Decision Making Process
Decision Making Process: Total Allowable Catch (TAC) determination and quota allocation procedure
Decision making process follows legal and customary standards. Fishery management system allows various groups to participate in the decision making process including one of the most important related to total allowable catch determination.
The TAC setting process involves the Federal Fishing Agency (FFA), working with scientific institutions regional management agencies, fishing companies, and NGOs in consultative decision-making process. As an opportunity for external review, the FFA submits proposed TACs to State Ecological Expertise made by the Ministry of Natural Resources. State Ecological Expertise is a scientific and expert panel which is formed of scientists independent from the FFA management system (mostly from Russian Academy of Science). A public ecological expertise also seeks opinions from citizens and NGOs. When results of ecological expertise are received and taken into account, FFA approves the TACs formally and distributes them.
Figure: Inter-Organizational relationship of Russian TAC setting Process
TAC determination is multi steps procedure providing opportunities for comprehensive internal and external expert review, industry and public participation.
Stage 1 is the initial step in the process when TAC and PC (possible catch) substantiation materials for all species are presented for review at the biological subpanel sessions of a relevant fisheries institute. Such sessions are attended by representatives of TINRO (or other institute) Academic Council members as well as the representatives of the Territorial Administration of Federal Fishing Agency, Primorsky Territory Government, fishing companies, fishery associations and media.
In respect to Pollock fishery scientific surveys and reviews are conducted by the Russian Far East fishery scientific institutes — KamchatNIRO, SakhNIRO, MagadanNIRO with a leading role of TINRO.
At the stage 2 the Far Eastern Forecasting Council reviews summary materials on projection of TAC and PC in FE basin for next year are review. This Council is a collegiate authority comprising the leading fishery experts and scientists in the Far East fisheries. It is established and operates within the framework of TINRO Research Technical Society — a public institution uniting all the fisheries institutes of the basin on a voluntary basis.
TAC and PC summary materials are initially discussed at specialized councils — similar institutions comprising main experts on some of the key objects of fisheries; the councils similarly work within the framework of TINRO Research Technical Society (e.g. Pollock Council, Herring Council, Salmon Council). The specialists of all fisheries institutes of the Far East basin participate in developing substantiation of the projection.
Next (step 3) the revised substantiation of TAC projection is forwarded to VNIRO for VNIRO Academic Council review. The Academic Council includes VNIRO leading fishery scientists and by outside scientific specialists (about 35 experts in total).
At the step 4 the TAC is reviewed by Fish Industry Council on Fisheries Forecast. The Deputy Head of Federal Fishing Agency acts as the Chairman of the Council. The Council is composed not only with scientists, but also with the industry representatives, and management bodies. The membership of the Councils is approved by the FFA order, and includes about 40 experts representing more than 12 bodies.
Pollock TAC projection is also reviewed at the regional level by Far Eastern Fishery and Scientific Council (DVNPS). DVNPS is a collegiate, (advisory) consultative body. It is formed with the representatives of FFA, FSB (responsible for enforcement), Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Agency (RosSelkhozNadzor), Antimonopoly Agency, Ministry of Natural Resources, and representatives of its territory divisions; fishery scientific institutes, fishing companies and associations, and representatives of indigenous of the Russian Far East and North.
Figure: Flow chart of TAC setting process
In distinction from Prognostic Council and Council for Forecast that are mainly scientific bodies and act under VNIRO, DVNPS plays a key role in decision making process. DVNPS reviews not only TAC forecast, but also all others changes and introduction to the fishery regulations. Its decisions have an advisory character (make by a voting majority) and put in force by the FFA approval.
The next stage (6) of TAC setting is public expertise of the proposed TAC and PC projection. Public hearings are held in each region of the Russian Federation involved in the fisheries in question. Besides, it is a requirement of State Environmental Expertise that the set of documents substantiating TAC and PC include letters of concurrence with regional authorities, whose interests are affected by the fisheries in question.
Next stage (7) is the external expertise and review of TAC and PC substantiation by the State Environmental Expertise that acts under Rostechnadzor Agency, Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation. The commission of experts (mostly from the Russian Academy of Science) reviews TAC and PC substantiating and supporting documents and draws a statement whether TAC and PC projection can be approved or it needs further revision. The statement of the expert commission signed by all its members is approved by Rostechnadzor Agency official order.
Basing on the State Environmental Expertise statement, the Federal Fishing Agency annually draws up and issues Order on approval of TAC (and PC) for all species with breakdown by basins and fishery zones in the Russian EEZ (step 8).
Next (step 9), basing the set volumes of TAC and fishery quotas allocation contracts previously signed with fishing companies, the FFA annually issues Order on distribution of aquatic biological resources catch limits for commercial and offshore fisheries. Such document allocates to each individual company a set quota of a certain fishery species which a company has a right to catch in the specified region throughout for next year.