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Regional strategic framework. Rehabilitation of fisheries and aquaculture in tsunami affected countries in Asia

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STRATEGIC ELEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF THE REGIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE

In order to support the achievement of the rehabilitation vision, six key strategic elements have been developed and will form the basis for CONSRN partner activities.

Strategic elements in support of the vision

  1. improve policy, institutions and processes

  2. provide appropriate physical assets

  3. restore the natural environment

  4. provide appropriate financial mechanisms

  5. build human capacity to improve community livelihoods and responsible coastal resource management

  6. rebuild and enhance social assets, resources and networks upon which people in affected fishing and aquaculture communities draw in pursuit of their livelihood strategies and psychosocial well-being

Strategic element 1. Improve policy, institutions and processes

Objective: To develop a responsive and well regulated policy and institutional environment for fisheries and aquaculture at national and local level, which involves communities and recognizes the importance of local level needs in planning, monitoring and regulation

Rationale

Without good governance that builds on supporting institutions and policies, recovery may be hindered by a return to some of the undesirable pre-tsunami situations. For sustainable recovery of the affected coastal areas, the policy-related issues that existed before the tsunami need to be addressed through review and reform. For the fisheries and aquaculture sectors this included problems such as over capacity in fisheries, unsustainable aquaculture practices, poor safety at sea, inadequate food safety and unsustainable environmental impact.

Successful implementation of policy and enforcement of new legislation also require strong local and national institutions that are able to perform their required functions with the full support of local communities.

A major challenge will be ensuring that policy reform is based on the participation of stakeholders in the decision-making process. In this respect the use of an integrated coastal management approach will ensure decisions are based on existing livelihoods and national context, the best available science and the full participation of affected communities/stakeholders.

Activities in support of the strategic element

Three areas of support to this strategic element have been identified and include the setting of clear policy objectives, strengthening fisheries and aquaculture management institutions and the promotion of integrated coastal management and the ecosystem approach as processes for facilitating discussions between stakeholders.

1) Set clear policy objectives

This will involve a strategic review and reform of fisheries and aquaculture policy in relation to pre-post tsunami development and related national plans and strategies for rehabilitation. The objective is to ensure tsunami related policy reforms in fisheries and aquaculture are based on a strong understanding of national and local issues and needs and are planned within a realistic timeframe. Key outputs from this activity could include:

2) Strengthen fisheries and aquaculture management institutions

The strengthening of national and local fisheries and aquaculture management institutions will require a strategic review of their functions, capacity and existing resources. This review will identify areas where rehabilitation is required along with plans for local and national level development of these institutions. The objective will be to ensure that these institutions are capable of implementing fisheries and aquaculture management policy effectively. Key outputs for this activity could include:

3) Promote integrated coastal management and ecosystems approaches as processes for facilitating discussions between stakeholders

The promotion of an integrated coastal management approach to ensure systematic involvement of stakeholders in planning and decision-making will require changes to policy and provision of support to the implementing institutions and communities. The objective is to ensure that decisions are based on the best available scientific advice and participation of communities and stakeholders. Key outputs for this activity could include:

Strategic element 2. Provide appropriate physical assets

Objective: To ensure that appropriate physical assets are provided to the tsunami victims in a timely, equitable way to replace what they have lost while ensuring sustainable use of natural resources in the future

Rationale

It is recognized that in the aftermath of the tsunami (both in the initial recovery and the longer term livelihood rehabilitation stages) the provision of strategic physical assets to those affected is a priority. The types of physical assets required for longer term recovery of livelihoods will vary according to communities. These assets will either be public goods (training institutes, landing and processing centres, ice plants) or private goods (inputs for production, tools, fishing vessels, nets and gear).

Many agencies are already delivering these assets. However, if they are to be useful to those affected then they must be provided in a well planned, coordinated, accountable way and with care and attention to the real needs of the communities and any problems that existed before the tsunami.

Of specific importance to the fisheries and aquaculture sector is ensuring that provision of vessels, gear and other resources to rebuild does not lead to future problems through the development of fishing over capacity, or the unplanned over development of aquaculture. For the fishery, this means a capacity that is commensurate with the productivity of the fishery resource and which has regulated allocation of user/access rights to fish and with a balance between small-scale artisanal fisher folk fishing inshore water and the larger-scale “industrial” vessels restricted to off-shore areas. In addition, policy should have a “pro-poor” focus that gives preference to beach-based labour intensive fishing and is based on non-destructive fishing gear and practices.

