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The concept of providers of research services or “fisheries research” is taken in the widest sense of the term, that is, it refers to all the units where teams (biologists, socio-economists....) working for the generation of technologies and/or knowledge in the area of fisheries. This concept, which integrates social sciences, seems to be in keeping with the reality of research institutions considered in this study.

4.1 General situation

4.1.1 Type of institutions involved

Several institutions are involved in the provision of fisheries research services. The number and nature of institutions involved varies from country to country. Generally speaking, the categories of institutions described below provide research services to different users (fishing communities, political decision-makers) (Table 2).

Public research or training institutions

This category of provider groups national research institution as well as foreign institutions the most heavily present being the French Institute for Development Research (IDR). It is to be noted that in some countries such as Guinea, the action of foreign, public institutions like IDR are completely integrated into the national structure.

As regards national research institutions in particular, two sub-categories are noted:

(a) Institutions with an exclusive mandate to conduct fisheries research

This is the situation found in countries like Guinea with the “Centre National des Sciences Halieutiques de Boussoura” (CNSHB) and the “Centre de Recherche Scientifique de Conakry - Rogbanè” (CERESCOR), Mauritania with the “Institut Mauritanien de Recherches Océanographiques et des Pêches” (IMROP) (e.g. “Centre National de Recherches Océanographiques et des Pêches” (CNROP)), Senegal with the “Centre de Recherches Océanographiques Dakar-Thiaroye” CRODT and Nigeria with the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) and the Nigerian Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR).

(b) Institutions with no exclusive mandate to conduct fisheries research

This is the situation found especially in Cameroon with the Institute for the Agricultural Research (IRAD) and Mali with the Institute of Rural Economy (IER). Within such institutions, fisheries research is often only a small part of a mechanism which deals with agricultural research and rural development as a whole.

In addition to national research institutions, several national universities are also involved in the provision of fisheries research services. This situation is true almost everywhere with various degrees of involvement depending on the country.

Apart from these training and research institutions, there is a strong involvement of projects, programmes or development bodies in the provision of fisheries research services. This is the situation namely in Mali with the Office for Rural Development of Sélingué (ODRS) and the “Opération Pêche Mopti” (OPM), in Mauritania with the Banc d’Arguin National Park (PNBA) or Cameroon with the South West Development Authority (SOWEDA). In most cases, these bodies or development projects act on behalf of the fishing communities, as spokesmen to express their needs. They also participate in the funding of research and development activities and ensure dissemination of results obtained.

The general analysis of public institutions reveals that the priority given to fisheries research varies between countries. This priority is often a reflection of the status of the institution and especially, the resources allocated by the Government. Box 4 gives two rather extreme situations in Mali and Mauritania.

Table 2. General situation of research service providers in the countries under review


Type of institution involved

Service fields covered

Diversity and capacities of providers

Aptitudes in development-centred research

Strong points

Weak points

Strong points

Weak points


(a) Research Institutions
(b) Universities

(a) Generation of technologies and knowledge.
(b) Creating/Building capacity.

Existence of universities taking into account social sciences (sociology, anthropology...).

(a) Low consideration of fisheries research by the universities.
(b) Only IRAD works in the area of fisheries research.
(c) Dearth of resources in social sciences.

(a) Diversity of disciplines represented within the research teams.

(a) Low quantitative representation of social sciences.
(b) Absence of mechanisms for direct partnerships with users.
(c) Absence of Boxworks or mechanisms for the participation of research in policy formulation.
(d) Absence of incentives to develop participatory approaches.


(a) Research Institutions
(b) University

(a) Generation of technologies and knowledge.
(b) Creating/Building capacity.

(a) Existence of a relatively large group of scientists working in fisheries research.
(b) Existence of multi-disciplinary research teams.

(a) Low level of involvement of universities in fisheries research (apart from the work done by trainees).
(b) Low number of human resources in social sciences within the research institutions.

(a) Multidisciplinary research teams.
(b) Existence of a Boxwork for technical dialogue within the ministry responsible for fisheries.

(a) Poor development of participatory approaches.
(b) Absence of mechanisms for direct partnership with the communities (users).


(a) Research Institutions
(b) University
(c) Office of rural development Foreign research institutions (a) IRD

(a) Generation of technologies and knowledge.
(b) Creating/Building capacity.

(a) Several research institutions and development bodies investing in the fisheries sector.

(a) Fisheries research only represents a tiny part of the total agricultural research mechanism.
(b) Limited scientific skills.
(c) Legal status (PAE) of research institutions does not permit mobilization of adequate human resources.

(a) Existence of a system of research-on-demand with the RCUs.


(a) Research Institutions.
(b) University and International NGOs (UICN).

(a) Generation of technologies and knowledge.
(b)Creating/ Building capacity.

(a) Existence of a national institution specialized in fisheries research and enjoying substantial financial resources.

(a) Marginal action of the university in fisheries research
(b) Legal status (PAE) does not afford flexibility in management (effectiveness).
(c) Unattractive status limiting development and the maintenance of scientific skills.

(a) Initiatives to consider users as partners in research.
(b) Development of participatory approach in certain projects.

(a) Research Institution designed solely to provide assistance in decision-making to the supervisory ministry.
(b) Institution not really seen as a tool for users.
(c) Absence of direct partnerships research -users.
(d) Poor motivation of communities to collaborate with research.


