As the state of the world’s fisheries, and the approaches used to manage them, have changed greatly over the past two decades, so too has the need for fisheries management guidance to evolve. In 1996, the International Center for Living Aquatic Resource Management, now WorldFish, published the Handbook on Rapid Appraisal of Fisheries Management Systems Version 1, commonly referred to as the “RAFMS Handbook.” This handbook provided a semi-structured research approach to quickly assess, document, and evaluate existing fisheries management systems. Although it is now out of print, the RAFMS Handbook has been used around the world by numerous development agencies, non-government organizations, local government units, and field practitioners over the last 20 years.
Although the RAFMS tools and techniques have remained valid, the guide does not address modern issues of tropical fisheries management. As such, USAID Oceans has just launched, Assessing Fisheries in a New Era: Extended Guidance for Rapid Appraisals of Fisheries Management Systems, to provide additional guidance on how fisheries management systems can be appraised through more holistic, modern methodologies. The guide was developed over the course of 2017 and 2018 through a participatory process among various researchers and practitioners from social and natural sciences.
On April 10, 2019, USAID Oceans convened contributing authors at the 12th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum in Iloilo, Philippines, to launch the new guide. The program launched the guide at a special event, attended by fisheries researchers and development practitioners from around the region, where the contributing authors presented the new tools and resources contained within the new handbook.
Contributing authors and program partners celebrate the launch of the new guide for holistic, cutting-edge fisheries management. Photo: USAID Oceans. M. Donnelly
The new guide joins USAID Oceans’ family of knowledge products, which most recently was joined by the Gender Research in Fisheries and Aquaculture Handbook launched in late 2018. Following the guide’s launch, the program held in-depth training sessions on its gender research approaches. USAID Oceans was also joined at the conference by its expansive network of research partners, who gave presentations on research conducted in gender roles and fisheries management in the programs Philippine and Indonesian learning sites.