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The evaluation of fisheries management performance requires the establishment and monitoring of a variety of indicators related to specific questions (and objectives) such as:

· Are the fisheries at, above or below sustainable yields?

· Are the fisheries moving towards domestic development at the rate required for employment and economic development?

· Are the returns obtained from foreign access licence fees at a level commensurate with the resource rent?

· Will fish production meet food security requirements in the medium term? in the long term?

· Are fishing incomes falling behind comparable sectors? for what reason?

· Are there conflicts between fishery sub-sectors?

Fishery performance indicators require continuous information for their determination as the fishery, its parameters, as well as management objectives vary over time. This information is derived from data that need to be collected and analysed.

This document offers guidelines to fishery managers and practitioners, at all levels, on the development or improvement of routine data collection programmes in capture fisheries. These guidelines meet a number of management needs.

Firstly, they provide a structured approach through a sequential pathway (see Figure 1), from the understanding of why data are needed, through what data need to be collected, to how data should be collected.

Figure 1. Setting up a data collection programme follows from identifying data needs through to working out how the data should be collected. In designing the programme, all options should be carefully considered. Numbers in brackets refer to the relevant parts of the guidelines.

Secondly, this document is a guide to the processes that need to be addressed at all management levels to provide appropriate data collection procedures. Tasks can be allocated to senior, middle and technical management levels. Within this hierarchy, there will be large areas of overlap, and it will always be desirable for all levels of management to communicate to others their requirements and constraints. As far as possible, all persons involved in a data collection programme should understand all issues associated with establishing or maintaining a data collection programme. However, different levels of management will have different responsibilities.

Senior managers need to understand WHY the data is collected. They will need to consider:

· the link between fisheries policy and the practical applications of fisheries management (Chapter 2);

· the uses of information in meeting management objectives (Chapter 3);

· the fishery performance indicators that best meet their information needs (Chapter 4);

· the proper allocation and management of financial, human and institutional resources (Chapter 8).

Middle managers need to understand WHAT information is needed:
· to calculate the chosen fishery performance indicators (Chapter 4);

· to decide on the data variables required for the appropriate analyses (Chapter 4);

· to enable administration of the systems needed for data collection, analysis and dissemination (Chapters 7 and 8).

Technical managers need to understand HOW data are collected and managed. They will be required:
· to decide on the strategy and methods for collecting the data (Chapters 5);

· to implement systems for the management and dissemination of the data collected (Chapters 7);

· to undertake or manage the actual data collection process.

The guidelines are structured so that managers at all levels can use them directly for developing a data collection programme.
· Senior managers will be able to draw on these guidelines to offer and explain the appropriate fishery performance indicators to policy-makers; and to instruct middle managers to estimate them;

· Middle managers will be able to draw on these guidelines to inform senior managers of their data needs and the required programmes for the preparation of fishery performance indicators; and to instruct technical managers on what to collect;

· Technical managers will be able to draw on these guidelines to inform middle managers on the resources (personnel and expenditure) they require to undertake their tasks; and to instruct data collectors on what to do.

The guidelines are not a manual of data collection methods, nor do they address analytical procedures that link data compilation and the preparation of fishery performance indicators, e.g. stock assessment.

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