(a) Research Institutions.
(b) Universities.

(a) Generation of technologies and knowledge.
(b)Creating/ Building capacity.

(a) Research institutions possessing wide variety of scientific skills and taking social science specialities into account.

(a) Inadequate /insufficient financial allocation.

(a) Some training and updating in the participatory approach for officers in some co-operation agencies (GTZ).
(b) Existence of linkage mechanism users-policies (NCA).

(a) Inadequate incentives for training in participatory approaches for researchers.


(a) Research Institutions.
(b) Universities, International Institutions (IRD and IIED), International NGOs (UICN, WWF and CREDETIP).

a) Generation of technologies and knowledge.
(b)Creating/ Building capacity.

(a) Great diversity of institutions active in fisheries research.
(b) Existence of a focal research institution (CRODT) endowed with PSTE status.

(a) Inadequate human and financial resources at the main institution (CRODT) - marked weakness in social sciences.
(b) Multiplicity of technical and administrative supervisors from different fisheries research institutions which does not allow for synergy of action.
(c) Absence of a national fisheries research system.

((a) Participatory approach encouraged through research activities.
(b) PSTE status motivating staff to produce and ensuring better direction of research programmes by users.
(c) Establishment of FNRAA with a view to promoting a system of research-on-demand, to guarantee output and quality of service delivery.

Box 4: Priority given to fisheries research

Case of Mali

Economic value of fisheries

i) More than 40 billion CFAF turnover per annum.

ii) 4.2 percent of the GDP and 3 percent of the total value of exports.

iii) 500 000 jobs created.

Situation of fisheries research service providers

i) Fisheries research disseminated within several institutions including research, development and university institutions.

ii) A fisheries research team (core) within an institute with a general mandate for agricultural research in the broadest sense of the term (IER).

Scientific skills

i) A total staff of 7 specialists out of the 100 in IER handle fisheries research.

ii) Low resource allocation for the fisheries sector (78 percent of financial resources are earmarked for agricultural research, 21.8 percent to zoological and forestry research as against 0.18 percent for fisheries research).

iii) Budget allocation for fisheries research was 111.7 million in four years (1997-2000).

Case of Mauritania

Economic value of fisheries

i) 10 percent of the GDP, 29 percent of budget receipts and 50% of export receipts

Situation of fisheries research service providers

i) One main institution for fisheries research (Mauritanian Institute of Oceanographic Research and Fisheries (IMROP)) mandated to conduct fisheries research at national level.

ii) Other institutions like the university collaborating with IMROP for some fisheries research in the framework of student training.

Scientific skills

i) A large pool or researchers (31) from various disciplines (a dozen)

ii) A commensurate allocation of financial resources by the government. IMROP is almost entirely funded by the government

iii) A clearly substantial allocation of financial resources compared to other research sectors. (e.g. 140 million UM granted to IMROP in 2001 against 5 million to veterinary research whereas the cattle-rearing sector accounts for 18 percent of the GDP.

Sources: National reports, Maritania and Nigeria.

1 US$ = 740 FCFA; 1 US$ = 250 Naira

Private research or development institutions

This category of provider comprises several actors including:

(a) Non-governmental organizations (NGO); in this category are organizations such as the “Centre de Recherche pour le Développement de Technologies Intermédiaires de Pêche” (CREDRETIP), International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), “Environnement et Développement du Tiers Monde” (ENDA TM) and the “Association Sénégalaise travaillant sur la protection et conservation des ressources naturelles” (OCEANIUM), found in Senegal.

(b) Bilateral cooperation bodies (working through projects); this is the case with GTZ in Cameroon and Nigeria.

International institutions (e.g. IRD)

4.1.2 Scientific skills and type of services provided

The fisheries research service providers incorporate a varied range of scientific disciplines with numbers varying depending on the type and size of the institution. The table in Annex 3 gives an idea of the disciplines available within some public fisheries research institutions and highlights the great disparity between institutions, both in number of disciplines and number of research staff.

4.2 Aptitudes and skills in development research

The aptitude and skills of development research institutions varies greatly depending on the country (Table 2). In all cases there are both favourable and unfavourable factors:

The strong points or assets concern in particular:

(a) The existence of priority areas in fisheries research emerging from strategic research plans that were prepared following a multi-institutional, participatory approach (involving the users).

(b) The existence of frameworks (even informal) for dialogue between the research service providers, the technical ministerial departments and different categories of users. In Senegal there is FNRAA and the CNCPM, Nigeria, NCA and NACCIMA, Mali, CNRA, APCAM and the CRU; or the informal and periodic exchanges between research and technical ministerial departments in Guinea or Mauritania.

(c) The recent transformation of the status of some institutions into public scientific and technical establishments thus permitting greater efficiency in action and promoting the culture of enterprise. This is the situation observed in Senegal with ISRA/CEODT and in Mali with the IER.

The shortcomings on the other hand, pertain to:

(a) The absence of institutional mechanisms Research - Fisheries communities (professionals) - Policies

(b) Inappropriate status (PAE) of some research institutions, which has not permitted the fostering of development-based research (inflexibility in management, poor motivation of researchers to promote participatory approaches to development.)

(c) Inadequacy or even absence of mechanisms for the active participation of users in leading and directing research.

(d) Over-dependence of research institutions on external funding (at least 70 percent in some cases); which does not in some cases enable research to be directed towards concrete development concerns.

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