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2.1 Organization
2.2 Procedure
2.3 Justification

2.1 Organization

2.1.1 General requirements
2.1.2 Proposed organization
2.1.3 Terms of reference for the Working Party

2.1.1 General requirements

It is presumed that there exists in every country a central planning organization which manages the national economic model. It will commonly be a development and planning ministry. Its fundamental purpose is to define social and economic objectives, to identify national needs, to determine how resources are deployed to best effect in fulfilling them, and to promote the environment in which progress can be made.

This body will prepare and maintain a National Economic Development Plan. This is, logically, the synthesis of a series of sector studies, of which aquaculture is one sector.

The central planning organization could initiate a sector study for aquaculture by appointing and briefing a service institution, or company, or working party, then allow the study to proceed unsupervised. This is not recommended.

Without an external control mechanism, it is more probable than possible that the focus of the study will drift from the course set and produce a sector study which does not fulfil the intended purpose.

Equally important, work may show that the original course should be modified. A mechanism which recognizes this in good time and makes the change as a positive decision will avoid delay and save effort.

2.1.2 Proposed organization

The mechanism proposed is that the central planning body appoints a Steering Committee with a wholly management function. As befits the purpose of a national study, its members would be nationals. However, developing countries or those with little background in aquaculture might include representatives of development agencies or international experts. Both public and private sector representation are essential on such a committee. In all likelihood, a member of the central planning body would act as chairman.

It is the Steering Committee which will set up a Working Party to undertake the study, lay down the parameters within which it will be carried out, and exercise control.

The Steering Committee will be responsible for:

- drafting the Terms of Reference for the study
- appointing and briefing members of the Working Party
- procuring funds and facilities
- receiving and responding to interim reports at specified intervals
- approving the final report(s) as the Aquaculture Development Plan
- sponsoring inclusion of the recommended programme in the National Economic Development Plan.

2.1.3 Terms of reference for the Working Party

The terms of reference are the rules which govern the study. They have a major bearing on how well it is done and should be drafted with the utmost care. The points to be covered are therefore discussed in some detail.

(1) Title

The choice of title is important. It must describe accurately what any reader will wish to know if he or she refers to the document.

(2) Membership

The Working Party will comprise up to 6-10 members. Each will have a specific contribution to make and will take the lead in his own expert field. It is important to minimize overlap of interest and to establish clearly which member is responsible for a particular action.

There will be a Coordinator who is appointed by the Steering Committee at the start to take part in drafting the Terms of Reference and nominating other Working Party members. The Coordinator will be chosen primarily for leadership qualities and ability to maintain momentum and direction. A background in aquaculture is desirable but not essential as expert subject knowledge will be provided by other members. Organization and management skills are more relevant.

Others on the Working Party may include, depending on the objectives and background,

- a biotechnologist,
- an engineer experienced in aquaculture, or a mechanical/hyrdrological engineer,
- an irrigation engineer,
- a geographer, or land-use planner,
- an environmental scientist,
- an agriculturist,
- a sociologist,
- an economist,
- an accountant,
- someone with food-related production expertise,
- someone with food-related marketing expertise,
- an educationalist,
- a logistical coordinator and secretary.

They may be employed consultants or staff seconded from parent organizations for the duration of the study. They should, if possible, be nationals of the country and, as with members of the Steering Committee, both the public and private sectors should be represented. In practice, many of these people are willing to give their professional services free and this can be allowed for when preparing the budget.

Not all these skills need to be provided by Working Party members. The budget will allow for investigations by co-opted consultants, and the Coordinator's authority to employ such people will be defined.

(3) Origin and authority

The study will have been originated by the central planning organization, which, for practical purposes, vests authority on the Steering Committee as managing agent. The Steering Committee will, in turn, delegate powers to the Working Party sufficient for it to cary out the assigned task. These delegated powers must be unambiguous and in a form which will be acknowledged by organizations and individuals whose cooperation is sought. This will accompany an obligation to respect information given in confidence.

The Steering Committee must be available throughout the study to deal with problems raised by the Working Party and to resolve issues not covered by these powers.

(4) Objectives

The objectives should be explicit, detailed and quantitative, and should focus on 'ends' and not 'means'. The Working Party should understand precisely what is expected of it. A list of specific goals is preferable to general statements.

They may be specific aquaculture targets but these are more likely to be described in terms of economic and social targets to be achieved through aquaculture development.

(5) Background

The background material should be explanatory rather than historical narrative. It should justify the task to be undertaken.

(6) Activities schedule

It is a point of debate how far the Working Party should be led in the way it conducts the study. In general, the more this is left to the Coordinator and his team the better.

