Developing a Comic/Cartoon type manual for the subsistence fisheries sector / by Francisco Blaha

I like to keep it varied in my job, and once in while I take on a challenge that gets me away from Tuna, CDS, IUU, Data, Information Management Systems and so on. On this occasion, I go back to basics... catching fish to eat and survive.

resource owners and users

resource owners and users

This is a contract with an organisation that I have not work before, nor I associated a lot to Fisheries, APEC. But in their region fishis important for food security, these products that originate from subsistence or small-scale fishery require good handling practices on board in the landing phase.  Since a great percentage of the catch, up to 30% in some cases, is lost due to poor handling practices. 

Therefore, a proper management and efficiency throughout the core of the supply chain can increase the economic growth of the fishery communities, open new job positions for women and strengthen food security; consequently, we will need fewer marine resources contributing to the conservation of the fish stock.

The aim of the project is to develop a manual to facilitate the improvement of the catch condition of subsistence fishers (aiming at food security) by reducing economic losses and overfishing by the deterioration of fish products that were not properly handled, achieving that consumers receive high-quality products.

The social and economic importance of small-scale and subsistence fisheries are frequently undervalued, and they are rarely effectively managed. There is now growing consensus on how these fisheries could be managed for sustainability and to minimise the risks of crossing undesirable thresholds.

Most of these fisheries are open access in nature and entry into the fishery remains unrestricted. Small-scale fisheries are highly dynamic, labour intensive and usually not integrated with local marketing arrangements. Small-scale fishers, their families and communities are critically dependent on fish for their food and livelihood security and are extremely vulnerable to external pressures and shocks

After a substantial amount of research and in consultation with different representatives from the APEC economies, I proposed that the manual should be aimed at the common factors among their realities:

  • The target audience would be the subsistence fisheries segment of their fisheries spectrum
  • The key topic would be good fish handling and the application of good handling principles to catching, landing and transport to the 1st point of sale.
  • The contents do no aim to set the final level for this group, but the initial level.
  • Each economy will be free to add up and transform what they require to adapt it to their needs
  • The manual will arrive at the fisher folk via the extension offices or the authorities.
  • The manual will be delivered in open format in “Illustrator” software as to be easily adapted by the economies
  • The economies can add Chapters but hopefully, maintain minimal content.
  • As the "target" audience may have little education, so the way to engage them is via "cartoon" type illustrations and a "trainers aid" document that present the key messages in text
  • Cartoon part would be based on the interaction of a fishers "family" approach and with examples of good and bad practices
  • The Good Fish Handling message would be presented under four simple pillars:
    • Keep it clean
    • Keep it cold
    • Treat it gently
    • Move it fast

I explain this (in Spanish) in this video