Activities in support of the strategic element

Four key areas of support to this strategic element have been identified and include the completion of systematic damage and comprehensive needs assessments, controlling the provision of assets, ensuring local compatibility of the assets provided and sound monitoring and evaluation.

1) Carry out systematic damage and comprehensive needs assessments

This will require completion of systematic damage and comprehensive needs assessments with the development of locally agreed implementation plans. These plans should be based on the best available technical advice and ensure the assets to be provided are appropriate, and within the scope of national and local priorities for fisheries and aquaculture. It is also essential that these assessments and plans integrate recovery with development and ensure appropriate physical assets can be provided in a timely, accountable and transparent way. Key outputs from this activity could include:

2) Control the provision of physical assets to avoid over capacity and ensure controlled development of aquaculture

In order to achieve this, the replacement of lost resources must be carefully monitored and controlled. Though it is important to recognize the trade-off between the need for rapid inputs to restore livelihoods in affected communities versus good governance and sustainable fisheries management (in relation to fishing capacity and environmental protection). This will require coordinated action by donors, enforcement of legislation and development of appropriate policy to ensure appropriate fishing capacity and well planned development of aquaculture facilities. Key outputs from this activity could include:

3) Supply physical assets that are compatible with the needs of the affected people

In order to ensure that physical assets are compatible with the needs of the recipients and suitable for local environmental conditions, a systematic approach to the involvement of communities in needs assessments, planning and procurement is required. The objective is to reduce risk and vulnerability to households receiving these assets and maximize the benefits of inputs. Some outputs of this activity could be:

4) Monitor and evaluate the process of procurement, distribution of physical assets an their impact

Monitoring and evaluation systems will have to be developed and put in place as early as possible. These systems must ensure transparency and accountability in the procurement and provision of assets and provide feedback on whether the assets are leading to over capacity in fishing or unplanned over development of aquaculture. Some key outputs of this activity could include:

Strategic element 3. Restore the natural environment

Objective: To restore the natural environment while ensuring coastal communities impacted by the tsunami continue to have equitable access to inputs and the sustainably managed natural resources on which their livelihoods are based

Rationale

Access to restored and sustainably managed natural resources is essential for the rehabilitation of tsunami affected communities. Rehabilitation of these resources, while at the same time ensuring equitable access and sustainable management for the future, will be a critical component in the recovery of people's livelihoods. In the post tsunami situation it is also important to ensure that those who have been displaced or lost their personal property are not additionally disadvantaged through losing access to common resources.

However, recognition must be made of the trade off between national policy objectives (for example relating to reducing future risk to natural disaster or environmental sustainability) and the local needs of communities.

In the short-medium term, the focus of rehabilitation will be on allowing key natural environments, such as coral reefs, mangroves and fishery resources, time to recover from the impact of the tsunami. In the longer term, development of community based management plans involving all stakeholders can ensure sustainable long term management of these resources.

Activities in support of the strategic element

Four key areas of support to this strategic element have been identified and include stakeholder analysis, consultation during planning for relocation, rehabilitation of key habitats and ensuring inputs for aquaculture come from sustainably managed natural resources.

1) Complete thorough and inclusive stakeholder analysis to ensure the views of all groups in the community are considered

Completion of a stakeholder analysis will require extensive fieldwork with the affected communities and is important to ensure sustainability of the rehabilitation work through their ownership and inclusion. Identification of all groups and individuals within the communities is necessary along with their interests, vulnerability and risk. Key outputs from this type of activity could be:

2) Carry out consultation to ensure consensus is reached with communities (in a transparent way) before considering relocation to safer areas

Reaching consensus during involuntary and voluntary relocation of households is important to ensure the process does not have a negative impact on the livelihoods of the poor and marginalized sections of the community. The use of transparent participatory processes and awareness raising of issues within communities can help ensure this objective. It is important to remember that in addition to the basic infrastructure required during relocation, extensive capacity building and support may be also needed to provide alternative livelihoods. In particular, for coastal communities it is important to ensure that small scale fishers can retain access to exploiting natural resources or be provided with alternative livelihood opportunities. Key outputs from this activity could include:

3) Rehabilitate important habitats and ecosystems (such as coral reefs, mangroves and fish stocks) through participatory management and planning approaches