The Steering Committee may choose to specify organizations with which the Working Party is expected to liaise.

There should be standardization of methodologies to be used by all working parties formed in this way to carry out sector planning studies. The more these can be standardized, the more readily are they integrated into the National Economic Development Plan, and the more meaningful does that plan become.

(7) Completion date

This should be specific and realistic in respect of the amount of work involved. It should be justified by an account of the use to which the findings will be put.

On average, an Aquaculture Development Plan will be completed within 8 months, although it may occupy up to 12 months in a large country with complex options to evaluate, or in a country totally new to aquaculture.

(8) Accommodation and facilities

Ideally, the Working Party will function as a group with accommodation to allow that. At the very least there will be a meeting place for regular contact. The opportunity to develop a group identity is important.

The Working Party should have its own secretarial resources or access to facilities as a right and not a favour. Frustration stemming from difficulty and delay in processing paperwork can have a disproportionate influence on the team's effectiveness. Facilities should include telephones for the team's exclusive use, and dedicated transport.

(9) Budget

The overall budget figure for the study is a statement of funds available, if that is the limiting factor, or of how much the commissioning body is prepared to spend. The usual sequence in drafting Terms of Reference is objectives first, then the budget, then other supporting materials.

Once decided, the budget will be analyzed in terms of study resources and expenditures on activities. This is not an estimate of what the study will cost, but a view of how a given sum of money should best be spent.

The team leader will usually decide, as the investigation proceeds, how the money will actually be expended. If costs in some areas exceed expectations, he must decide what compensating sacrifices to make elsewhere, or make a case to the Steering Committee for overspending if that is possible. A statement of expenditures to-date will be included in each interim report.

A typical budget analysis will provide for:

- fees and personal expenses of Working Party members,
- fees to consultants based on the expected duration of their engagement,
- allowance for accommodation and administration staff,
- travel,
- purchase or hire of equipment,
- orientation and training,
- reporting,
- contingencies.

(10) Reporting

The Terms of Reference will define the form in which the findings are to be communicated, to whom, and when.

There may be two reports, of which the first is a summary submitted without delay to the Steering Committee. This will consist primarily of conclusions and recommendations aimed at generating follow-up decisions quickly.

The second will be the full record of evidence and findings produced at greater leisure but still to a deadline. It is important to recognize that its main purpose is to influence those who have the power and means to carry through the proposals. Preparation of the final report is discussed in Section 3.

There should be a procedure for monitoring progress by the Steering Committee - the virtue of this has been touched upon earlier. The frequency and detail of interim reports must not make them a major diversion of the principal effort. It is helpful to concentrate on exception reporting, i.e., matters which are not progressing according to schedule and on which the Steering Committee's advice is desired.

2.2 Procedure

2.2.1 Overview
2.2.2 Review of objectives
2.2.3 Baseline review
2.2.4 Market research
2.2.5 Targeting scenarios
2.2.6 The investigation process

2.2.1 Overview

The study procedure is best determined by the Team Leader and his team at the outset. Sufficient to say here that there should be a written agreed schedule which identifies the member to lead each action and which establishes a timetable of activities. Regular meetings to monitor progress will probably be geared to the external reporting obligations.

The remainder of this document is addressed to the elements of the study itself. There is no uniquely right way to approach it, and no generalized treatment can cover every situation. The purpose is rather to outline a disciplined approach around which the particular study can be organized.

The study is rarely open-ended as to the depth in which project possibilities and support activities will be explored; is it desirable that it should be? The function of the study is to identify and justify what should be done, not how to do it. There is a temptation to take the investigation into detail which should be left until the decision has been taken to go ahead. The study deadline will impose a limit on what is undertaken. Another constraint is the study budget, as discussed earlier.

The core of any study is the collection and analysis of information. How and where to obtain data is a recurring theme through the following sections. In areas of bio-technology, particularly, FAO will be a primary source for developing countries. Other sources are institution libraries, private libraries, government departments and information services.

It is vital that the Working Party appreciates from the start that it is not enough to identify the technical opportunities and construct a development programme, important though this is. It must be sensitive to the fact that aquaculture, as a relative new industry, will be a net consumer of resources for a long time. The decision-takers, to whom aquaculture is a means to an end and not an end in itself, must be persuaded that the ultimate benefits warrant the sacrifice which aquaculture sector development means for other sectors denied those resources.

2.2.2 Review of objectives

The first task of the assembled Working Party is to review critically the objectives contained in the Terms of Reference. These will be directed at the welfare of the national economy as a whole, and references to aquaculture will rely on assumptions, of which some may be fundamental.

