The issues confronting small-scale fisheries and their research implications in each of the major themes affecting small-scale fisheries have been described in Section 3. This section addresses the major points within each of the same five themes and summarizes, using examples, research questions to be posed.
Policy is the starting point that sets out the broad objectives and framework to guide relevant decisions, actions and institutional arrangements impacting on small-scale fisheries. It should be recognized that policy is required to address many, often competing, objectives that relate to the conservation and sustainable use of resources, and to economic and social (equity) needs. The main issue is that policy is often poorly articulated both within and outside of the fisheries sector, and this, plus ineffectual institutional arrangements to implement it, often results in the lack of an appropriate framework to guide fisheries management.
In this section, the major areas for research to improve policies and performance of the small-scale fisheries sub-sector are considered in relation to policies per se, but also with respect to institutions and organizations, and processes or instruments of direct relevance to the small-scale fisheries sub-sector:
relevance of development policies to small-scale fisheries (and vice versa);
relationship of the small-scale fisheries sub-sector to other (particularly industrial, large commercial) fisheries sub-sectors in policy formulation and implementation;
impact of other sector policies;
relative importance of formal and informal policy; and
linkage between policy and legislation.
Institutions and organizations
structure of small-scale fisheries sub-sector;
structure and functions of Fisheries Departments and relevant research institutes; and
regional fisheries management organizations.
Processes or instruments
trade-offs between policy objectives;
process of policy implementation;
involvement of fishers;
awareness of policy-makers to the mainstreaming of gender and diversity issues;
strengthening mechanism of local governance (in a changing environment);
relation to international planning process;
incentives (e.g. subsidies);
indebtedness and profitability; and
access to micro-credit.
The major issues under this research theme are outlined in Section 3. Research to address these issues recognized: (i) the potential of the sub-sector (including post-harvest and small-scale fish trading activities) in rural and national economic development, (ii) their potential for equity and redistribution (both at national and local levels), (iii) the need to design valuation and communication strategies relating to the importance of small-scale fisheries, and (iv) other social and environmental benefits that could result from a more healthy small-scale sub-sector.
measuring the value of small-scale fisheries (determining how to measure the values of small-scale fisheries e.g. net income, social support function, and making and communicating such assessments);
livelihood analysis (interactions with and between other sectors - including inland water fisheries and terrestrial-based pursuits);
transboundary context of migratory fishers;
understanding linkages between urban dynamics and small-scale fisheries; and
alternative income generating opportunities.
There are many approaches to management of small-scale fisheries ranging from the modernization paradigm (introduced after the second-world war), through to more recent participatory methods, such as co-management associated with the move to decentralization of government functions. It should also be recognized that the manager of a small-scale fishery has a large and diverse number of tools (including allocation, economic and social tools) that can be utilized, but with little guidance on what may be appropriate and effective. There is a continuing requirement to monitor and evaluate progress against fisheries management objectives and the crucial role of MCS in small-scale fisheries is highlighted.
To address these issues, research is required to address; (i) higher level/overarching approaches and concepts, (ii) fisheries management approaches, (iii) management tools, (iv) monitoring and evaluation of management approaches, and (v) MCS. The major research issues are given as follows (for more detailed questions relating to management types, see Appendix A):
governance in small-scale fisheries;
access arrangements and property rights;
role of traditional management systems;
role of different management institutions (including traditional management systems);
lesson learned in collaboration with other sectors;
traditional, collaboration, self-management;
indicator based approach;
effects of IPOAs (IUU and Capacity) on small-scale fisheries;
management mechanism for low data requirements;
how to generate necessary information for management;
level of investment in management in relation to value of small-scale fisheries;
fishing gear advancement;
enhancement of resources;
mobilization, collective action and management of communities;
inter-sectoral approach; and
donors development policy.
Both intra-regional and international trade is becoming increasingly important to small-scale fisheries. The decentralized nature of small-scale fisheries could result in substantial employment generation, and household food security as well as retention of resource rents by fishing communities. This calls for increased investment in post-harvest activities to benefit from the new opportunities. New research is required to inform decisions on potential trade-offs e.g. between export-orientated versus local or regional demand. An analysis of potential trade impacts must be undertaken if the potential benefits from global trade are to be realized, or existing benefits preserved.
Since the research topics seek to identify what may be gained or lost from post-harvest chains and increased global trade, they mirror, in part, the research activities designed to identify the contribution, role and importance of small-scale fisheries. They are:
gender issues/better understanding of womens role;
post-harvest loss assessment - assess the efficiency of current practices;
value added to the products - assess the means of adding value to current practices;
packaging and marketing;
standards and tariffs;
risk assessment (food safety);
linkage between harvesters and consumers;
congruence of scale (micro versus macro operation) - assess the economic, power and efficiency issues in conducting post-harvest processes at different scales;
intra-regional trade; and
effects of globalization.
While not exactly a research theme in its own right (although there are many research aspects) the development of a Fisheries Information System (FIS) warrants separate attention, as this is both a critical component in bridging the gap between research and action, and provides an effective framework for identifying needs of various information users (ranging from informing policy decision-makers right through to implementing technology for individual fishers, processors and marketers).
The FIS provides the context for examining the needs, processes, inputs and outputs of different user groups in a hierarchical structure that covers the macro-, meso-, and micro-scales and the linkages between them (both in aggregating data and information upwards for use at higher levels in the hierarchy and downwards in terms of providing feedback, especially to the suppliers of the data). A range of issues are identified, especially in relation to integrating qualitative and quantitative data, techniques to improve information flow, collecting and using traditional knowledge, linkages between levels in the hierarchy and the need to review and make existing data and information accessible.
review and evaluation of existing information;
data requirements (identification of needs and efficient and cost effective means for its collection);
information on the fishing community;
gender disaggregated data;
mobilize indigenous knowledge and local ecological knowledge;
transforming data and knowledge into information; and
research on the research process.