Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Impact of the FAO/SAIAB project on the dissemination of fisheries information: the need for a regional network


M.O. Ibeun
National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR)
PMB 6006, New Bussa, Niger State, Nigeria


The FAO Fisheries Department initiated the project to make available the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) database on CD-ROM to fisheries institutions in Low Income Food Deficit Countries in Africa in 1999. NIFFR Library receives ASFA (Part 1: Living resources) on the Aquatic Biology, Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources (ABAFR) database, published by NISC. As an offshoot of this project, the collaboration between FAO and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) to improve access to the original documents covered by ASFA was initiated in late 2001. NIFFR Library became one of the participants in this initiative in early 2002, when NIFFR was furnished with electronic mail access thanks to a GTZ project.

The first thing we did when NIFFR joined the project was to send a memo to the Director, Heads of Divisions, Provost of the two Colleges of Freshwater Fisheries Technology and to each individual scientist to inform them of the objectives and advantages of the project for Nigerian researchers. Copies of the memo were displayed on the institute and library notice boards. Each time an update of the ABAFR CD-ROM is received, a similar memo is sent out requesting staff to visit the library to browse the latest information (Copies of the memo are attached in Annex 1). In the absence of a Local Area Network (LAN) at NIFFR, it was decided to install the NISC Discover Software on the personal computers of the scientists and teach them how to search the database. They were then able to borrow the CD-ROM for use after closing and during the weekend. References to articles of interest are then sent to the Library, where they are first searched in the library collection. Those not available are requested from SAIAB Library. In most cases the full records, which contains extended abstracts, are used by the scientists pending receipt of the full article. I must add that the extended abstracts have been very useful.

During 2002, twenty-two requests amounting to four hundred and fifty two documents were requested. Two hundred and sixty two documents i.e. 58% have been supplied. Ten updates of the ABAFR CD-ROMs have been received through the project.


a) Reprints received by the library are recorded in Reprint Accession Register.

b) They are loaned to the officer who made the initial request for a period of two weeks.

c) They are recalled after two weeks for input into the Reprint Database, which has been developed using the WINISIS cataloguing software.

d) In meeting subsequent requests, both the main library collection and the Reprint Database are searched.


The intervention of the FAO/SAIAB project is God sent to bail us out of the ever-increasing confusion and professional embarrassment in meeting the increasing demand for fisheries information in Nigeria.

It is difficult to quantify the value of the project, which cannot be fully quantified in terms of monetary value. For example, the joy and satisfaction expressed by scientists on receipt of requested literature cannot be expressed in this paper. However, the following expressible advantages can be identified.

a) Awareness and accessibility to recent literature

By using the CD-ROM, beneficiaries became aware of both current and retrospective literature, which are requested from SAIAB Library.

b) Building up a strong reprint collection

By participating in the project, the NIFFR Library has been able to build up a strong reprint collection, which hitherto was growing at a snail’s pace. Because of the increasing volume of the reprint collection, it became necessary to devise a better way of exploiting it. Thus a Fisheries Reprint Database was created using the WINISIS software.

c) Strengthening the Nigerian Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Database

It was discovered that publications on Nigerian fisheries are more numerous outside the country and that there is little or no awareness of many of them in Nigeria. To solve this problem NIFFR Library started a special collection, Nigerian Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, which the project has facilitated to growth at a greatly accelerated rate.

d) Making the library relevant in information provision

The project has enhanced the relevance of the library as a major source of information. More scientists now seek the assistance of the library than ever before. It is no longer “the Library has nothing new to offer”.

e) Enhancing the quality of staff publications

The impact of the literature received and disseminated and the extended abstracts from ABAFR have enhanced the quality of publications and the scientists are now citing current literature.

f) Development of the global ‘Invisible College’

Most of the articles cited in ABAFR have postal and e-mail addresses which enable the scientists to have direct contact with the authors. In addition to the exchange of reprints, discussions have been established on subjects of common interest.


Regional network

An Information Exchange Network (IEN), which is the focus of discussion at the Workshop, means the coming together on a voluntary basis of a group of individuals or institutions with the sole objective of exchanging information on themes of professional interest in a cost effective way (Nelson and Farrington, 1994). This definition most appropriately describes the reason for our coming together. In networking, different activities are embraced by each participating component. This means that for effective networking, the roles must be clearly defined amongst the participating institutions. This further suggests that a network is reciprocal in execution and that each component must have something, no matter how little, to contribute towards achieving the central objective. It is therefore a collaborative process with a theme of common interest, in our case fisheries information, and the common aims should be:

Roles of the participants

Three distinct groupings will emerge in a regional network. In the evolving FAO/SAIAB initiative, these are: coordinating centre, participating centres and advisory centre. The roles of each must be clearly defined in order for the participants to know what is expected of them:


P.M.B. 6006, NEW BUSSA


From: Chief Librarian


1. Director
2. HODs
3. All Research Officers
4. Technologists

Date: 30th Jan, 2002


I am happy to inform all Scientists and Technologists that the Library is currently taking part in a “Document Exchange Project” involving FAO and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), formerly the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology.

