the value of the processes and information generated by the agency in conducting its core business, the accessibility of the process to the general public, and ultimately whether the entire process is successful or not.

A number of projects funded by the FRDC are currently underway to assist in the implementation of ESD for fisheries and aquaculture.  This includes projects to

  • develop reporting methods for ESD;
  • provide the tools to industry to improve their environmental performance; and
  • assist the fishing industry to apply these tools;
  • develop methods for ESD assessment.

Each of these projects is described in more detail on the next page.

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