36. On the morning of Day Three, the draft Concept Note prepared by FAO and WorldFish Center (Appendix A) was presented and discussed in some detail in plenary. A number of Workshop participants offered comments and suggestions on the proposal for a project to develop appropriate SSF assessment methods and to build individual and institutional capacity within developing countries for their effective utilization.
37. It was noted that the draft Concept Note should pay particular attention to the phasing of different activities. The work proposed has three major thrusts - namely (i) acquiring improved understanding of the complexities of SSF; (ii) raising awareness about the contributions of SSF; and (iii) a capacity-building agenda for SSF. These concerns are interrelated but need to be addressed in proper sequence.
38. It was reiterated by some participants that the exercise of developing an overall integrated assessment framework for SSF is not one that has to start from scratch. Also, more attention should be paid to existing experiences found outside fisheries, such as in forestry and agriculture, where similar integrated assessment questions have been confronted.
39. It was remarked that there would be a need to ensure legitimacy for the project at all levels by ensuring that the voices and perceptions of fishers themselves are heard and appreciated. In this respect the draft Concept Note needs to emphasize participatory aspects of the process more directly.
40. Participants further remarked that the geographical scale of proposed activities needed to be more clearly spelled out. It is not enough to refer to “West Africa,” for example. One would need to indicate specific levels at which capacity-building is intended - whether community, national or regional or some combination thereof.
41. Finally, it was stressed again that demonstrating the economic role of SSF is of great importance for drawing the attention of policy-makers. But further than this, the Concept Note needs to underline issues of resource depletion and fishing overcapacity. The proposed project should grapple with these two questions more explicitly and develop methods to understand their internal dynamics.