ACUASESOR
COMISION NACIONAL DE ACUACULTURA Y PESCA

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The average rate of aquaculture development is around 6.2% (2000-2012) according to FAO, however México development is around 2.6 %, under the average of Latin America and Caribbean (10%). The commercial aquaculture development in Mexico began in the early 70´s with tilapia, carp, and rainbow trout. The activity progressed quickly at the end of the 80´s with the culture of Shrimp. Actually the aquaculture industry has increased the production of the primary sector like agriculture and animal breeding. Worldwide is urgent to reconsider the objectives of education and research in aquaculture, because one of the biggest concerns of the nations is provide enough food for the growing population and consider the preservation of the ecosystems to improve the quality and quantity of the production. The fisheries provides almost the 20% of the animal protein consumed by humans, for this reason the aquaculture has been taken optimistically like an strategy to replace the fisheries captures. The federal government of Mexico is concerned about these topics and has been working in different strategies to improve the aquaculture activities like the reformation of the public administration law and the fisheries and aquaculture law, the publication of the national aquaculture sheets, these efforts are aimed to improve the public service and provide to the Mexican society all the technical, scientific and administrative information to increase the aquaculture production. For these reasons the employees of the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (CONAPESCA) that is in charge of the expedition of the licenses of aquaculture and fisheries in federal jurisdiction waters has identified several critical points in the process of making aquaculture in Mexico.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
CONAPESCA proposed the solution, as the head of the productive sector in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Mexico proposed at the beginning (October, 2010) some meetings with other federal offices that has issues and administrative process with the management of fisheries and aquaculture, those offices depends of the State Secretary of Environmental (SEMARNAT), the offices were National Water Commission, National (CONAGUA), National Biodiversity Commission (CONABIO), National Protected Areas Commission (CONANP) and the General Direction of Risk and Environmental Impact (DGIRA) of SEMARNAT, also the education sector represented by professors and researchers from universities and research centers specialized in aquaculture and national aquaculture producers. This meeting confirmed the problematic explained in the first points and the urgency of a coordinated work between all the stakeholders in aquaculture, but institutionally there were a lot of delay in the continuity of this strategy. However CONAPESCA maintained a strong posture about the problem and began with an internal System called SOAP (Aquaculture and Fisheries Ordering System) with the initial purpose of modernization of the data bases of the licenses and authorization in a single system and the implementation of the digitalization of the files and the georeferenzation of the authorized areas to make aquaculture and fisheries activities. This system helped to improve the decision making process for the government and reduce considerably the social conflicts between inhabitants of fisher’s communities, also improve the response times of any application. The improvement and enforcement of the system was daily because they manage National Aquaculture Ordering Programs, georeferenziated areas of specific purpose, structured catalogues of species, provide answers to all the question in matter of fisheries and aquaculture by the Mexican society, etc., and the reason of this fast and strategic developing reside in the fact that it was made by the internal employees and not by consultants that are not familiar with the needs of the sector. Once CONAPESCA made a lot of tests, had a holistic image of the national aquaculture activity and the facts that could impact in the sector, decided to bring all these information to the Mexican population by the creation of an informative web site called ACUASESOR.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative was creative and innovative and also a kind of ambitious because it was a lot of work like, classification of technical, scientific and public administrative information, also the process of determine the variables was not applied by any other institution in Mexico and also there was a search in the internet to look for similar efforts in other countries and the results were negative. In the first presentation of Acuasesor the innovations were: Precise guide to make aquaculture with 5 main parameters, (General group, Species, State, Aquaculture Activity and Zone) that bring to the user: Technical Information, Location of project, Project design, Federal funds, Government licenses, Application online. Now Acuasesor also provides: News links, Transparency with the gave licenses with all the characteristics and funds brought to the society, links with Federal Government, State Governments, Universities, Research centers, Scientific publications, Status of licenses, National production statistics, weather forecast and hurricane alerts. All this tools and continuous improves turn Acuasesor in one of the most innovative projects in the productive sector in the last years recognized by FAO and winner of the 4th innovation in transparency price in the Federal Institution Category in Mexico.