Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger
Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Activity 2.1 – Asset and Issue identification
Overview of the activity
Based on the scope and values of the fishery, the next step, which is central to the entire EAF process, is to identify all the relevant issues (assets, outcomes, systems and drivers) associated with the fishery across each of the EAF components (ecological wellbeing, human wellbeing and ability to achieve).
The identification process must cover all direct and indirect impacts generated by the fishing activities on retained and non retained species, the broader ecosystem; plus the wanted and unwanted social and economic outcomes on both the fishers and the community. The process should also identify all the elements needed to enable the effective governance and administration of the fishery, including legislation, plans, consultation, compliance, etc. Finally, it also records any issues external to the management system that could affect the performance of the fishery including natural (e.g. climatic) and manmade ecological (e.g. pollution), social (e.g. international attitudes) or economic (e.g. exchange rates) impacts.
Relevant stakeholders (fishers, managers, scientists, community etc.) should be able to raise any issues through a suitable consultation process such as interviews, surveys or, most commonly, stakeholder workshops. The consultation process must be completed in a common language of the participants and they must be given sufficient instructions on the purpose and process before beginning.
A number of workshop tools can assist with effective issue identification and structuring. This may include brain storming, checklists, component trees and impact – asset matrices. These can be used separately but also in combination to help ensure (i) good participation, (ii) comprehensive sets of issues are generated and (iii) these are sorted into the relevant EAF categories to facilitate their alignment with one or more of the high level fishery management objectives.
Stakeholder input is essential for this activity and this can be facilitated in various ways. e.g. formal workshops and focus groups using EAF presentation materials or a series of individual discussions, e.g. with representatives of the various groups. These consultation methods and tools need not be mutually exclusive and a small group of individual interviews can be used to draft a set of identified issues while a broader consultation can subsequently be asked to formally amend and adopt the final set of issues. For widely dispersed stakeholders or where large numbers are involved, surveys or questionnaires may be more appropriate.
There are also a number of specific tools available to enhance the level of participation in issue identification (brainstorming and cardstorming) within workshops or focus groups. There are tools to help ensure all relevant EAF issues are identified (component trees, checklists, conceptual models) and sorted into categories (Objective – impact matrices).
The tools used should match the stakeholders’ capability and the environment where the meetings will occur. Addressing subsistence or other community-level fisheries on a beach will require less formal/technical processes to be effective. For meetings with government officials and large scale fisheries in a formal environment, use of computer-based methods is common. It is often best to use a combination of tools but in all cases, the assistance of expert facilitation helps greatly and the discussions (along with any reference material) should always be in the common language of the audience.
L= Low or Long; H= High; M= Medium, S=Short