There is a variety of approaches, theories and methods within science that have been applied in studies on fisheries management and communities. However, many of the studies are based on one of the following scientific approaches: inductive, deductive, retroductive or adductive approach to analysis of fishing systems and communities. EcoFishMan aims at combining these approaches in the development of the responsive fisheries management system (RFMS). This multi-theoretical approach makes it possible to include the more diffuse ”human factor” into the models of the system. The research process must be flexible enough to account for different interpretations and opinions among the stakeholders about results and wanted outcome. Thus, it will be possible to implement the RFMS where the procedures and the transparency of the systems account for legitimacy and compliance even among those who disagree or have other goals. That means that a “good” RFMS can get approval despite the fact that stakeholders may have different agendas.
This combined approach is consistent with the interactive approach to management and governance introduced by Kooiman et al. The interactive approach defines management as interactions between the value definitions (from society, science included), institutions in which the values are embedded and the practical activities in everyday life. There is a continuous interaction between the three levels. So far there have been few successful examples of an application of this approach in practical science and management. EcoFishMan has the ambition to be the first to achieve this within the area of fisheries management, and is designed in a multidisciplinary manner where each research problem is approached from an interdisciplinary angle. If EcoFishMan succeeds, this can be a model for how to carry out interdisciplinary research in the future.
The RFMS should take into account ecosystem concerns, improve gears to reduce bycatch and discards, reduce fleet sizes, improve fishery statistics and research, integrate the uncertainty in the state of the stocks in the decision, associate stakeholders and non-fishery users in decision-making and forecasting potential effects of climate changes. The precautionary approach to fisheries management should be applied, to take early management measures in order to avoid crisis and higher cost in the future. The purpose of the fishery is to maximize benefits to the fishermen subject to biological constraint. The management system involves biological, economic, social and political decisions and must be formulated with the active participation of fishermen and processors.
To address these issues, EcoFishMan is structured into nine work packages (WPs). The first six WPs are scientific RTD, the WP7 is on stakeholder interaction, and WP8 and WP9 deal with dissemination and project management, respectively. The main interactions between the WPs are illustrated in the Figure below.
The WPs are:
To some degree, the structure of the EcoFishMan project has been designed to resemble a RBM system, where the principal (represented by the scientists in WP4), in interaction with stakeholder organisations (WP7) designs a RFMS, to be applied to -, and implemented in the fisheries sector by region (WP5) and the results and success of the RFMS will be evaluated by the assessor (WP6) who in turn reports to the principal (WP4). In a results based management system like the RFMS the stakeholder holds an important role throughout the process, and that is illustrated by WP7 interacting with all other WPs.
Figure: Main interactions between the EcoFishMan WPs
i) Methodology: Identification and evaluation related to existing results-based management (RBM) systems, technological tools and models, and outcome targets
The S/T methodology for identification and evaluation of existing RBMS is a literature review. Since these systems come in many forms, this review will focus on RBM in the public sector, with a particular focus on resource-extracting industries like forestry, mining and petroleum development. In addition, a more detailed review will be undertaken with respect to examples of fully developed or partial RBM systems within fisheries, for instance from New Zealand, Iceland and Norway.
A particular problem in the development of RBM systems concerns the appropriate formulation of outcome targets, that is, specific performance measures. These are critical, since they have several functions in the regulation of the relationship between the principal and the agent, i.a. as mechanisms of evaluation, control, motivation and learning. The S/T methodology for identification of outcome targets is based on a review of EU policy documents. As pointed out by the Green Paper, however, current policy objectives are general and often non-consistent. Since the formulation of overall objectives as well as the specification outcome targets are fundamentally political issues, which must be decided in some political-demicratic process, it is in principle not possible to arrive at some consistent and operational set of outcome targes by technical-analytic means within the project. Instead, a reasonable set of outcome targets, based on existing policy formulation and refined through stakeholder consultation, will be assumed for project purposes.
