The Regional Workshop on Improvement of Fisheries Information Collection in Coastal Small-scale and Inland Fisheries of the Southeast Asian Region

Date: 28-30 January 2013
Venue: Bangkok, Thailand

1. Reviewing the problems of fisheries data collection in coastal small-scale and inland fisheries at national; and 
2. Identifying the key issues of fisheries data collection that should be addressed in order to improve the countries’ efforts in fisheries data collection; and
3. Sharing the lessons learned from effective ways of data collection among the SEAFDEC Member Countries.

Background of the Workshop
The Regional Workshop aimed to review and identify the difficulty of fisheries data collection in coastal small-scale and inland fisheries as well as find out the effective ways of data collection from SEAFDEC Member Countries. This could be achieved by fostering the lessons learned in terms of the methodologies and exchanging experiences in effective fisheries data collection. It was also envisaged that such effort could be adapted in the setting up of fisheries census with a future goal of improving fisheries data collection.

In addition, SEAFDEC has fourth stages to support the SEAFDEC Member Countries during 5 years. The first stage is this Regional Workshop. The Second stage is the Regional Training course, which will be organized after this Regional Workshop, on building up the applicable cost effective fisheries information collection scheme for improvement of monitoring to fisheries activities on February, 26 to March, 3 at SEAFDEC-Training Department. The Regional Training course are providing the methodology and knowledge to the participants, then, they will making the idea for future national activities for improvement data collection. After the Regional Training course, SEAFDEC expected that the representatives from SEAFDEC Member Countries in this Regional Training course will making the National Workshop for improvement of fisheries information collection and fisheries statistic for sustainable fisheries management in their own country with supporting by SEAFDEC. The last state, After the National Workshop, SEAFDEC's staff will collaborate with the National's staff to providing the on-site training course to facilitate fisheries information gathering through introduction of community-based fisheries management. SEAFDEC expected that each SEAFDEC member countries will making a plan and take an action in the countries.
Conclusion of the Workshop
The SEAFDEC Member Countries presented their current data collection methods and fisheries information. There are different types of data and information that should be collected and could be used to support management for sustainable fisheries, e.g. census, statistics, survey data, research studies, etc. There are also various tools that could be used to collect data and information such as logbook, questionnaire, survey forms, RRA, PRA. The planning for data collection should consider clear objectives on how the data would be used; and what kind of data is necessary. The data should be able to clarify the fisheries structure, production, species, resources status, and socio-economic status.

The problems and constraints were divided into technical and non-technical problems. For example 1) lack of supervision and training on basic data collection, 2) lack of standardization of fisheries data collection concept, 3) small-scale fishing gears are highly diverse complexity of ecosystem , 4) difficult to get participation from fishermen, and high cost and manpower for data collection. In addition, the countries use top-down (obligation) and bottom-up (voluntary) for data collection method. The top-down (obligation) data collection, which may include official statistics survey form, licensing, registration, documentation, etc. However, the exercise could be much costly than bottom-up approach. The Bottom-up (voluntary) data collection by autonomous community (involving fishers, middlemen, etc.) is considered cost-effective approach. However, efforts need to be undertaken to ensure cooperation and reliability of information, e.g. through enhancing the understanding of the community on fisheries management and importance of data collection to support management. It was also suggested that at the beginning, the bottom-up data collection by autonomous community should be undertaken as pilot project in order to test the effectiveness/reliability of data, before applying the approach nation-wide.

In addition, the questionnaires are one of the tools for data collection that should be focused, simple and clear in order to enable enumerators, autonomous community or fishers to provide information, while also reduce unclear/confusion, e.g. equipped with photographs of fishing grounds (map), fish species identification, etc. Well-designed forms would facilitate the compilation and analysis of the data in order to come up with reliable and meaningful results. Appropriate sample size (extraction number) should be considered to ensure that the collected data could represent the targeted group (population).