Rehabilitation of important natural habitats and resources can be achieved through close cooperation between donors, communities and concerned government agencies. Full rehabilitation of these habitats is a long-term process. The involvement of communities and stakeholders in the planning and management of these habitats can be critical in their rehabilitation. In this respect integrated coastal management can be a useful tool in ensuring community participation. Key outputs from this activity could include:

4) Ensure seed and broodstock for aquaculture are from sustainably managed sources

Achievement of this will require changes in the way the small scale aquaculture industry source seed and broodstock. Many smaller scale producers still rely on the collection of larvae or seed from the wild, which can have negative impacts on the environment. These producers (who were most affected by the tsunami) have had their supplies of fry and broodstock disrupted. A key activity in rehabilitating aquaculture production is to ensure that the rehabilitated small scale hatcheries, nurseries and seed collecting activities are restored with sustainable management as a key principle. Key outputs from this activity could include:

Strategic element 4. Provide appropriate financial mechanisms

Objective: To ensure that appropriate financial mechanisms are in place for those affected by the tsunami

Rationale

The restoration of key financial mechanisms in tsunami-affected areas is of critical importance to rapid recovery. Those affected by the tsunami not only need money in the short term to purchase food and basic goods and services, but will need loans to rebuild damaged homes and to invest in business small scale enterprises (and a wide variety of other reasons). An essential part of the restoration of financial mechanisms is therefore taking a holistic approach to loan provision. In addition, in rehabilitating financial mechanisms recognition must be made of the fact that many of those affected were from the poorer sections of the community and may not have had access to formal financial services in the past.

Care must be taken to ensure risk is assessed well and that all aspects of a particular production chains are functioning. For example, advancing loans to fishers for boats and gear is counterproductive if damage to processing infrastructure means they are unable to sell their catch.

Priority areas that have been identified for fisheries include finance to reinvest in boats and gear in order to start fishing (along with investment in processing and handling facilities). Aquaculture operators require loans for pond reconstruction, farm equipment and production inputs.

The tsunami damaged the physical infrastructure of financial organizations and also resulted in the death or displacement of key people such as staff from the bank, credit institutions and NGOs and also local money lenders. Rehabilitation of financial services therefore requires investment not only in infrastructure but also capacity building and posting of key personnel.

Activities in support of the strategic element

Five key areas of support to this strategic element have been identified and include assessment of existing financial service providers, controlling loans to avoid unsustainable practices and support to rapid rehabilitation of financial services to individuals and supply/processing chains.

1) Assess existing financial mechanisms (both formal and informal)

Completion of an assessment of existing/pre-tsunami financial services for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the tsunami affected areas will require extensive consultation with affected communities. This analysis will allow rehabilitation of services to be based on a socially acceptable framework. Involvement of communities allows issues relating to finance pre-tsunami to be addressed and better/more effective mechanisms to be developed. The objective is to ensure that rehabilitation of financial mechanisms is based on a sound understanding of the socio-economic and cultural context. Key outputs from this activity could include:

2) Control loans to prevent inappropriate investment in aquaculture and replacement of fishing gear/vessels

Unregulated provision of loans for repair and replacement of vessels has the potential to impact the livelihoods of fishers negatively through building up fishing over capacity and damage the environment. For aquaculture too, inappropriate investment could lead to unsustainable production practices. Screening and enforcement procedures need to be developed and implemented at community level and with the relevant regulatory authorities to ensure that fishing capacity is kept to sustainable levels and aquaculture production is well planned and sustainable. Key outputs from this activity could include:

3) Support the establishment of an enabling environment for financial institutions and systems to ensure their rapid return to normal operation

The needs of financial institutions will vary according to local conditions. While national and regional organizations (such as banks) may have adequate resources to carry out rehabilitation internally, smaller institutions such as NGOs and savings groups may find this harder due to a lack of capital, insurance or death/injury of members/borrowers. In the short term, specific support may be required in order to ensure the rapid establishment of these local financial service providers. In the longer term, policy relating to finance institutions may need to be reviewed in order to ensure that financial losses from future natural disasters are limited (such as the use of insurance schemes). Key outputs of this activity could include:

4) Support development of financial systems which ensure all players in the supply chain have access to appropriate finance (but with a focus on small scale non-commercial lending)

The tsunami impacted many steps in the production and supply/processing chains for fish and aquaculture products (such as ice making plants, processing units, input producers and markets). Providing loans to one sector in the chain may by risky unless there are functioning markets for the produce. The aim is to ensure rapid re-establishment of the availability of finance to production and marketing chains for aquaculture and fisheries products. In order to achieve this, financial institutions must be encouraged to consider these production/processing chains when assessing risk. Key outputs from this activity could include:

