|This article is based on the report "Supporting Aquaculture Development: Aquatic Farming Systems Information Network. A report prepared for the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, FAO Fisheries Department, by A.G. Coche and J. Collins in collaboration with A. Ziehi. FAO. 1997. 18p+5 annexes (in press).|
OF THE AQUATIC FARMING SYSTEMS INFORMATION NETWORK FOR
André G. Coche1 and Mario Pedini2
FAO, in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa and the European Commission (DG XII), launched in 1992 a Regional Study on Aquaculture Development and Research in sub-Saharan Africa, in the context of the Strategy for International Fisheries Research (SIFR). Details of the study were presented by the second author in an earlier issue of FAN (Pedini 1994). The resulting synthesis of information presented in 12 national reviews on development and research needs provided the basis for proposing an indicative action plan for aquaculture research in sub-Saharan Africa (Coche et al 1994; Coche 1994). The action plan was discussed with representatives of the countries at the Second Session of the Working Party on Aquaculture of the Committee for Inland Fisheries of Africa (CIFA) which was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, in September 1993, and subsequently at the main Session of the CIFA which endorsed the proposed plan.
The action plan was aimed to alleviate constraints identified in the regional study through collaborative regional research. The plan included eight regional research programmes which were identified and ranked in order of priority (Table 1), plus a supporting regional information programme to serve the eight research programmes. The analysis carried out in the study indicated that documentation of aquaculture research and access to aquaculture information in Africa were inadequate, limiting the scope, quality and utility of aquaculture research activities. Information collection, storage and dissemination through networking was considered essential for future development of aquaculture in Africa and thus became a top priority programme of the action plan.
The overall objective of the information programme was the collection, storage and dissemination of aquaculture information at closely linked centres established in anglophone and francophone Africa. The idea was to have two information lead centres which would represent the two main official languages of Africa, English and French, that would be located in different geographic regions. The two lead centres would be linked to one another and to a network of satellite centres in various countries. The information programme would directly strengthen existing capabilities and literature collections at the selected centres of the network, and would establish links to exchange information with the major international information centres on aquaculture located in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.
Visited (Figure 1)
Figure 1: Countries visited by the mission
Guiding Principles and Objectives
was planned with the following guiding principles in mind:
objectives of the mission were:
October-November 1996, a mission of three experts (Dr. A.G. Coche, Mission Leader and
retired FAO Officer; J. Collins, FAO staff and A. Ziehi of IDESSA
In most of
the countries, there is a continuing loss of institutional memory due to the fast turnover
of responsible personnel and frequent administrative reorganizations coupled with the
absence of a central repository for information on aquatic farming systems at national or
sub-regional level. Documentation of past research programmes and development project
activities become rapidly inaccessible to most researchers and developers. It may even
disappear from the country after a few years only.
libraries in the geographical sub-regions and between the francophone and anglophone countries. Most notable is the advantageous position of those libraries in Eastern and Southern Africa in terms of:
breadth of aquatic farming systems, make it impossible for libraries to acquire all of the relevant publications necessary to satisfy user demand.
be based on existing francophone and anglophone
| provide its information on an exchange basis as far as possible;
produce bibliographic outputs which will benefit users in the whole region.
1. Pedini, M. 1994. FAO and the Strategy for International
Fisheries Research (SIFR): The aquaculture component. FAO Aquaculture Newsletter
(Fan), April 1994, No. 6:7-10.