Dr Tosh Moller, Dr Brian Dicks, K.J. Whittle (Torry Research Ltd.) and M. Girin (CEDRE)
Paper presented at The International Oil Spill Conference 1999, 7-12 March 1999, Seattle, USA
Fishing and aquaculture harvesting bans are increasingly used as an oil spill management tool, with the intention of protecting public health and consumer markets. Such bans are easily imposed, but a rational basis is needed for maintaining and lifting them. Scientific criteria offer the best prospect for administering fishery bans in a consistent way, but recent marine pollution incidents reveal contradictions in their application. Inconsistencies can be found when comparing oil spills in different countries, and also when the response to different types of pollutant are compared. This paper explores the approaches for managing activity bans in the fisheries sector following oil spills. Examples are drawn from recent oil spills attended in North America, Europe, and Asia. Recommendations are made for caution to be exercised in the application of fishing and harvesting bans and for the adoption of sound criteria for monitoring their effectiveness.