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In February, 2010, the first step was a modernization and digitalization of all the information that CONAPESCA has generated in the aquaculture department. After all these processes CONAPESCA began to classify the information and identified all the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threatsof aquaculture, in August, 2010, internally launch the Aquaculture and Fisheries Operation System (SOAP). After running different tests in internal administration and contributing significantly in the simplification of the decision making and the acceleration of times of response of the process of giving aquaculture licenses in October, 2010 CONAPESCA convene a meeting between the principal stakeholders of the aquaculture sector to present the SOAP and to put in the discussion table a lot of needs and gaps to develop the activity. After this meeting and a multicriteria analysis between the aquaculture department, in November, 2010 the creators of SOAP began to think in a web page to present this information to the Mexican society and start to add some outstanding information about aquaculture. *SOAP still in constant improve because is an inclusive system that is always open to the inputs of the sector. After some months of design in February, 2011 a flowchart was created to begin with this ambitious project with the aim of create a precise guide to make aquaculture with 5 main parameters, (General group, Species, State, Aquaculture Activity and Zone) that bring to the user: Technical Information, Location of project, Project design, Federal funds, Government licenses, Application online. The organization of the data and the conditioning variables of the system allow to publish Acuasesor in March, 2011 for the first time only with this guide-tool called “¿Deseashaceracuacultura?” (Do you wish to do aquaculture?). The tool did not has the impact that the aquaculture department desired at that moment and the team knew all the deficiencies (lack of visual design, lack of employees, lack of time to focus only in the project, etc) but this did not discourage the team. Acuasesor had their own domain, but the problem is that they did not has enough employees to improve this first efforts, for this reason inthe next months the creation of a new image and new tools and components were assembled, little by little and in any presentation or opportunity with the stakeholders of the sector, sothe aquaculture department tried to diffuse this initiative and begin with the feedback of the users. This slow process took around than 8 months however the aquaculture specialist with all the experiences and feedbacks in November, 2012 the aquaculture department presented a new Acuasesor image and the new tools to improve the public service (News links, links with Federal Government, State Governments, Universities, Research centers, Scientific publications). In august, 2013 after a communication between UN-FAO specialists,Acuasesor were evaluated and used and this made a good impression with the specialists and finally in February of 2014 they recognized it as a NASO map effort. Now Acuasesor also provides:Transparency with gave licenses bringing all the characteristics, status of application for federal funds in matter of aquaculture, status of licenses, national production statistics, weather forecast and hurricane alerts. All this tools and continuous improves turn Acuasesor in one of the most innovative projects in the public service in the last years, this was confirmed on September, 2014 when Acuasesor turn into the winner of the 4th Innovation in Transparency Award in the Federal Institution Category in Mexico convene by the World Bank, the Federal Supreme Audit, Federal Institute of Information Access and Data Protection, National Institute of Public Administration and the State Secretary of the Public Function.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The main stakeholders were: CONAPESCA employeesof the aquaculture department (1 Oceanologist, 1 Biochemical Engineer and 1 programmer). Federal State Secretaries. Aquaculture producers contributed with the feedback and opinions. Aquaculture committees – ONG (National and Statal). Mexican Society with constant online questions. Research Centers and University professors specialized in aquaculture and biology with comments and question about Acuasesor.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
As an informative initiative there were not too many resources used, only the salary of a Biochemical Engineer and a programmer.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Reduction of the public questions and concerns of Mexican society about aquaculture activities. Reduction of the response lapses of the administrative process of the federal aquaculture licenses. Recognition from UN-FAO of Acuasesor as a national initiative in their NASO maps. Winner of the 4th innovation in transparency price in the Federal Institution Category in Mexico. Worldwide visits from 51 countries.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The evaluation was monitored by very simple principles like Reduction of the public questions and concerns of Mexican society about aquaculture activities, and the status of their licenses using the Acuasesor as a solution and a real time tool to consult different aquaculture information. In the other hand Acuasesor was included in social networks like Facebook, twitter, google+ and with google analytics, obtaining followers and visits for different countries.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
