Artisanal fisheries in developing countries contribute to livelihoods, food security and economic growth. However, they pose challenges for management due to the frequent lack of historical data, and capacity to undertake detailed stock assessments. Previous project R7947 developed a methodology for the assessment of a fishery which can be undertaken with the involvement of fishers, and in situations where there is limited data.
In order to encourage and promote the use of this methodology, it was necessary that the methodology was tested and refined, and that supporting materials for its use were developed.
The project further developed and promoted the Participatory Fisheries Stock Assessment methodology developed previously under the FMSP. The stock assessment software had been tested previously in Tanzania and the Caribbean, and was refined further under this project through a case study in Zanzibar to make it more user-friendly. A Toolkit was developed, which gives a framework and guidance on the complete process of collecting information, conducting the assessment, interpreting the results, and communicating with resource users. A Software Manual was developed to give step-by-step guidance on using the software.
The project also implemented a communications strategy, which included dissemination of project flyers, presentations, meetings and training events at national (Tanzania and Zanzibar), regional (East Africa) and international levels, in order to promote the uptake and further support of the toolkit.
The project has successfully developed the ParFish Toolkit to support the use of the stock assessment software (previously PFSA) developed under project R7947. The assessment technique does not require long-term time series data, can be applied with limited resources to provide a starting point for management, and can include resource users' knowledge. The Toolkit supports the use of the software, through guidance on conducting the complete process. The approach encourages the involvement of resource users, explicitly incorporating their knowledge into the assessment. The Toolkit includes participatory tools, decision-making protocols and ways of communicating assessment results to fishers.
The project increased the capacity of staff at the Institute of Marine Studies (IMS), Zanzibar, through involvement in the case study fieldwork, and training sessions provided for the field-testing. IMS is now a resource centre that can provide support to the East Africa region for implementing ParFish.
The promotion activities of the project have raised awareness of the methodology within a number of institutions in Tanzania, regionally in Africa and Asia, and internationally. Additionally, a number of opportunities were identified for submission of proposals for further support to the application of the ParFish methodology.