The Working Party must therefore decide whether to work to the objectives as stated, or propose to the Steering Committee an interpretation of them which will allow a sensible action plan.

2.2.3 Baseline review

A natural step in any investigation is to construct a picture of the present situation with regard to aquaculture, and the many political, social, economic and biological environments in which it co-exists with other activities. Interaction with other activities will generally appear as competition, but opportunities for cooperative development may also emerge.

The assembled technical data may simply clarify pre-formed views of what can, and should, be attempted. The real value of a systematic broadly-based examination will come with the realization that non-biotechnical factors are equally important. The team will become aware that the truly scarce resources may have little to do with water or fish.

Bearing in mind that the timetable for the entire implementation programme may occupy many years, this stage is equally concerned with establishing and extrapolating trends.

The information gathered may come under all or some of the following headings, depending on the needs to be satisfied and the opportunities which exist, and analysed within a framework as described in Annex I:

Demographic data

- population distribution

- wealth distribution

- employment

Market data

- domestic and export markets

- consumption of aquatic products

- consumption of alternative foods

- dietary attitudes and prejudices

Market competition

- other aquatic products and sources

- other animal protein foods and sources

Natural resources

- land and water

- climate

- environmental factors, pollution

- ownership and access


in aquaculture, existing and committed

- in other interacting sector activities

- in support industries, engineering

- ownership and finance

- track record


- proven data, domestic

- proven data, international

- research data, commercially unproven

- biological information

- engineering information

Human skills

- general education

- aquaculture technology

- engineering installation and maintenance

- administration and management

Training facilities and research facilities

- universities, colleges

- industrial centres

- international centres

Government policy

- personal and company tax

- development grants and loans

- currency exchange controls

- import/export controls, quotas, tariffs


- land/water/property ownership and use

- planning regulations and procedures

- health and safety

- employment

- investment protection


- roads, railways, etc.

- goods storage and movement

- distances involved

Most of this information will be quantitative. The scope for misinterpretation of numerical data is endless. It must be properly defined to avoid ambiguity.

2.2.4 Market research

The world is littered with investments of all kinds Co produce goods which cannot be profitably sold. The possible reasons are many but a common one, unfortunately, is ignorance of the market for which the investment was made.

The conventional wisdom is first to identify the need, or what the customer wants, and then to develop the means of satisfying that need economically. This applies to aquaculture as to anything else, and it must be done thoroughly.

In parallel with the baseline review, the Working Party must carry out, or commission, a market research investigation organized by the marketing representative on the Working Party.

Much marketing information can be gathered easily and inexpensively from published data. However, this is one area for which specialist help should be employed, particularly if the objective is export business.

Whether the survey is directed at a particular product or market (domestic or export), the information required will include:

- sought-after product properties,
- how the product is used,
- by whom it is bought and why,
- market price,
- the size of the market, historically and forecast, by weight and value,
- how well the market is supplied,
- information on alternative products and competitive suppliers,
- intelligence on the forward planning of competitors,
- special factors relating, perhaps, to packaging and presentation, and distribution.

Opportunity may come in the guise of a growing market in which demand is outstripping supply, or as a mature market of which a share can be secured through competitive advantage. The former is generally an easier selling target, but projections of a rapidly changing situation are inevitably subject to significant error. The data about an established market must be more reliable, but ways have to be found to displace established suppliers. The commonest marketing miscalculations are to under-estimate competitors, and then fail to anticipate how they will react when attacked.

Market price is not a single figure average, but a price range. The level in that range which a particular supplier commands will depend on tangible factors such as quality and reliability, and also on how successfully the product has been promoted.

The product of market research is a quantitative statement by weight and value of potential sales. The figures will vary according to how closely the market specification is matched. There can also be analyses to link different sales forecasts with the probability of achieving them, and to predict a time scale for sales development.

Fish are a perishable commodity and delivery to the market in good condition may not be a simple matter. The investigation should therefore include storage and distribution requirements.

2.2.5 Targeting scenarios

The Working Party should follow the baseline review with a paper exercise to construct one or more scenarios which would substantially fulfil the objectives if they came about.

These may be drawn up through brainstorming sessions which allow the participants to introduce imaginative schemes as well as those which are immediately feasible. The sessions need not be protracted, or the scenarios elaborate.

The process serves the valuable function of forming a group concept of the task ahead and prospects of success. It will also generate a list of possible investment projects and activities with a tentative ranking, based mainly on technical credibility and their relevance to the objectives.

The operational result for the Working Party should be a work schedule to which all the members are committed and their contribution roles defined.

