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Preparation of this document

These guidelines (Parts 1 and 2) represent the main outputs of two collaborative research projects funded under the Department for International Development's (DFID) Fisheries Management Science Programme (FMSP): Fisheries Data Collection and Sharing Mechanisms for Co-Management (R8285) and Evaluation and Uptake Promotion of Data Collection Guidelines for Co-Management (R8462). Full details of both projects can be found at

The goal of project R8285 was to provide co-managers with guidelines to develop appropriate cost-effective systems or guidelines mechanisms for the collection and sharing of data and information necessary to improve the sustainable management of their resources. The project involved a series of participatory research activities with the following collaborating institutions and projects (and their respective partners) representing a range of stakeholders operating at different levels in the management hierarchy (e.g. local, sub-national, national, and regional): MRAG Ltd, London; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome; WorldFish Center, Malaysia and Bangladesh [Community Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) Project and Fisheries Co-management Research Project (FCMRP)]; Mekong River Commission (MRC) [Mekong River and Reservoir Project]; the DFID-funded Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Project (SFLP); the DFID-funded Integrated Lake Management (ILM) Project, Uganda; and the DFID-funded Regional Fisheries Information System (RFIS) Project [including the Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation and Development Project]. All the research partners were actively engaged or interested in designing or improving data collection systems to support co-management either as part of their mandate or under their own projects and programmes in countries including the Lao People's Democratic Republic , Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Project collaborators prepared “System Requirement Reports”(SRR) using a pre-defined format to report details of existing data collection systems, stakeholder needs, capacity, available resources, and opportunities. A total of 18 reports, downloadable at were prepared on the basis of literature reviews, focus group discussion, consultation exercises and workshops involving staff from regional management bodies, departments of fisheries and associated research institutions, local management institutions, and resource users. This process not only helped build capacity but aimed to ensure that the project outputs, including these guidelines, were demand-driven, maximizing the likelihood of their uptake by target institutions. The content of the reports were presented, discussed and synthesized at the project's “Guidelines Development Workshop”held at the MRC headquarters in Phnom Penh, in April 2004, attended by more than 25 representatives of the collaborating institutions and their project/programme partners (see Guidelines Development Workshop Report at The recommendations arising from this workshop, together with a synthesis of the relevant literature and outputs from earlier FMSP research, particularly projects R7042, R7335, R7834 and R8293 formed the basis of the first draft of these guidelines.

The utility of the guidelines was assessed at the Huay Luang Reservoir in Udon Thani Province, Thailand, under the “Management of Rivers and Reservoir Fisheries in the Mekong Basin Component (MRRF)”of the MRC Fisheries Programme in January 2005. Here, a two-stage workshop was implemented with 55 representatives of local resources users, the local management institution (Or Bor Tor) and administrative levels of government. The guidelines proved effective for identifying common data and information needs among the stakeholder groups and helped them identify and agree upon a data and information collection and sharing strategy that was summarized graphically. This multistakeholder planning exercise also raised awareness among government bodies of the widespread interest of resource users to diversify their livelihoods to include tourism-related income generating activities. These field-testing activities also identified that a simplified version of the accompanying Part 2: Technical guidelines was required to provide all stakeholders, but particularly intermediaries working alongside resource users, with the opportunity to fully utilize the relevant and helpful tools contained in them. An earlier version of this Part 1: Practical guide was therefore written to address this need.

Project R8462 undertook further evaluations of both parts of the Guidelines involving stakeholder workshops and focus group discussions in Bangladesh under the Fourth Fisheries Project (FFP), and the Community Based Fisheries Management Project (CBFM); and during a second phase of testing in Thailand under the MRC's MRRF Project in the Lower Mekong Basin (see Guidelines Evaluation Reports available at Subsequent revisions and improvements were made to both Parts 1 and 2 of the Guidelines.


The increasing shift towards co-management has prompted managers to reflect upon their new roles and reconsider their information requirements. While a vast pool of useful literature already exists that can help guide co-managers design and implement data collection programmes to support their evolving needs, much of it has been written in the context of other sectors or with little emphasis on designing systems specifically for co-managed fisheries.

This Technical Paper forms the second of a two-part set of guidelines that attempt to meet the growing need among co-managers for guidelines to help design and implement appropriate and cost-effective data collection programmes or systems.

