SAFRN SnAP Protocol


The SAFRN Snapshot Assessment Protocol, or SnAP, is a tool for use by researchers, managers, and students to gain a general understanding of their small-scale or artisanal fishery of focus in an efficient and effective manner. The SnAP Protocol incorporates socioeconomic research methods – including secondary source review, key informant interviews, household/fisher surveys, and direct observation – in order to gather information on a set of priority topics.  It includes a set of guidelines on how to use the protocol and tips for fieldwork, an overview of topics, and then a series of worksheets and templates for guiding data collection and for data entry.

SnAP is free for any interested researchers and students to learn from and test at their own field sites.  It is still in development, and feedback from all users will be valuable for updating and improving the next version of SnAP.

SnAP is available to download here:

There are 7 parts to SnAP – 2 PDF files, 1 Microsoft Word file, and 4 Microsoft Excel files. If you have difficulty downloading, please contact us.


Research on small-scale and artisanal fisheries is integral for informing fisheries management and studies are going on all over the world. Often studies are narrow in scope or long in duration and generally every fishery system is treated as a separate entity, requiring a specially designed management plan. These in-depth and focused studies have great value and represent many hours of work

(1) Make socioeconomic research accessible to natural scientists.

(2) Promote collection of data on a range of aspects of a fishery.

(3) Provide a tool for relatively “rapid” collection of useful fishery data.

(4) Provide a concise list of priority topics for fishery characterization.

(5) Promote collection of comparable data


Expert Workshop – Development of SnAP began in 2011 with a two-day workshop of expert small-scale fisheries researchers with backgrounds that cover the gamut of disciplines – from ecology to anthropology to geography to political science to economics. Together, based on their decades of cumulative research, these leaders in the field came up with a list of priority topics that should be addressed when gathering data to generally describe a small-scale fishery. Small break-out groups covered each of 5 themes – (1) economics, (2) society, culture, and demographics, (3) fishery characteristics, (4)  catch and ecology, and (5) governance – and discussed what methods are best suited for gathering information on each priority topic within their theme, as well as caveats and considerations of each method.

Existing Guidelines – As we spoke with experts at the workshop and elsewhere we gathered a library of existing manuals and guidelines for fishery studies to review, learn from, and reference rather than duplicate. Some of these resources can be found on our Manuals and Guidelines page. The existing instructional resources contain very helpful information for designing and implementing a range of studies specific to a site and focus, and we highly suggest referring to them.

Initial Protocol Design – Using the information gathered at the workshop and available materials we developed SnAP to guide collection of the priority topics using a combination of the most accessible, efficient, and effective methods, including fisher surveys, key informant interviews, direct observation, and secondary source review.

Field Testing – Through generous funding by the Waitt Foundation, we were able to send 7 research teams into the field to beta test SnAP in 2011-2012. The funded young researchers and students implemented SnAP at sites in Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hawaii, Tonga, and American Samoa. Feedback from this pilot testing has been incorporated into the design of SnAP v 2.0.

Next Steps – SnAP is part of a series of efforts to improve standardization of data and data coverage, including the initiatives led by Too Big To Ignore related to building a global information system for small-scale fisheries.  Based on feedback from users and from developments in TBTI’s work, we will strive to further update and improve SnAP.

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