2.2.6 The investigation process The investment programme The support programme

The Working Party now has the task of selecting the most promising development prospects and integrating them into an investment programme and a support programme, which together will constitute the Aquaculture Development Plan. The investment programme

The projects arising from the targeting exercise are evaluated in sufficient depth to assess technical and economic feasibility, the desirable scale and scope of investment and realizable benefits. The evaluation will be structured around the same criteria used for the baseline review, but on a finer scale e.g., a particular tract of land or water, specific skills required. Some constraints will bear on a particular scheme, others will apply to aquaculture development as a whole. A credible proposal would be seen to have identified major obstacles and to suggest how they might be overcome.

The depth of study necessary to demonstrate that a project merits inclusion in the investment programme can be difficult to recognize. The temptation is to go beyond what is needed. The Coordinator needs to exercise close control. Frequent reference to the study objectives will help to preserve perspective. A useful method is for the entire Working Party to examine a typical scheme. This can be used as a benchmark thereafter when the main body of work is shared out among small groups.

It must be remembered that the investment programme Is a scenario of what could be achieved. It is the framework which the Working Party uses to bring out the opportunities for aquaculture, and what must be done Co create, within the country, an environment in which progress can be made. The actual course of investment may be very different.

The probability of success should be estimated in terms of those constraints which are specific to the project. The impact of other constraints can be judged only in the context of the sector development plan as a whole, and will be discussed later.

Benefits will arise directly from successful completion of a particular scheme but will also accumulate as the programme evolves. The Working Party should emphasize the latter effect.

Aquaculture methods range from simple extensive operations to sophisticated capital-intensive installations relying on artificial feed to generate high parallel yield. There is a predictable progression in the scale and complexity of investment, and technical and managerial expertise required to achieve profitable operation. The risk of failure is correspondingly high, a fact of which potential investors will be very aware.

The logical sequence, when assembling a convincing programme of investment opportunities, is to start with pathfinder schemes which are uncontroversial and based on well-tried technology. More ambitious schemes will follow as the experience and competence of those engaged in the industry matures.

The Completed investment programme will consist of a series of phases, each a single project or group of projects. There will be a timetable, not to be taken too seriously at this stage, and decision points which should be taken very seriously. In effect, the next phase will begin when defined performance standards have been met and other prerequisites relating to training, funding, market development, government policy, etc., are in place. The support programme

The second element of the investigation is a schedule of support activities which are necessary for the plan as a whole rather than for any one project -the prerequisites mentioned above. It is these activities which will collectively provide the environment for a successful aquaculture industry. As such, this is a key element of the study.

The constraints which apply to aquaculture development as a whole will be obvious when those identified in the separate project evaluations are looked at together. Wholly predictable are the establishment and staffing of research and development centres, technical training facilities and training programmes. Others will involve government action in the areas previously mentioned.

Measures will be necessary to secure suitable qualified professional management. Engineering resources may be deficient. Sources of finance, as loans or as venture capital, must be located. Market development has to be carried out. These and others form a support programme to be pursued in parallel with the investment programme. The two programmes together constitute the Aquaculture Development Plan.

2.3 Justification

The final act by the Steering Committee and the Working Party is to justify the Aquaculture Development Plan by showing that the accumulated benefits fulfil the objectives set out in the Terms of Reference.

The plan should offer the prospect of robust and progressive growth in the aquaculture industry, measured by the extra production which it can sustain and sell, and the profitable income which the new capacity would generate.

The investment programme must be demonstrably achievable. Beyond that, the Working Party will concentrate on the most pressing needs, be they nutritional, financial, or social, and show how aquaculture can alleviate them.

These arguments are directed at the government and national institutions with the object of securing their understanding of what must be done to create the right conditions and their active support.

The Team should be mindful that sector capacity building offers the country more than the input of new wealth. The economy will be more broadly based and therefore more robust. New skills will be introduced, and new centres of learning and research. Markets will be opened up into which other products may be sold. Employment and prosperity may be brought to deprived areas of the country. These indirect benefits can add greatly to the overall persuasiveness of the case.

Another factor not to be missed is the potential for further developments in aquaculture building on the new foundation created. Most of the currently forecast growth in aquaculture is in countries where it is already well established.

The Working Party will also consider the arguments which will influence entrepreneurs and other potential private sector enterprises - the people who determine, in the end, what aquaculture development will actually take place.

Evidence that the physical conditions are favourable and that the product is marketable present the opportunity to invest. These people are unlikely to seize the opportunity, however, until the government itself is seen by its actions to be committed to aquaculture.

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