Part 1: Practical guide has been written specifically for co-managers and facilitators working in the field and offers simple and practical advice on helping stakeholders identify their information needs in relation to their management objectives and responsibilities, and developing collaborative ways of collecting and sharing the information in the most effective way.

Part 2: Technical guidelines provide more technical detail on each of the sections in the Practical guide, including: examples of the types of data that might be of interest to different stakeholders; data collection methods and sources; the design of sampling programmes, and some guidance on data analysis and interpretation. They are expected to appeal to Department of Fisheries and extension staff, research agencies and academic institutions, but they will also provide field practitioners with an additional resource that can be referenced when necessary.

Together, Parts 1 and 2 draw together relevant elements of the literature, the output of previous DFID-funded research, as well as the experiences and expressed needs of co-managers currently designing or preparing to design their own data collection systems. The guidelines are, however, intended to complement, rather than replace, existing relevant manuals and guides already published in this and other FAO publication series.

These Technical guidelines begin by identifying four basic categories of information that are typically required to support the information-dependent management roles that key stakeholders might typically take responsibility for under co-management arrangements, and illustrate important pathways to facilitate information delivery and exchange. These four categories are: (1) Information to formulate and evaluate national fisheries policy and development plans including performance of the co-management policy itself; (2) information to formulate and coordinate management plans; (3)information to implement management plans including enforcing rules and regulations and resolving conflicts and (4) information to evaluate and improve local management plans.

Examples of data types and variables that might be selected by co-managers corresponding to these four main categories of information are provided in Section 3 together with a description of important factors that will influence their selection. Section 4 provides a brief overview of the types of data sources and collection methodologies that might typically be available or applicable. Important concepts including participatory monitoring and evaluation, sampling and stratification are explained along with important factors to consider when choosing among different sources and methods. Summary tables provide further guidance on what sources and methods might be appropriate for each data type of interest.

Finally, Section 5 describes an eight-stage participatory design process involving stakeholder analysis, local management plan formulation, identification of common stakeholder data needs and shortfalls, data collection and sharing strategy design, the development of information networks, the design of data recording and management systems, and finally implementation and refinement. The section cross-references material presented in Sections 1 to 4 and includes links to other sources of useful information and advice.

Halls, A.S.; Arthur, R.; Bartley, D.; Felsing, M.; Grainger, R.; Hartmann, W.;
Lamberts, D.; Purvis, J.; Sultana, P.; Thompson, P.; Walmsley, S.

Guidelines for designing data collection and sharing systems for co-managed fisheries.
Part 2: Technical guidelines.
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 494/2. Rome, FAO. 2005. 108p.


These Guidelines represent the collaborative efforts of the Marine Resources Assessment Group (MRAG Ltd) that led the project; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); the Mekong River Commission (MRC); the WorldFish Center and several DFID-funded projects including the Fourth Fisheries Project (FFP); the Integrated Lake Management (ILM) Project, Uganda; the Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Project (SFLP); and the Regional Fisheries Information System (RFIS) Project. The contributions of these collaborators and their research partners, including resource users, are warmly acknowledged.

Special thanks to the participants of the Guidelines Development and Evaluation Workshops: Ian Cowx, HIFI (workshop facilitator), Mao Sam Onn, IFReDI; Paul Thompson, WFC; Parvin Sultana, WFC; Devin Bartley, FAO; Richard Grainger, FAO; Alain Kodjo, SFLP Co-Management Team Leader; Ms Munoz, BFAR, Philippines; Mr Thay Somony, Chief, CFDO; Shunji Sugyama, FAO; Wolf Hartman, MRC; Ms Kaing Khim, CFDO/MRRF; Mr Trung Ha Phuong, RIA 03/MRRF; Mr Somphanh Chanpengxay, DLF/AMCF; Mr Naruepon Sukumasavin, DoF/MRC-FIP; Mr Niklas Mattson, MRC/AIMS; Ms Kanokporn Deeburee, MRRF; Mr Thomas Augustinus, MRRF; Dirk Lamberts, ILM Project Technical Advisor; John Purvis, SADC RFIS Project; Mr Solomon Makoloweka, Regional Coastal Management Facilitator, Tanga Region; Dr Eric Verheiji, Technical Advisor, Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation and Development Project; Robert Arthur, MRAG Ltd; Mr Khamtanh Vattanatham, FIP/MRCS; Ms Daniela Kaliskoski, FAO FishCode; Golam Mustafa, WFC; Abul Kashem, BAU; M.A. Rab, WFC; Mahbubur Rahman Khan, GoB DoF-CBFM-2; Shamsul Kabir, GoB, DoF-CBFM-2; Susmita Choudhury, WFC; Khalilur Rahman, WFC; Masood Siddique, FFP; Kafiluddin Kaiya, GoB DoF-FFP; and Zahirul Islam, FFP technical assistance.