Strategic element 5. Build human capacity to improve community livelihoods and responsible coastal resource management

Objective: To ensure through the adoption of a participatory approach and capacity building, that the coastal systems of tsunami affected countries are managed in a sustainable way to the benefit of all in the communities. Specific objectives should include:

Rationale

Key to the recovery of tsunami affected coastal areas is the building of human capacity to ensure diversified livelihood strategies and sustainable management of the coastal resources. The hardest impacted communities already suffered from a limited range of livelihood strategies which made them vulnerable to changes caused by human and natural activity. Providing these communities with additional livelihood options through capacity building can reduce their vulnerability.

Though dependent on the coastal zones, these communities have historically been given little say in their management. The threats to the coastal environment generally came about because of poor coastal area management and planning, a lack of awareness of issues (and capacity to deal with them) and a lack of involvement of communities. This has resulted in a steady decline in the quality of coastal habitats in many countries and the over exploitation of natural resources resulting in a reduction in productivity (fisheries) and the ability to protect from environmental disasters (such as cyclones and floods).

In order for the post-tsunami rehabilitation process to be effective and sustainable in the long term, it is important to ensure that communities and supporting agencies (both government and NGOs) are informed and empowered to ensure a broad range of alternative livelihood options are available for fishing communities and effective management of the coastal zone.

Activities in support of the strategic element

The key area of support to this strategic element involves building human capacity for all stakeholders, but especially for coastal communities.

1) Build human capacity building for livelihoods and sustainable management of natural resources

Human capacity building is required in order to ensure that diversified livelihood strategies are available to people from affected communities and that they understand and have the ability and resources to take part in participatory planning and management. Of particular importance to integrated coastal management and participatory planning is ensuring that stakeholders are aware of and understand the key issues in order that they can take informed decisions. Specific requirements will be context and site specific. Key outputs from this activity could include:

2) Support institutions to provide human capacity building

In order to deliver human capacity building effectively to communities and raise awareness of natural resource management, local and national institutions may also require support and capacity building. The objective is to ensure that these agencies have the ability and resources to carry out the required capacity building and support to communities. Key outputs for this activity could include:

Strategic element 6. Rebuild and enhance the social assets resources and networks in affected fishing and aquaculture communities

Objective: To ensure the development of communities and community organizations which are empowered to take part effectively in post-tsunami planning and rehabilitation activities

Rationale

In many areas, the tsunami destroyed not only physical infrastructure but communities and community organizations as well. Communities affected in this way need substantial support before they are able to participate in assessment and participatory planning activities. These communities need to know how to re-organize and commence the work of rehabilitation. Empowerment through community group action is an important element in ensuring effective rebuilding. The psychological trauma too can be overcome through community action.

In terms of participation in the rehabilitation process a key goal for fisheries and aquaculture would be re-establishment of community groups. If these groups were not present pre-tsunami then their establishment can help develop the community spirit and enable participation in local planning.

Activities in support of the strategic element

Three key areas of support to this strategic element have been identified and include empowering of communities, rebuilding and strengthening of community fisheries and aquaculture organizations and the promotion of stakeholder consultation.

1) Empower communities

Participatory approaches to planning, conflict resolution and participatory monitoring and evaluation can all be used to ensure communities are empowered and involved in decision-making and negotiations. Importantly, public and political support to the process of finding solutions to resolvable problems is required. Key outputs for this activity could include:

2) Rebuild and strengthen community organizations

In order to rebuild or strengthen community groups (such as fisher groups, cooperatives, women's support groups), it is necessary to determine which organizations were present prior to the tsunami and what their roles were. Many of these organizations may have been lost with the tsunami. If this is the case, they should be re-established to ensure participation of all stakeholders. The objective is to enable community participation in rehabilitation activities through the strengthened or new community based organizations, networks and communication procedures. Key outputs related to this activity could be:

3) Promote consultation with and participation of stakeholders

In order to ensure participation of stakeholders and to rebuild community cohesion it is important to involve them in the consultation process from the start. Empowerment of stakeholders through the adoption of appropriate participatory approaches can be effective in ensuring ownership and effectiveness of rehabilitation processes. A variety of participatory approaches exist depending on objectives. Key outputs of this activity could be:


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