The SAIAB, Library has one of the largest collections of fish publications in Africa. Besides books, the Library has over 2700 journal titles of which 462 are received annually, as well as an extensive collection of more than 33000 reprints and pamphlets dating back to the last century. To participate in the project, we are only requested to forward the list of our aquatic science document needs.

Therefore, scientists are requested to forward to me (Dr. M. O. Ibeun) their literature requests, which are not available in our Library. These will be acquired from SAIAB. However, scientists should note that on arrival the document will be the property of the Library which would be made available for your use from where you can make a photocopy if you so desire.

Please make use of this opportunity and send your request promptly.

Dr. M. O. Ibeun
Head, LIDD

P.M.B. 6006, NEW BUSSA


From: Head Library


1. Director
2. Asst. Directors
3. Head of Divisions
4. Heads of Programmes
5. All Scientists
6. Technical Staff
7. Provost FCFFT, New Bussa
8. Provost FCFFT, Baga

Date: 25th August 2003


1. I am happy to inform you that the Library has received a CD-ROM containing list of publications on fisheries and aquatic sciences covering the period of 1998-June 2003.

2. You can browse the CD-ROM on the Library Computer or in the Computer Room for relevant publications. The library will then help you to get the hard copy.

3. Getting the hard copy takes time, but you can rely on the extended abstracts in some cases pending the arrival of the real copy.

4. Visit the library and request the CD-ROM and you will be shown how to use it within a minute.

Dr. M. O. Ibeun
Head, LIDD

Réseau d’échange d’information sur les pêches et l’aquaculture en Afrique


Amady Sow
Institut mauritanien de recherche océanographique et des pêches
Nouadhibou, Mauritanie


L’information en général et celle scientifique et technique en particulier est devenue un facteur essentiel de la vie des peuples. Elle concerne également l’évolution des sociétés ainsi que les rapports entre les nations. Elle constitue un élément clé de la prise de décision aux niveaux les plus divers. Aucune action ne serait entreprise sans elle. Or ce produit fini subit plusieurs étapes de transformations que seuls maîtrisent les spécialistes du domaine que sont les documentalistes, les bibliothécaires et les archivistes.

Ainsi dit, le rôle joué par ces spécialistes dans les administrations, les universités, les instituts de recherches, les entreprises et la vie sociale de tous les jours ne sont plus à démontrer. Ils sont devenus les collaborateurs immédiats des décideurs étant entendu que le bon gestionnaire est celui là qui prend les bonnes décisions au bon moment et cette bonne décision découle de la bonne information que seuls peuvent fournir les spécialistes de l’information scientifique et technique. Le bon planificateur ne saurait échapper à cette règle au risque de faire une planification à l’aveuglette et de prendre des décisions hâtives et hasardeuses.


La pêche constitue l’un des secteurs de l’économie les plus prometteurs des états en développement à vocation maritime, en outre les produits halieutiques constituent pour plus de 80 pour cent à l’apport en protéine animale des pays de l’Afrique de l’ouest.

Dans beaucoup de régions de l’Afrique de l’ouest, pour une raison ou pour une autre, la pêche à elle seule n’arrive pas à satisfaire les demandes en poisson. Là où toute tentative d’augmentation de la production risque d’entraîner une surexploitation et des déséquilibres catastrophiques de l’écosystème, la pisciculture reste la seule alternative.

Le développement et la bonne gestion des ressources halieutiques sont en grande partie tributaire de la qualité des recherches effectuées et de l’information disponible. Or, les chercheurs et les décideurs de l’Afrique rencontrent d’énormes problèmes au niveau des sources d’information et de l’accès aux documents primaires. Ce fait a été vivement déploré par plusieurs scientifiques lors des conférences et groupes de travail.

Les causes de ces difficultés sont multiples:

Pour pallier à ces obstacles d’accès à l’information, la création d’un Réseau d’échange d’information sur la pêche et l’aquaculture en Afrique (REIPA) est très importante.



Le REIPA aura pour objectif de contribuer au développement de la pêche en Afrique:


Le but visé est de pouvoir répondre aux difficultés d’information que les chercheurs, décideurs et gestionnaires des systèmes de pêche rencontrent dans leur travail de chaque jour et qui consiste à savoir si l’information dont on a besoin existe, si oui qui la détient et comment l’obtenir.

Pour cela le réseau doit prendre en compte les points suivants:

Structure du réseau

Le réseau sera structuré de la façon suivante:

Les unités documentaires spécialisées


Documenter le chercheur afin de mieux le situer dans sa sphère d’évolution et diffuser son information, telle doit être la préoccupation essentielle des unités spécialisées de documentation.

Il s’agit donc pour les documentalistes, de faire un choix assez sélectif des documents à exploiter.

Les activités suivantes devront s’exécuter dans ces unités:

L’unité documentaire centrale de coordination



Les différents résultats attendus pour le développement du REIPA sont les suivants:


Previous Page Top of Page Next Page