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Understanding poverty and vulnerability

Understanding poverty and vulnerability, and their associated factors and underlying causes is the overarching information priority for small-scale fisheries management and research. The current policy shift towards decentralization of management responsibilities and the importance of small-scale fisheries in poverty alleviation and food security requires a reconsideration of the type of data and information necessary for fisheries management and the way these data are collected, used and disseminated.

Role of research

Research plays an important role, not just to inform policy, but in empowerment, advocacy and mobilization of resources. Major areas for improvement include:

  • Integration of indigenous knowledge and participatory research in the co-management of small-scale fisheries.
  • Appropriate communication and networking methods, able to better reach target audiences -- including improved access to print and electronic material in local languages, use of popular media such as radio or theatre, easy-to-understand and well-illustrated forms of information and guidance, interactive platforms for users of the materials to exchange experience, dedicated training workshops.
  • Elaboration of assessment methodologies that allow a better understanding and documentation of the true contribution of small-scale fisheries in the livelihoods of fishing communities.
  • Development of information systems that are low on data requirements -- i.e. the use of data recording systems based on the collection of only few indicators, that can provide essential information for the understanding of the fisheries.
  • Adoption of information systems that allow evaluation and monitoring of poverty/vulnerability in fishing communities - i.e. the development of methodologies (as poverty profiling), aimed at better describing and understanding the various dimensions of poverty situations. A poverty profile consists of the characterization, localization, enumeration and description of groups of poor people.
  • Information systems on the pro-poor impact of decentralization reforms -- i.e. the development of methodologies aimed at assessing the progress in equity and empowerment induced by the change in governance arrangements.
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