ReefLex web app home page
A test version of the ReefLex (Pacific Law & Policy Database on Coastal Fisheries & Aquaculture) web ap went live early 2019 as part of the Pacific Community (SPC)-implemented Coastal Fisheries Governance Project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
This app is designed to allow users to access and compare laws and policies related to coastal fisheries and aquaculture management in 23 Pacific Island countries and territories (22 SPC member countries and Timor Leste). It targets decision-makers, fisheries managers, specialists and researchers as well as civil society. Graphic redesign work is currently underway to improve its usability and, in that way, better guide visitors.
ReefLex is more than a simple compendium of documents. To facilitate understanding of the legal framework of coastal fisheries and aquaculture in each country or territory, the database offers three tools, i.e. a document search tool, a regulations analysis tool and an overview tool currently under development.
Search tool: accessing laws and policies by country or territory
This tool assembles about 1000 documents arranged by country and type (constitutions, laws, regulations, policies and management plans) from many different areas such as fisheries, aquaculture, navigation, the environment, etc. These documents have been selected from more than 30 online sources of information (government sites and international legal databases) or are digitised versions of documents SPC has collected during fieldwork (particularly in terms of legislation by local bodies).
Once the user has selected the country, the tool displays a list of both key and related documents, (e.g. fisheries legislation and the regulations implemented to apply that legislation) along with any amendments or modifications. The tool provides an overview of each document in the form of a datasheet containing, in particular, a link to the PACLII file, i.e. the University of the South Pacific’s legal database, and a summary from FAOLEX, i.e. the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s legal database. The user can also download the document directly if it is available in PDF format.
Analysis tool: comparing management measures between several countries or territories
This comparative tool allows users to quickly access provisions in country/territorial legislation without having to consult the legal documents themselves. It began with the information contained in an SPC publication (2005) entitled Size limits and other coastal fisheries regulations used in the Pacific Islands region. That information was then verified in detail and supplemented via a thorough analysis of coastal-fisheries-related legislation and regulations.
Users will be able to compare extracts of regulations from each country, categorised by species or group of species (bivalves, crustaceans, sea cucumbers, gastropods, fish, etc.) as well as by type of management measure (fishing bans , protected areas, fishing seasons, minimum catch sizes, fishing or aquaculture licenses, trade regulations on fisheries and aquaculture products). Each provision is displayed along with references to relevant legislation and any possible penalties in the event of non-compliance.
Overview tool: understanding the legal framework of each country or territory
This overview tool, currently being developed, contains country factsheets that provide the legal, political and institutional profiles for each country, along with communication materials developed by SPC (e.g. posters, leaflets). This part of the database is designed to provide background information that is vital for analysing and understanding regulations and to facilitate access to the awareness-raising materials available.
ReefLex is constantly being improved and updated, especially to make it easier for the general public to use the database. Interested fisheries departments can request direct access to ReefLex to put new legislation approved in their countries online themselves. In that way, users will have access to the most recent documents and up-to-date information.
Ariella D'Andrea, Costal Fisheries and Aquaculture Legal Advisor, SPC | [email protected]
Franck Magron, Coastal Fisheries Information and Database Manager, SPC | [email protected]
Céline Muron, Information and Outreach Officer, SPC | [email protected]