Final Report - 2014-206-DLD - Measurement of Fisheries Compliance Outcomes A preliminary National Study
This report presents the results of a project undertaken by a group of Australia and United States based fishery compliance experts to assess and compare methods for measuring fisheries compliance outcomes that can be used to assess and compare the effectiveness of fishery enforcement and compliance assistance activities. This eight month project was requested in 2013 by Australia’s National Fisheries Compliance Committee (NFCC) as a way to provide fisheries compliance groups with improved methods for measuring and tracking the effectiveness of their activities and for justifying and managing their budgets. Measures of compliance ‘inputs’, such as patrol hours, and compliance ‘outputs’, such as numbers of contacts or inspections, are used routinely by compliance groups to manage their activities. On the other hand, ‘outcome’ measures that can be used to assess and compare the effectiveness and impacts of these activities, such as changes in observed non-compliance rates, changes in risks to stocks and related changes in fishing conditions, are not widely used. These outcome measures fall into three general categories: immediate outcomes (e.g. numbers of violations detected per patrol hour); intermediate outcomes (e.g. changes in numbers of violations detected per patrol hour); and final or long-term outcomes (e.g., improvements in biological and economic conditions in fisheries that result from compliance activities). Long-term outcomes are by far the most important and reflect how compliance activities contribute to fishery management goals, but they are the most difficult to measure and attribute specifically to compliance activities. Immediate and intermediate compliance outcome measures, therefore, are important not only as management tools, but because they serve as leading indicators of important long-term compliance outcomes that are difficult or impossible to measure directly.
Previous work in Australia and elsewhere to measure compliance outcomes in fisheries have had limited success. This is primarily because the scope of the task was underestimated and because ‘output’ measures that reflect levels of enforcement and compliance assistance were frequently conflated with ‘outcome’ measures that reflect the effectiveness of those activities. Changes in some compliance outcome indicators, such as increases in observed rates of noncompliance, are also very easy to misinterpret and misuse. For example, they could reflect less effective enforcement providing less deterrence or more effective targeting of enforcement resulting in higher detection. This difficulty in interpretation makes the development of outcome indicators less popular among some compliance agencies than simple input and output measures. The goal of this project was to identify, assess, and compare methods for measuring and interpreting fishery compliance outcomes that have been employed or proposed for use; and to make recommendations regarding which methods should be developed and tested to help manage Australian fisheries.
Principal Investigator: Timothy Green
Key Words: Australian, fisheries, performance indicators, recreational, commercial, illegal fishing, non-compliance rates, survey, risk-based regulation
Summary: The project was broken into four parts:
1) A review of the literature related to the development and use of compliance outcome measures, especially in fisheries. Initial stages of this review revealed that there has been very little research aimed specifically at measuring fishery compliance outcomes, so the scope was broadened to examine more general measures of fisheries compliance and illegal catches, how regulators outside of fisheries have undertaken the measurement of compliance outcomes, and of the use of performance-related management indicators in fisheries.
2) A national and international survey of fishery enforcement/compliance experts was undertaken to collect information about types of enforcement and compliance assistance activities being employed and about current and planned uses of input, output, and outcome measures.
3) A workshop of fishery enforcement/compliance experts from multiple fisheries regulation agencies as well as representatives from the Australian Taxation Office and Australian Crime Commission was convened to review, interpret and draw conclusions from the literature review and survey results, and to assess the pros and cons of methods and best practices for developing fishery compliance outcome measures.
4) Preparation of a final report which provides the most up-to-date and thorough review that is available of methods to develop fishery compliance outcome, and provides defensible and documented recommendations for developing and testing them to improve management of Australian fisheries.