The principal purpose of a sector study is to provide a coherent and concise appraisal of the fisheries sector. It describes the sector, analyses its problems and opportunities, and presents options for its development.
A sector study is primarily, but not exclusively, an economic document. It is concerned with the contribution of the fisheries sector to national economic welfare. The use of the term “welfare” in the document follows conventional usage and refers to the highest possible level of material welfare for the consumers of a society, net of nuisance outputs (or externalities2) and adding in unreported and non-market incomes.
A sector study can also be thought of as an examination, in depth, of the supply and demand for fish. On the demand side, it analyses the domestic and export markets for fish and fish products. On the supply side, it examines the factors underlying the supply of fish. These are extremely diverse. They include biological, technological, institutional, social and economic considerations. Through the analysis of the supply and demand for fish and fish products, a sector study aims to present the development options of how a country can make the best possible use of its fish resources3.
To say that sector studies are economic documents does not mean that the analysis is exclusively economic, as indicated by the factors which constrain supply, referred to above. The unifying theme of a sector study is the examination of the economic resources that society puts into the sector compared to what it gets out. To examine these, studies must be wide ranging and cover all relevant aspects of the industry. The role of institutions of all kinds in facilitating the functioning of the sector must be examined. The relationship between the sector and the environment is important because the industry has an impact upon the environment and is influenced by it. A sector study must also address social concerns. These are often acute in the fisheries sector, not least because excessive fishing leads to low and uncertain earnings for fish producers and population pressure may contribute towards overfishing (Pauly, 1990).
2 Externalities are changes generated by an agent and having an impact elsewhere other than through the price mechanism. Examples: a fisherman entering a fully exploited fishery generates a resource cost, or an “externality” on existing users by bringing about an increase in their operating and/or a fall in their revenues; a factory discharging an effluent which kills fish imposes a cost, or externality, on fisherman through their foregone revenues. A fuller treatment of externalities is given in section 6.3.
3 In economics, the term “resource” is used to denote any input (also known as a factor of production), used to produce outputs. A subset of resources are natural resources which are raw materials provided by nature. These include renewable natural resources, such as fish and timber, and non-renewable natural resources, such as minerals. Whilst labour, and ultimately machines (the other factors of production) are also ultimately products of the natural world, natural resources are generally distinguished from these on the ground that their management presents special problems.
In addition, sector studies should take account of issues which are important to the welfare of communities but not readily susceptible to economic analysis. For example, it may be that a racial, religious, cultural or gender group within the fisheries sector suffers a degree of social discrimination which is a source of public concern. It would be important, in this case, for a sector study to state the facts, analyse the origin of the problem, propose relevant meliorative developmental change and, certainly, take account of the issue in the development options presented in a study.
Unless circumstances-such as the requirements of the sponsor-dictate otherwise, a sector study is normally based primarily on currently available (secondary) data complemented by interviews. Usually, the team undertaking a sector study would not be expectedto undertake any original research.
The team leader has to maintain a balance between the requirement for information which is essential to arrive at an appraisal of the sector, and that which might be obtained later or cannot be obtained in the time or with the funding available. For example, if analyses of the dynamics of the fish populations exploited by the country's fleet are not available, asector study would not normally include one; the data requirements would be too great and the time available for a study would be too short. However, such a study would be expected to recommend further studies of fish populations, if relevant to the country concerned.
This does not mean to say that limited investigations in the field should never be undertaken. However, the budgetary and time implications of using, for example, rapid rural appraisal techniques to seek the views directly of local people, often means that the decision to do so has to be taken when the consultant is preparing the workplan for a study (see also section 9).
As noted above, a sector study deals with the principal economic features of the fisheries sector; it will not usually include detailed economic or other calculations. For example, if a study recommends improved fish-landing facilities for artisanal fishermen, it would not be expected to include a technical and economic feasibility study of a proposed facility.
A sector study will not normally include historical information unless it has a significant bearing on the current status and future potential of the industry.
To summarise, a sector study is a readable document which is not unnecessarily long. It should not include information which has little bearing on the overall themes of the document; it concentrates on data which support the main arguments of the study.
A good study of the fisheries sector will:
Offer judgements on sector development policies and suggest ways in which the sector's contribution to development may be enhanced;
propose an appropriate balance between the roles of the public and private sectors in the development process;
determine investment priorities in the sector as the first step towards the identification of programmes and projects;
review the capacity of the institutions in the fisheries sector to advance its development;
identify gaps in information or further studies that should be undertaken;
contribute towards the formulation of development policies and strategies for the country as a whole;
initiate the planning process.