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Effective fisheries planning and management, particularly community-based coastal resource management, requires a sound knowledge of the socio-demographic characteristics of fishing communities. It is important that the social and economic well-being of coastal fisherfolk - both men and women - be taken into consideration when making management decisions. As a management tool, the guidelines presented in this document provide a general framework that can be used to identify and monitor those social and demographic characteristics that affect the status of fisheries and aquatic resources and the coastal environment, and/or that are affected by management decisions.

As an information tool, the guidelines serve to strengthen the collection, analysis and dissemination of basic information on socio-economic and demographic characteristics of fishing communities, thus enabling deeper insights into fisherfolk’s attitudes and perceptions and how they relate to and impact on the status and utilization of fisheries resources. Recognizing that men and women play distinctive yet complementary roles and are affected differently by management decisions, the guidelines point to the collection of gender-disaggregated information where possible.

The use of these guidelines on a regular basis will facilitate comparative analyses of socio-demographic characteristics across time and space, allowing the determination of trends and identification of appropriate actions.

These guidelines have been developed for the various stakeholders in fisheries and aquatic resource management. These stakeholders include fisheries development agencies at the national and local levels, fishers cooperatives, women’s associations, fisheries and resource management councils, and non-government organizations (NGOs) involved in fisheries and coastal resource management. Through these guidelines, it is hoped to create increased awareness of the need to incorporate a population and development perspective as well as gender concerns in the process of integrating demographic components in fisheries planning and management among the various stakeholders.

It is also expected that the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) will use these guidelines as teaching material in the recently introduced course on social and demographic characteristics of coastal fishing communities, which forms part of their Master in Marine Affairs Programme.

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