In order to guide responsible management decisions ensuring they achieve sustainable fishery goals, managers require sound advice based on application of relevant stock assessment tools. Fisheries assessment can be complex and a large number of tools are available, including those developed by FMSP. Over-arching principles exist, e.g. the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries requiring that assessment uncertainties are accounted for in precautionary and adaptive management. Many managers, however, are constrained in adopting good management practices and in selecting appropriate tools by their limited understanding of the benefits and needs of the alternatives available. Simple guidance on the selection and use of stock assessment tools, and how their outputs inform the management process is needed.
Stock assessment tools and fishery management guidelines developed through more than 20 previous projects were synthesised by a previous project, R8360, into a framework guide to the use of FMSP stock assessment tools, published as FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 487. In collaboration with partners from three Indian state fishery departments, the fisheries and training institutes of the Indian Centre for Agricultural Research, and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, this material was used to develop and test a new simpler set of guides explaining how to use FMSP tools to provide appropriate scientific advice to fisheries managers allowing for uncertainty. A step by step guide to how to write a management plan was also developed illustrating how managers and scientists should work together. The materials have been written for fishery managers and those charged with stock assessment in developing countries.
This project developed and tested a concise 'Managers Guide' and complementary 'Stock Assessment Guide' for fisheries. The former describes a simple step by step process for writing and implementing a fishery management plan. The latter shows how stock assessment tools can support fishery managers in designing their management plans and in managing the fishery. PowerPoint presentations were also provided for running a training course on the FMSP stock assessment tools.
The active participation of Indian and Caribbean partners in the project increased local capacity and understanding of fisheries assessment and management. The guides and presentations developed will be a resource for local fisheries training institutions, in addition to their use by mangers and scientists. Beyond participating organisations, the guides have been published through the Centre for Environmental Education Ahmedabad, India, in both hard and electronic formats (the latter available on this and the FAO OneFish websites). Their availability was announced through email and hard copy distribution of leaflets and announcements in newsletters and e-groups (OneFish newsletter, WorldFish NAGA journal, WIOMSA newsletter, Gulf and Caribbean fisheries institute e-group, and the Caribbean fisheries e-group).