Macroeconomic computer models are normally useful to enable the consultants to estimate the contribution of the fisheries sector to the national or sub-national economy, albeit at a preliminary level. It is also valuable to have a means of predicting the impact of changes to the industry, implying the requirement for a team member who is able to set up the model on a computer. The numbers are useful but will probably not include many of the external costs and benefits. These must be handled qualitatively; they must not, on any account be ignored.
Industry models for the assessment of the added value of marginal and intra-marginal fishing industry businesses will provide significant insight. In this case, the requirement is for accounting data which can be adapted to generate added value statements. The basic need is for accounts of representative firms and, if possible, marginal firms. However, the sponsors and the team should be aware that such commercially confidential information may be difficult to obtain.
Economists have developed a number of summary measures to describe the impact on economic welfare of various policy measures (summarised in Chapter 2 of Ellis, 1992). For example, there is the effective rate of protection or ERP. This is the ratio of value added, calculated in domestic prices, to value added expressed in world prices. Policies such as import quotas or import tariffs cause the value added in domestic prices to be above the value added in world prices, so the ERP is then greater than 1. Conversely, if domestic prices are suppressed, the ERP falls to less than 1. In general, however, the use of measures such as the ERP is not recommended unless they are specifically required by the sponsor. They are more useful for larger studies of the entire agriculture sector, rather than for the fisheries sector. Reviews of fisheries need to be more closely focused on specific problems of the sector; general ratios do not shed much light on the fundamental problems of the sector.
FAO has developed some user-friendly computer programs for bio-economic analysis (Sparre and Willmann, 1992) which can help to focus research. Experimental values can be put into the model to see what pattern of industry structure emerges. However, the mathematical complexity and data requirements of such models mean that the sector study is more likely to identify those features of the fisheries activities which might be susceptible to bio-economic analysis, providing advice on where more comprehensive research would be valuable, rather than going into a full bio-economic analysis itself. This feature implies that at least one member of the team should be a trained fisheries economist.
The techniques of “rapid rural appraisal” provide a systematic approach to speedy data collection and analysis.
The FAO “Guide for Training in the Formulation of Agricultural and Rural Investment Projects” (Garzia, 1986) provides a summary of the quicker approaches. The approach is essentially relatively informal, relying on interviews and dialogue with key personnel. The Asian Development Bank (1991) has published a comprehensive guide to what it terms “Rapid Social Appraisal”, an excellent guide to the main techniques. A guide to rapid rural appraisal for inland waters is provided by Townsley (1992).
A sector study should provide estimates of the contribution of the fisheries sector to the national economy and, where appropriate, of the regional economy.
The consultants should consider developing a model to show the likely effects on the economy of policy changes in the sector.
Estimates of the contribution of the sector to GNP should be qualified, when appropriate, by qualitative assessment of the effects of externalities.
Added value analysis of marginal and intra-marginal enterprises provides considerable insight into the sector.
A sector study team should be aware of the conditions governing the applicability of computer programs for bioeconomic analysis and make appropriate recommendations for their use.
At the outset of the planning for a sector study the possible need should be considered for the use of rapid rural appraisal to obtain information and provide an analysis of impacts.