Measuring the contribution of small-scale aquaculture


Measuring the contribution
of small-scale aquaculture

An assessment

Rome, 2009

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Bondad-Reantaso M.G.; Prein, M. (eds).
Measuring the contribution of small-scale aquaculture: an assessment.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 534. Rome, FAO. 2009. 180p.

The contribution of small-scale aquaculture (SSA) to sustainable rural development (SRD) include, for example, securing food, efficient use of water, farm materials and other resources, creating wealth, diversifying livelihoods, generating rural employment and income, utilizing family labour, fostering social harmony and empowering women. While recognized as such, there has not been a systematic assessment which clearly measures its contribution.

An “FAO Expert Workshop on Methods and Indicators for Evaluating the Contribution of Small-Scale Aquaculture to Sustainable Rural Development”, held in Nha Trang, Viet Nam from 24 to 28 November 2008, attempted to develop an indicator system which can measure the contribution of SSA to SRD. Indicators are measures, used for different purposes, to help understand issues or conditions, to know how well a system is working and to determine what direction or solutions may be taken to address an issue or a problem before it gets too bad. While indicators are as varied as the systems they try to monitor, there are certain characteristics that effective indicators have in common, e.g. relevance, ease of understanding, reliability and data accessibility.

The expert workshop used a number of processes and series of steps in the development of the indicator system. These included the following: (i) understanding the subject of measurement, (ii) identifying an analytical framework and setting criteria, (iii) developing a list of SSA contributions, (iv) categorizing the contributions based on analytical framework and agreed criteria, (v) devising and organizing the indicators of contribution, and (vi) measuring the indicators. The major outcome was the development, through an iterative process, of an indicator system which was thought to provide a good measure of the contribution of SSA using an analytical framework (i.e. the Sustainable Livelihood Approach or SLA) and agreed criteria (accuracy, measurability and efficiency or AME). Using the SLA and AME criteria, the experts narrowed down to some 20 (from a freelisting of some 50), indicators which were deemed appropriate to assess the contribution of SSA to SRD. The SLA was selected as an appropriate analytical framework as it reflects the primary objective of an SSA system which is to balance the use and/or build up of the five livelihood capitals or assets (natural, physical, human, financial and social).

The experts agreed by consensus that the 20 potential indicators include: (1) flows/enterprises, (2) off-farm nutrient use/farm products (input/output ratio), (3) enterprises’ contribution to cash income, (4) productive use of pond water, (5) return to land capital and labour; trends in physical asset used for SSA, (6) income from SSA and derived from SSA, (7) SSA contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), (8) farmers who are members of active farmer associations or community organizations, (9) household consumption of fish, (10) seasonal distribution of fish consumption, (11) women access to resources and benefits of SSA, (12) women engaged willingly and as active decision-makers in SSA (including post-harvesting), (13) batch testing for banned chemicals or poor quality aquatic products aquatic, (14) farmers adopting Better Management Practices (BMPs), (15) farmers involved in traceability system, (16) export earnings, (17) employment generation, (18) disease, (19) vulnerability, and (20) resource use conflicts. This publication contains two parts: Part 1 contains the report of the above expert workshop; Part 2 contains 10 technical papers presented during the expert workshop and an additional paper which provides a detailed account of the processes undertaken in the development of an indicator system to measure the contribution of SSA to SRD.


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Preparation of this document
Acronyms and abbreviations

PART 1 – Report of the FAO Expert Workshop on Methods and Indicators for Evaluating the Contribution of Small–scale Aquaculture to Sustainable Rural Development
24–28 November 2008, Nha Trang, Viet Nam

(Download - 142 kb)

Opening of the workshop
Purpose of the workshop
Workshop participation
Workshop process
Workshop highlights

Technical sessions
Working group sessions

Workshop outcomes
Conclusion and the way forward
Closing the workshop

Appendix 1 Expert workshop agenda
Appendix 2 List of participants
Appendix 3 Expert profile

PART 2 – Contributed papers on measuring the contribution of small-scale aquaculture
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Key concepts and principles in developing indicators for sustainable rural development
Maria Victoria O. Espaldon
Rural aquaculture: reflections ten years on
Harvey Demaine
Millenium Development Goals and aquaculture: indicators to evaluate conservation of the resource base for poverty reduction
Premachandra Wattage
Small-scale aquaculture: a fantasy or economic opportunity
Curtis M. Jolly, Gloria Umali-Maceina and Nathanael Hishamunda
Access rights for sustainable small-scale aquaculture and rural development
Susana V. Siar and Percy E. Sajise
Social impacts of coastal aquaculture in the Mekong Delta
Le Xuan Sinh
Assessment of aquaculture adoption by small farmers using sustainability indicators
Mark Prein
Indicators and standards for responsible aquaculture production
Flavio Corsin
Theory and practice of sustainable livelihood development
Maria Victoria O. Espaldon
Indicators of sustainable small-scale aquaculture development
Pedro B. Bueno
Development of an indicator system for measuring the contribution of small-scale aquaculture to sustainable rural development
Melba G. Bondad-Reantaso, Pedro B. Bueno, Harvey Demaine and Tipparat Pongthanapanich