In spite of the increasing shift towards co-management, the use of data and information remains fundamental to the management process but now data collection systems or programmes must be designed to support the diverse needs of a range of potential stakeholders, tailored according to their objectives, capacity and available resources. Mechanisms and approaches for the collection and sharing of data and information to develop and sustain these co-managed fisheries are, however, conspicuously lacking in most developing countries. The project R8285, funded by FMSP in order to help bridge this gap, employed a series of participatory research activities to develop guidelines for designing data collection systems to meet the needs of co-managers. The guidelines and conceptual framework produced as a result required further evaluation and promotion.
This project maintained the strong emphasis upon participatory research activities adopted under R8285. Further evaluation of the Guidelines were undertaken by project partners with resource users in Udon Thani, Thailand and in eight locations in seven Districts in Bangladesh under the DFID funded Community-Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) and Fourth Fisheries Projects (FFP) in Bangladesh.
Project activities included: communication stakeholder analysis to develop and refine communication and uptake monitoring plans; ongoing and additional field-testing and evaluation of guidelines; a workshop to evaluate the final Guidelines; revision and adaptation of technical guidelines incorporating lessons, and feedback; and production of non-technical forms of guidelines tailored to needs of different communication stakeholders.
Promotion of the project outputs was carried out via a number of materials and channels, including project flyers and leaflets, a poster, website links, newsletter articles, promotion meetings and events, distribution of draft guidelines and a policy brief. Uptake monitoring was achieved through questionnaires and communications monitoring forms.
The feedback received from field applications was used to improve and refine the Guidelines developed under R8285. These Technical Guidelines now forms Part II of a FAO Fisheries Technical Paper (Serial No. 494/2). The draft Field Guide, substantially revised and re-named A Practical Guide, now forms Part I of this Paper (Serial No. 494/1) aiming to provide non-technical advice to field practitioners working alongside resource users.
A policy document has been produced which aims to raise awareness among policy makers of the importance of data collection systems in the context of the management process; highlight the challenges faced by those involved in designing and implementing data collection systems or programmes; and demonstrate solutions through application of the Guidelines, using experiences and lessons learnt by project partners in Thailand and Bangladesh.
The project has raised awareness among project partners and other target communication stakeholders of the importance of effective and sustainable data collection systems to support the co-management process. Data collection and sharing systems have begun to be developed and implemented by co-management stakeholders in eight locations in seven Districts of Bangladesh and at the Huay Luang Reservoir in Udon Thani, NE Thailand. The project activities have helped to improve stakeholder knowledge and capacity to both manage fisheries and to design effective and sustainable data collection and sharing systems arising from their participation in the project.