An ecosystem approach to small-scale fisheries through participatory diagnosis in four tropical countries
Participatory diagnosis is an approach to identify, prioritize and mobilise around factors that constrain or enable effective governance and management in small-scale fisheries. Diagnostic frameworks are mostly designed and used for systematic scientific analysis or impact evaluation. Through participation they also have potential to guide contextually informed improvements to management in practice, including transitions to contemporary forms of governance like the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)-the focus of our study. We document and critically reflect on participatory diagnosis processes and outcomes at sites in Indonesia, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Tanzania. These sites were part of an international project on the implementation of the EAF and differed widely in institutional and operational contexts. The Participatory Diagnosis and Adaptive Management framework and the "issue radar" diagnosis map were used to identify, evaluate and address factors associated with navigating management transitions towards the EAF. We found that many challenges and priority actions identified by participants were similar across the four study countries. Participants emphasized habitat restoration, particularly mangrove rehabilitation, and livelihood enhancement. The importance of strengthening governance entities, networks and processes (e.g., harmonization of policies, education and awareness of policies) was also a prominent outcome of the diagnosis. Site-specific factors were also explored together with the differing views among stakeholders. We conclude that diagnosis frameworks are indeed useful tools for guiding management transitions in fisheries, particularly where they enable flexibility in approaches to diagnosing problems and applying solutions to local contexts.