Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger
Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Activity 3.1 - Determine operational objectives
After identifying which of the issues (of an ecological, social, economic or institutional nature) requires specific management intervention, the next step is to clearly determine what management outcomes are to be achieved. This requires the generation of clear and measurable operational objectives for each of the priority issues.
An operational objective is the translation of the relevant social values, high level objectives, policy statements and standing legislation etc. (identified in the scoping phase) into a form that has a direct and practical interpretation for the management of the fishery. They need to be outcome-based and can best be described by answering–“What specifically for this issue do you want the fishery to achieve and why?”.
They should clearly describe the expected outcome of management (e.g. maintain the biomass at levels that can generate MSY) they must be ‘measurable’ using either quantitative or qualitative indicators and potentially ‘auditable’. In cases where an issue (e.g. a depleted target stock) involves multiple objectives (e.g. increase biomass levels to MSY but still contribute to food security) that can potentially be in conflict (it would be difficult to increase the biomass without first reducing the removals and therefore potentially impact on food security), it will be necessary to determine the order of priority and timeframe for achieving success.
It is recognised that it can sometimes be difficult to develop operational objectives without also needing to identify the relevant indicator and performance level as these form a package. It may, therefore, be more practical in many cases to combine key Activities 3.1 and 3.2 as a single process.
For each issue you are going to directly manage:
As the operational objectives for a fishery will relate to the specific circumstances in that area, there are not many direct tools to assist with this activity. Examples of EAF based operational objectives have been collated from the numerous case studies that have been completed for various fisheries. These cover each of the categories of EAF issues (e.g. retained species, the ecosystem, social issues, economics, governance) and these examples may be useful to assist in finding the right objective, or at least identify a starting point.
The process of determining operational objectives may generate some conflict if there are disagreements among stakeholders about what is trying to be achieved; therefore the consultation tools related to conflict resolution may be required.
The selection criteria for this tool is given in the table below.
L= Low or Long; H= High; M= Medium, S=Short