Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger
Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Activity 4.1 - Develop an operational plan and monitor its progress
Overview of the activity
Having an agreed set of management measures to deal with each of the key issues for your fishery is good, but to be useful, they need to be implemented. The translation from policy to action is, however, often not done well. Developing an operational plan that precisely identifies all the activities and processes that need to be undertaken, by whom and when can reduce the chances that your EAF Management Plan becomes another document gathering dust.
Generating an operational plan requires going through the full set of EAF management measures developed in Step 3.3 and determining (i) what are the specific activities that need to be done; (ii) who are the actual persons/institutions that will be responsible for completing these activities; and (iii) are there really enough resources (both people and financial) to complete each of the tasks. It is not until after this detailed analysis is done that you can be confident that your proposed management arrangements are feasible.
The operational plan will usually be developed by the management agency, given that their staff and resources are most often required. If specific actions are to be undertaken by other groups, they need to be involved in planning for these aspects. The plan should include a schedule of activities and responsibilities with clear milestones. It should be monitored regularly to ensure adequate progress is being made with regular reviews (at least once every 6 months) undertaken to see if the plan is being implemented successfully or if any revisions are required.
The operational plan can be a simple text document, a spreadsheet or use project management software.
Development of operational plan
Monitoring and review of Progress
To assist with this process, operational planning templates and a checklist of common activities are available in some of the EAF guides. These outline the nature of the activity, the designated implementation unit/institution, the time frames, the expected outputs, etc. which might be sufficient in most cases.
There are also many generic project planning steps and project management guides plus a large number of project management software packages (some of which are ‘free’). These software systems can, however, be complex to use and if not used routinely can lead to a waste of time from the time taken in the initial start up and input of data.
Some form of communication strategy will often be needed to ensure those who need to know what is required of them are adequately informed. This includes both communication within the management agency but also to all important stakeholders, in other agencies and in the industry and the community.
The selection criteria for these tools are given in the table below.
L= Low or Long; H= High; M= Medium, S=Short