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Participatory feedback brings better understanding to fishermen

The return of fishing monitoring data provides a unique opportunity for fishermen to reflect on the sustainability of fisheries management, and for wider communities to learn and understand the impact of fishing and management on the marine ecosystem. In a collaborative approach, Dahari has implemented a participatory approach to data restitution in communities to actively involve local stakeholders in the sustainable management of marine resources.

Data collection and tracking process

In the southwest of Anjouan, fishermen from communities supported by Dahari shared their concerns about resources which are decreasing over the years. In order to reverse this trend, Dahari supports local communities to develop strategies to preserve their marine resources. In this context, a participatory fishing monitoring program was set up from Vassy to Maweni-Kangani, to monitor the evolution of catches and the state of health of marine resources.

During monitoring, information is collected on the weight, size and species of fish caught to reveal the abundance and diversity of resources. Monitoring also makes it possible to record the fishing techniques used, and the time spent at sea, useful data for assessing the sustainability and productivity of fishing.

Since 2017, more than 150 fishermen from Vassy to Maweni-Kangani have been trained in collecting data on fishing catches.

Data restitution is a key step in fishing monitoring

The results of these monitoring are shared several times a year in the communities, to initiate discussions on the state of resources, and collaboratively develop management measures to preserve marine resources.

Mariama Djaanfar, member of the Maecha Bora association bringing together fisherwomen from the villages of Dzindri, Vassy and Salamani, shares her perspective on the subject with us: “My motivation was to understand what I didn’t understand. It was from the restitutions that I understood the concept of overfishing. By fishing too much, there may be no more resources to fish in the future.”

However, since 2017, restitutions have been conducted solely by Dahari agents, presenting graphs and figures that may be difficult for some to understand. Since 2021, Dahari has started to involve communities to present this information as simply as possible. Indeed, when fishermen are able to present the data themselves in front of their community, this promotes a direct and authentic exchange. This not only increases trust and transparency within fishing communities, but also encourages open discussions about the challenges and opportunities related to fishing.

Twenty-eight fishermen trained on sharing fishing monitoring data with communities

In 2022, 28 fishermen from our marine intervention zones will be trained in interactive data analysis to enable them to properly carry out restitutions.

During the training sessions, participants were involved in fishing simulations where they imagined catching octopuses in the form of candy, during 12 rounds, representing the 12 months of a year. Then, they placed their daily catches on a sheet to observe the variations. The graphs and numbers came out naturally as the fishermen added candy after each round of fishing.

After following the training, Ansoiya Mohamed, President of the Malezi Mema association, bringing together fishermen from Vassy, ​​Dzindri and Salamani, had the opportunity to hold a data restitution session in his village. “When Dahari was giving the presentations, I didn't understand very well, but since we learned to make the presentations ourselves, I understand better than before. The first time I presented the results in front of my village, people were very attentive and at ease. We need to step up our efforts and organize more presentations”, Ansoiya tells us.

This reaction affirms the importance of involving fishermen in the presentation of data, and not just in monitoring, in order to give them more confidence and make them responsible for resource management. Training continues with interested fishermen, and the next steps will be to present their results to other stakeholders, notably the authorities, to promote their community marine management initiatives.