Each section of a sector study can be considered under the following broad headings:
sector review, or “stocktaking”;
options for development.
A sector study presents a picture of the industry as it is (the stocktaking), analyses its strengths and weaknesses (diagnosis) and then presents the options, or recommendations, for development.
As the team of consultants examines different aspects of the industry, this three-step procedure should be regarded as the basic framework.
There will be frequently a significant volume of available information about the fisheries sector. A great deal of it will be irrelevant to a sector study.
A sector study team selects some of the available information for use in the preparation of the report or in its presentation. The principal criterion of selection is the relevance of information to obtaining a sound economic picture of the sector.
The reader of a sector study needs to know what the contribution of the industry is to national economic well-being. Thus, the sector review summarises in clear and unambiguous terms the value of what society puts into the fisheries sector (such as vessels and other fishing inputs, government administration, land and water, the workforce, research establishments, etc.), and the value of what it gets out of the sector in exchange for the resources which it puts into it (such as fish for human consumption, employment and export earnings). Other criteria for inclusion are discussed in section 5.
The centre-piece of the sector study is the analysis of the facts selected in the sector review. As the sector study examines the different resources used by industry-financial, human resources, research and administrative inputs-it diagnoses what are the defects in their use and makes recommendations on their improved use.
Another way of expressing this point is that a study analyses how society can get the same outputs and benefits from the sector in exchange for fewer inputs, or more outputs and benefits for the same inputs.
Thus, a diagnosis is a normative exercise in which the strengths and weaknesses of the sector and its opportunities and threats are identified and analysed.
This section of a sector study is usually a convenient place for the team to review the goals and objectives which have been set for the industry and propose modifications in the light of the evidence available.
Such a statement provides a basis for the options for development. In most cases, the elaboration of the options for development will form the major part of a sector study.
The principal output of a sector study is a statement of the options for development. This statement is the basis of the strategy to be subsequently formulated.
The ways in which statements of options for development are framed will be dependent upon the circumstances. In some cases, two or more broad options, with their attendant policies, designed to meet the government's goals, will be presented for the government to make a choice between them as the basis for its sector strategy. In other cases, a single broad option might be proposed.
The options thus presented will be reinforced with a description of the policies to implement them.
Two illustrative examples are shown in Box 1.
Box 1: Examples of linkages between fisheries sector studies and fisheries development strategies
Example 1: Options for development presenting a choice between options to achieve a specified objective
In a country with increasingly limited opportunities to fish in distant waters, the government may have set itself the goal of not providing public subsidy to support the industry. In this context, a sector study might set out, in broad terms but with as much quantification as possible, the available options.
In the analysis part of the study, the costs and benefits of as many options as possible would be examined. As a result of this analysis, it may be concluded that there are two viable options: first, abandonment of long-distance fishing and, second, scrapping the major part of the fleet and modernization of the balance.
In the section dealing with options for development, the study would outline the different policy instruments which might be adopted under each approach, for example, retraining and job creation schemes, credit for upgrading of vessels, etc.
After careful review of the sector study, the government would then opt, if it wished, for one of the recommended paths. The government's preferred option would be the basis of its strategy.
The preferred option would be the subject of more detailed work in the strategy formulation. Policies would be defined more closely and possible policy instruments would be analysed to determine their likely impact on the sector.
Example 2: A single option for development to meet a stated objective
A study of the fisheries sector of an African country where aquaculture development in the past has not met expectations might set out the options for development. cont.
In its stocktaking of the sector, it may have become clear that aquaculture development efforts in the past had not always been focused in the most appropriate areas and that much effort had been dissipated because of inadequate funds within the Department of Fisheries to provide useful research and an effective extension service.
In its analysis, the study may have identified the key research requirements for different kinds of aquaculture and means of delivering extension services, although it would probably not have been able to do more than arrive at order of magnitude costs and likely level of benefits.
The option for development described by the study may propose that further studies be undertaken and describe a number of ways in which the constraints to aquaculture development could be removed. These might include certain organizational changes in the fisheries department, close cooperation with the Agriculture Department, and a number of others.
The Government would then be able to consider its strategy on the basis of the option presented to it. The means adopted would be further expanded in the government's strategy to include the policy instruments required, including any administrative changes which might be needed. The planning of specific initiatives, conceivably focused in particular regions, would have been unlikely to have been included in any detail in the sector strategy but would form part of the sector plan.
Within the overall option which a government might adopt as the basis of a strategy, a sector study team should provide the government with specific recommendations.
Some brief examples of recommendations are shown in Box 2. In a sector study, of course, the recommendations would be expanded, as far as possible, by an analysis of costs and benefits of the proposed changes, including the foregone benefits of not implementing them-the opportunity costs.
It is usually appropriate for a study to concentrate on a limited number of options which will enable the government to meet its goals, which are realistic and sustainable, and which carry support. Although, as noted above, such options for development represent the views of the sector study team, not those of the government, much time in the future can be saved if the options proposed are discussed thoroughly with appropriate government officers before their finalization.
Nevertheless, it is important, also, that a sector study team should maintain its independence and objectivity. For example, the government of a country with potential for shrimp culture might wish to see the sector study recommend a target figure for an increase in the quantity of farmed shrimp produced. It is likely, however, to be more important that existing shrimp production should be conducted efficiently within an appropriate legislative framework, and that it should make a significant social contribution, and not cause unacceptable damage to the environment. In such cases it would be better if sector studies described the options for development, rather than quantified a particular development path. In any event, even if the sector study was able to identify scope for an increase in farmed shrimp production, it may not be possible to provide a credible estimate of the expected increase in production until specific commercial shrimp farming projects have been prepared.
Similarly, it may not be possible to quantify a government's objectives to reduce post-harvest spoilage until projects have been formulated.
Box 2: Examples of sector study recommendations
Example 1: Monitoring and control of offshore fishing
The system for the monitoring and control of offshore fishing operations is in need of overhaul. A corps of fisheries inspectors under the management of the Fisheries Department should be established. It should have its own career structure, supplemented by a system of regular appraisal. The Fisheries Department should present its proposals to Ministers as a matter of urgency.
Example 2: Quality control of fish exports
As imports into the European Community are subject to hygiene regulations, some changes in fish exporting establishments will be required. It is recommended that consultants be contracted to undertake a review of fish processing standards with a view to presenting recommendations for the quality control of exports and for the training of government quality control inspectors.
Example 3: Consultation with the industry on fisheries management
It is recommended that a formal consultative procedure for fisheries management be introduced. Representatives of the fisheries sector and fishing communities should be invited to a biannual consultation at which the Fisheries Department will table a statement with the likely outlook for fish catches within the subsequent months and years. The criteria for invitations to the consultative meetings should be predetermined and based on conditions designed to ensure that participants at the meetings are representative of a significant section of the sector.
Example 4: Feasibility study of the expansion of port infrastructure
Port infrastructure does not meet the current requirements of industrual fishing vessels. It is recommended that a detailed review of requirements be undertaken with a view to assessing the costs and benefits of modernising and expanding facilities.
A sector study team, and particularly the team leader, should have the experience and personality to discuss such issues with the government and arrive at a solution both the government and a sector study team can work towards.
Sector studies have often been associated with long lists of possible interventions and possible projects. The view taken here is that this approach is generally mistaken because the proposed interventions are usually presented without considering how they fit into an overall view of the scope for development. Notably, they rarely take into account the opportunity costs-the cost of foregoing an option-of different development paths.
There are other criticisms of the “shopping list” approach, including the fact that it rarely takes into account institutional capacities, the sequence in which projects should be undertaken, and institutional capacities.