When evaluating the existing RBM systems the following factors will be taken into consideration:
- Roles and responsibilities of the actors, and interaction between them
- The outcome targets that the prototype was designed to meet
- The indicators chosen, and the data available for those indicators
- The procedures within the prototype
- The need for data and recordings
- The need for re-organization and training should the prototype be implemented
Each prototype of the RFMS (including the final version) will be evaluated in the same way as the existing systems are evaluated, using the same criteria. Evaluation methodologies include for instance SWOT analysis (Strength-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats), PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) and Benchmarking.
ii) Methodology: Choosing and defining indicators
To measure the performance of the RFMS against the outcome targets, a wide range of indicators is needed, from biological reference points to qualitative social indicators. Indicators that are already developed and accepted, for instance the limit reference point for a certain spawning stock biomass or the income level of a fisher, the ones established for the ecosystem approach under the EU (Data Collection Framework (DCF, EC Council Regulation No199/2008, Commission Regulation No665/2008 and Commission Decision No949/2008), and the ones recently developed under the FP7 IMAGE project will be used when appropriate. Potential new indicators will be identified and evaluated in workshops between researchers and stakeholders when needed. Concepts, definitions and methodology relating to indicators vary a lot between disciplines and approaches, so several different methods will be used for indicator identification and evaluation. The main methodologies to be used in EcoFishMan will be based on the “System dynamics” approach which is widely used to explain complex system interactions such as fishing, energy systems, ecosystems economy etc. The system dynamics approach is combined with a modified HACCP risk assessment methodology inspired from pipeline designs used in the oil industry and also previously applied in the food industry.
The workshops between researchers and stakeholders will be structured around the “Logical Framework Approach” (LFA) used among others by UN, FAO, the World Bank and recently also in the ICES community. LFA is a tool widely used for project planning, and with development of objectively verifiable indicators as one of the steps in the process. LFA is an effective tool for organising the indicator development in this interdisciplinary project with many disciplines and stakeholders represented.
A framework and explicit criteria have recently been developed to help in selecting indicators for ecosystem-based fisheries management, these will be utilized in the project. Qualitative models have recently been developed to aid in the identification and interpretation of indicators, and these will be used as a complimentary approach to quantitative methods. Some candidates for RFMS indicators, as identified in previous studies and papers, are listed below:
1. Indicators related to the maximum sustainable yield (MSY)
- Ratio of current effort to that at MSY
- Ratio of current fishing mortality rate to that at MSY
- Ratio of current population biomass or spawning biomass to that at MSY
- Ratio of current biomass (or spawning biomass) to virgin biomass (or spawning biomass)
2. Economic Indicators
- gross tonnage (decked vessels)
- no of boats (undecked vessels)
- total deflated value (landed price)
- total effort
- landed price
- export/harvest value
- fleet age composition
- total employment
3. Indicators of overfishing
- percentage of mature fish in catch, with 100% as target;
- percent of specimens with optimum length in catch, with 100% as target;
- percentage of ‘mega-spawners‘ in catch, with 0% as target, and 30–40% as representative of reasonable stock structure if no upper size limit exists.
4. Ecosystem indicators
- Mean length in population
- Mean weight in population
- Stock density indices
- Mean length in community
- Mean weight in community
- Maximum length
- Size diversity
iii) Methodology: Design and development of the RFMS conceptual model
In complex multi-stage development processes it is often very difficult to get one development phase “perfect” before moving on to the next phase. Weaknesses, limitations and potential for improvement are often discovered only in the next chronological phase in the development process when “going back” may be difficult.
For this reason, EcoFishMan has decided to develop the RFMS in an iterative process, using the spiral development model commonly used in complex development projects, especially in engineering. The RFMS development itself will take notice of usual system development theory, with requirement analysis, system description, programming and implementation.
Figure: The spiral development model used for developing the RFMS
The spiral model is a development process combining elements of both design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts.
A lot of guidelines and articles have been produced to advice on how to develop RBM systems. The RFMS model will mainly be designed according to the specifications given by UNDP which states that a good RBM system should be:
- Valid; with respect to the criteria it was designed for, especially the outcome targets
- Practical; it should be possible to implement in the world as it is
- Flexible enough to account for real-world situations
- Configurable to particular applications
- Simple and unambiguous; understood by the stakeholders
- Transparent; both to the users and to all other stakeholders
- Clearly tied to the indicators; what does a change in a value of an indicator mean
UNDP also states that an important criteria of success is to give the users and stakeholders a feeling of ownership to the system. In EcoFishMan we hope to achieve this through extensive stakeholder consultation and involvement.