The document is an output from project R8285 and R8462 funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under the Fisheries Management Science Programme. The views expressed are not necessarily those of DFID.


AFCAnnual Fish consumption
APFICAsia-Pacific Fishery Commission
ARTFISHApproaches, Rules and Techniques for Fisheries Statistical Monitoring
BMUBeach Management Unit
BSBureaux of Statistics
BSBiological Sampling
CASCatch Assessment Survey
CBFMCommunity-based Fisheries Management
CBOCommunity-based Organization
CCRFCode of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
CDFComprehensive Development Framework
CEComplete Enumeration
CECAFFishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic
CESCosts and Earnings Surveys
CFDOCommunity Fisheries Development Office
CIFACommittee for Inland Fisheries of Africa
CITESConvention on International Trade in Endangered Species
CNRSCenter for Natural Resource Studies
COPESCALCommission for Inland Fisheries of Latin America
CPUECatch Per Unit Effort
CSDCommission on Sustainable Development
DFIDDepartment for International Development
DFODistrict Fisheries Officer
DFRDepartment for Fisheries Resources
DoFDepartment of Fisheries
EEZExclusive Economic Zone
ERExport Records
FAOFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FCMRPFisheries Co-Management Research Project
FEUFishing Economic Unit
FIDIFishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit
FMCFisheries Management Committee
FMSPFisheries Management Science Programme
FPBCFinance, Planning and Budgeting Committee
GISGeographic Information System
GRTGross Registered Tonnage
GVPGross Value of Production
HIPCHeavily Indebted Poor Countries
IADInstitutional Analysis and Design
ICLARMInternational Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management
IDAFIntegrated Development of Artisanal Fisheries
IFADInternational Fund for Agricultural Development
IIRRInternational Institute for Rural Reconstruction
ILMIntegrated Lakes Management
IMFInternational Monetary Fund
IOFCIndian Ocean Fishery Commission
IOTCIndian Ocean Tuna Commission
ISCFVInternational Statistical Classification of Fishery Vessels
ISSCFCInternational Standard Statistical Classification of Fishery Commodities
JSAJoint Staff Assessment
LAGBIMOLake George Basin Integrated Management Organisation
LMILocal Management Institution
LSLanding Sheet
MDDMinimum Detectable Difference
MDGMillennium Development Goals
MFARMCMunicipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council
MPManagement Plan
MRAGMarine Resources Assessment Group
MRCMekong River Commission
MRRFMekong River and Reservoir Fisheries
NGONon-governmental Organization
NRMNatural Resource Management
NSSDNational Strategy for Sustainable Development
OECSOrganization of Eastern Caribbean States
PAPDParticipatory Action Plan Development
PFMIProvisional Fisheries Management Institution
PFSAParticipatory Fish Stock Assessment
PMEParticipatory Monitoring and Evaluation
PRAParticipatory Rural Appraisal
PRSPoverty Reduction Strategies
PRSPPoverty Reduction Strategy Paper
PSPurchase Slip
PSUPrimary Sampling Unit
RFISRegional Fisheries Information Systems
RMCRegional Management Committee
RMPRoutine Monitoring Programme
RRARapid Rural Appraisal
SADCSouthern African Development Community
SFLPSustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Project
SLSustainable Livelihoods
SLASustainable Livelihoods Approach
SPSampling Programme
SRRSystem Requirement Reports
STREAMSupport to Aquatic Resources Management
SWOTStrengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
TCZCDPTanga Coastal Zone Conservation and Development Project
UNUnited Nations
UNCEDUnited Nations Conference on Environment and Development
UNCLOSUnited Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
UNDPUnited Nations Development Programme
WECAFCWestern Central Atlantic Fishery Commission
WFCWorld Fish Center (former denomination: ICLARM)
WSSDWorld Summit for Sustainable Development

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