As a Federal Government effort we know that is common that with the change of president and party many times some projects loses their impact or importance for the new trendsfrom the new employees, etc., as we mentioned this initiative began in 2011 and the last administration were not too interested in this project. In the other hand the aquaculture area had a weak structure with a few staff and almost all the initiatives proposed by this area were rejected or simply ignored, there was not any fund or program exclusively for aquaculture development. By 2013 with the designation and leadership of the new National Commissioner and the General Coordinator of Operation and Institutional Strategy as the Responsible of Aquaculture, both considered the use and impact of this project and also the importance of the enforcement of the national aquaculture sector, bringing the needed support.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
As we explain the impact in first place was the reduction of time in the administrative process of giving federal licenses to do aquaculture in national waters from the application to the license, and a real time status of the process contribute to make a strong confidence between users and Federal Government. Transparency on information of given licenses that allow all the society to look for the occupied areas and reinforce the trust between the aquaculture and fisheries sector and the Government. Reduction in the queries from Mexican society in aquaculture topics. Increase of the amount of applications and licenses around the country resulting in an ordering of many production units that were irregularly producing aquaculture products. Reduction of social conflicts between surrounding inhabitants and transpose of occupied areas. Recognition by the UN-FAO in the NASO collection maps like the Mexican initiative. Increase in the amount of funds provided by the Federal Government and for the first time in the federal publication of operation rules of the Agriculture, Animal Breeding, Rural Development Fisheries and Alimentation State Secretary an exclusive aquaculture component was included. Increase of the aquaculture production in different species (for many years shrimp aquaculture was the leader in this sector). A wiser and more based (administrative, technical and scientific) decision making by the public service employees. Constant communication and inclusion between stakeholders (Research centers, Universities, Producers, Committees, Society, etc.) of the aquaculture sector. Recognition by the World Bank, the Federal Supreme Audit, Federal Institute of Information Access and Data Protection, National Institute of Public Administration and the State Secretary of the Public Function with the first place in the Federal Category of the 4th edition of the Innovation in Transparency Award. Worldwide web queries from 51 countries. Broadcast of hurricane alerts to the license users in the possible impact areas, real time weather forecast. Publication in real time of news and a constant increase of followersin different social networks.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
As a web page this initiative is 100% sustainable and transferable, because you can open it in any browser worldwide only with an internet connection. The designed tools are not heavy for web display, the multimedia is present along the web page so you can reference any search by scientific name, photos, maps, videos, etc. The replicabilityand transferability could reside in the fact of compilation of local information like inventory of aquatic biodiversity, taxonomy, zonification and natural distribution (almost all the countries has invest in this kind of efforts), and a national or regional analysis of the administrative processes to get an aquaculture license, maybe the implementation could be quick but the continuous improvement will develop day by day with the suggestions, questions and queries from the stakeholders (Society, Government, Producers, Universities, etc).

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The best way to run an innovative and creative initiative is with the will of service to your own society and the aim to bring a better public service; this only could be possible with stakeholders that know very well the process and the sector that they want to improve. Is not necessary a lot of resources to put an initiative running is only with the goodwill of some specialists that has experienced the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats of an activity (aquaculture) that can improve the quality of living of a national population, this is relevant with patience of maintain a position of a new project and using different strategies to convince to the superior authorities that well directed changes can make a powerful tool. The coordinated work with stakeholders brought a very useful tool (Acuasesor) and now a lot of people in Mexico that are interested in venture in aquaculture has enough information to begin a productive project by their selves, also this contributes to establish a communication and confidence bridge between society and Federal Government.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   COMISION NACIONAL DE ACUACULTURA Y PESCA
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Alfredo Aranda Ocampo
Title:   Biologist  
Telephone/ Fax:   +526699156900
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   alfredo.aranda@conapesca.gob.mx  
Address:   AV. CAMARÓN SÁBALO ESQ. TIBURON S/N, FRACC. SABALO COUNTRY CLUB
Postal Code:   82100
City:   Mazatlan
State/Province:   Sinaloa
Country:  

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