iv) Methodology: Data collation, modelling and simulation for each case study
This project will collate a huge amount of information which will be in a variety of standard and non-standard formats. The one collected under the EU Data Collection Framework (DCF, EC Council Regulation No199/2008, Commission Regulation No665/2008 and Commission Decision No949/2008) will be have to be used as a priority. This information is currently in a variety of datasets which need to be properly catalogued, indexed and harmonized so that in the future effective and efficient use can be made of the information. The intention is to connect the data in several relational databases in a many-to-many relationship. Where possible, existing standards for electronic exchange and extraction of data will be used (XML in general, UBL or TraceCore XML for commercial data). The database will provide multi-user, client-server access which will be scalable to accommodate the anticipated number of simultaneous users. The final database management system chosen for this project will be dependent on a number of factors including: ability to support client-server operations, scalability for future proofing, previous use in similar projects, open source status and availability as well as robustness.
The GIS tool, which will serve as a Decision Support System (DSS) will run on a Geographical Information System Web Map Server (WMS OGC version 1.1.1 compliant), which will provide the interface to the geographical objects within the reference and collated databases and enable direct access to these items by a click on the map. The map interface visible to the user runs using Adobe Flash Player. This freeware player has become the de-facto standard on the web for delivering high-impact, rich web content across all browsers and platforms. The WMS enables geographic data from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats (raster, vector, XML) to be displayed and analyzed. The WMS can be optionally integrated with third party Desktop GIS software (ArcGIS, MapInfo) so that both a user's proprietary and EcoFishMan geographic datasets can be viewed simultaneously from a single desktop PC.
The software development methodology will use an evolutionary delivery model. This model will ensure that the software is delivered (internally to the other project partners, users and other interested parties) in incremental stages. The development will start with a design specification, this having been drawn up by interaction, discussion and correspondence with the stakeholders. This methodology will enable sufficient comment and modification to be made during the development process to ensure effective development progress. The software will be finally acceptance tested by the users, to ensure it meets their needs. This however should be a formality as they will have been in the development review loop since inception.
v) Methodology: Evaluation of RFMS and cost-benefit analysis
Each prototype of the RFMS (including the final version) will be evaluated in the same way as the existing RBM systems are evaluated, using the same criteria.
A major component of the evaluation of the RFMS will be done in conjunction with the stakeholders. The implications, limitations, costs and benefits will be extensively debated at workshops. The workshop methodology will be based on the “Logical Framework Approach”.
The cost-benefit analysis will be based on a review of methodologies for analysis of factors influencing the economics of RFMS that embraces a balanced cost-benefit method to be applied. The appropriate method depends on the circumstances to be analyzed, available data, the accumulated knowledge of the fishery and of other potentially affected entities, and on the nature of the regulatory system. The options may include, but are not limited to, complex multi-sector bio economic models, sparser static breakeven analysis, theory-informed qualitative descriptions, and other accepted forms of economic analysis.
A broad conceptual framework combining biological information with fishery economics is needed for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of fishery management actions. Analysis of fishery regulatory actions requires consideration of the relevant sociological, economic, and biological aspects affecting fisheries. The economic analyses of the effects of alternative management actions are expected to include both quantifiable and qualitative measures of the effects that are difficult to quantify but, nevertheless, essential to consider. An evaluation of RFMS does also include broad consideration of the distributive effects and economic burden that may be imposed on individuals, businesses of differing sizes, as well as small communities and governmental entities. The analytical method will at least consist of following components:
- Analysis of potential changes in prices, quantities produced or consumed, fishing or observational trips, etc., as a result of changing supply and demand conditions in the marketplace.
- Examination of the change in revenues and operating costs for firms or individuals in the fishery in response to changes in market, biological conditions, and fishery management regulations.
- Analysis of how the regulation is expected to affect fishing fleets. In the absence of either reliable cost or price data, a qualitative discussion of changes in fleet size and composition may be presented.
- Use biological analysis to explain the response of the stock or stocks of living marine resources to the proposed regulation.
By melding these four components – and other might be added - into an overall fishery economic framework, a cost benefit analysis can be conducted of the case studies using RFMS and the new RBM system may be evaluated.
vi) Methodology: Stakeholder interaction
The main tool to be used to ensure creative yet structured ways of linking scientists and stakeholders is workshops structured according to the Logical Framework Approach (LFA), together with focus group, role play, SWOT and PEST (STEER) methods. LFA is an analytical tool for objective-oriented design, planning, monitoring and evaluation of (development) projects.
