The WWF Southern Toliara Marine Natural Resource Management project aims to achieve conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity in the southern Toliara region, with local communities benefiting from and contributing to this. The project has facilitated the implementation of a participatory resource management strategy with local fishermen in pilot sites, and has supported the creation of local management committees of fishing zones and the elaboration of local conventions to be enforced by the fishermen.
Data on the fisheries (stock status, productivity, catches and effort) in the region are lacking. In order to generate information on the state of the fishery stocks in the region, to contribute to the development of local management plans, it was felt that Participatory Fisheries Stock Assessment (ParFish) was appropriate. Participatory Fisheries Stock Assessment (ParFish) is a stock assessment package that uses a participatory approach to collecting data and identifying management recommendations. It is useful in small-scale and data-deficient fisheries as it can utilise information from fishers, obtained through interviews. It also encompasses a participatory process to carry out the assessment and identify options for management, which can be used to develop a management plan for the fishery. This could contribute towards the evidence for MSC certification under principles 1 and 3.
A ParFish training workshop was conducted for WWF staff, and staff of other NGOs, the regional fisheries administration and the marine research institute (IHCM) of the University.The overall objective of the workshop was to provide training in the ParFish approach and techniques to enable participants to conduct a ParFish stock assessment and use the results to develop proposals for management options with the participation of fishers. Specifically:
To provide background on the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Principles and Criteria for sustainable fisheries as a framework for improving management;
To provide training on fishery stock assessment;
To provide specific training sessions to train participants in the tools, techniques and software for implementing ParFish.