LFA was developed by USAID in 1969 and has since been utilized by many larger donor organizations, such as: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, UK Department for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, European Commission and the Inter-American Development Bank. A large number of NGOs are also using LFA. OECD’s Development Assistance Committee is promoted use of the method among the member countries. In Canada the approach is used not only in development aid, but also in domestic public investment projects.
The objective of the LFA is to provide a clear rational framework for the identification of objectives, planning activities and evaluating success, while including external factors.
- Offers an efficient way of communication across different sectors and project organizations
- Clarify the purpose and justification of the project
- Identify needed information
- Define key elements
- Analyse the context at an early stage
- Identify how results should be measured
- Asks fundamental questions
- Analyze weaknesses
- Improve planning by including external factors
- Monitoring and analyzing project effects
- Facilitate common understanding and communication between stakeholders
- Standardized procedures for collecting and assessing data is a benefit for management
- Used at different stages of the project cycle for different purposes
- Systematic, but not rigid procedures
Limitation of LFA:
- May contribute to oversimplification
- Full benefit achieved only through systematic training of all parties involved and systematic follow-up
- Seen by many as too rigid, especially if objectives and external factors are not adjusted regularly
- Following LFA closely do not guarantee success
Steps in LFA development:
- Define the Development Objectives (or Goals)
- Define the Immediate Objective (Purposes)
- Define Outputs
- Define Activities
- Define Inputs
- Define the Assumptions required at each level
- Define Indicators
- Define Means of Verification
Focused interviews with individuals and groups were developed in the 1940s by Merton and his colleagues and used since in marketing research, sociology and social psychology. In the focus group, group interaction is employed to generate data and as a source of data for analysis. Group forces or dynamics become an integral part of the procedure with participants engaged in discussion with each other rather than directing their comments solely to the moderator. It is assumed that group interaction will be productive in widening the range of responses, activating forgotten details of experience, and releasing inhibitions that may otherwise discourage participants from disclosing information. Synergism, snowballing, stimulation, security, and spontaneity are some of the benefits from participant interaction. Moreover, focus groups produce data rich in detail that are difficult to achieve with other research methods as they are designed to gather information from the lay people. The goal in organizing focus groups is to investigate concerns, experiences, or attitudes/beliefs related to a clearly defined topic. Common uses of focus groups include obtaining background information about a topic, generating research hypothesis, stimulating new ideas and creativity, generating impressions of products or programs, diagnosing the potential for problem, facilitating the interpretation d previously obtained quantitative results, obtaining new insights and knowledge about phenomena of interest.
In a role-play, students assume the roles of characters in a scenario. The scenario may be fictional or based on an actual incident. To be effective, a role-play scenario should have sufficient detail to challenge and engage the students, it should contain an underlying conflict, and it should appeal to students’ imaginations. Role-plays and simulations (realistic role-plays) are frequently used for workplace training and in academic settings. The role play method provides the opportunity for learners to gain new knowledge and appreciate different points of view and perspectives, based on the role(s) being played. Role-play also helps learners develop and practice new skills and behaviours, such as improving communication, exploring solutions, and resolving conflict. Through the role play method, educators are well positioned to analyze the learners’ reactions and responses, and peers can give direct and immediate feedback. The method was used successfully in multi-stakeholder natural resource management and disaster management.
SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. The usefulness of SWOT analysis is not limited to profit-seeking organizations as it may be used in any decision-making situation when a desired end-state (objective) has been defined, for example in environmental management. Examples include: non-profit organizations, governmental units, and individuals. SWOT analysis may also be used in pre-crisis planning and preventive crisis management, in creating a recommendation during a viability study.
The aim of any SWOT analysis is to identify the key internal and external factors that are important to achieving the objective. These come from within the company's unique value chain. SWOT analysis groups key pieces of information into two main categories: Internal factors – The strengths and weaknesses internal to the organization; and External factors – The opportunities and threats presented by the external environment to the organization.
PEST analysis can be used to help identify factors. PEST analysis stands for "Political, Economic, Social, and Technological analysis" and describes a framework of macro-environmental factors used in the environmental scanning component of strategic management. PEST analysis will be extended to STEER (which takes into consideration Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors) within the EcoFishMan project.