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6.1 Contribution of fisheries research to the SL of communities and to PIPs

An analysis of the results obtained demonstrate that fisheries research, despite low resource allocation from which it suffers in most counties, contributes directly to livelihoods of artisanal fishing communities. This contribution which has been enjoyed in all the countries which are part of this study is articulated through three main categories of services provided by fisheries research institutions.

Generation of diverse innovations and knowledge permitting the improvement of income and general living conditions in communities. The technologies generated cover several areas of community concern: rational exploitation and management of fisheries resources (fishing gear and other selective fishing techniques), processing and conservation of fish (low-energy, low-cost smoking techniques). Box 5 gives an example of the contribution of fisheries research to the improvement of the SLs of inland fishing communities.

Box 5: Example of contribution of fisheries research to policies and to the SLs of communities (Case of Mali)

Technologies and knowledge leading to the establishment of local rules on fisheries resources management (Local and regional fishing agreements in 5th region, in force since 1988):

i) Techniques and fishing gear in the Niger river and its tributaries.

ii) Fishing Observatory in the Inner delta of Niger.

Technologies leading to income enhancement of communities and their associations (co-operatives):

i) Techniques for fish farming in coastal waters.

ii) Pond fish farming techniques.

iii) «Chorkor»Oven-smoking of fish has given rise to an increase in the selling price of smoked fish (from 500 to 1 250 CFAF/Kg).

iv) Extraction and conservation techniques for «Tinéni» oil have led to improved product quality and longer length of conservation from two months to two years.

Various technologies and knowledge leading to political decisions on regulation and development:

i) Local and regional fishing agreements in the 5th region in 1987.

ii) Decree N°95-032/PRM and Application Decree.

iii) Master Plan for the development of fisheries and fish farming in Mali in 1997.

iv) Selingué Lake Fishing Agreement, currently being drafted.

Source: Mali national report
1US $ = 740 FCFA

As regards the generation of technologies in particular, a difference in areas of activity seems to be appearing between the public and private research institutions. In most cases, the private research institutions (the NGOs namely) invest more in research activities or research action linked to community livelihoods, whereas the public institutions are those also considering aspects of basic research which, despite their contribution to the SLs, require more time for implementation. Boxes 6 and 7 illustrate services offered by these two categories of institution.

(b) Links between fisheries management and improvement in SLs. Some believe that this is the main point of departure for research. The data presented in the six studies are insufficient to make an in-depth analysis of such an assumption here.

(c) Building technical capacities in the communities. This technical training is designed to permit better value to be derived from innovations developed. The commitment of fisheries research institutions to technical capacity building compensates for the low level of involvement by agricultural extension institutions in this field.

This notwithstanding, it should be noted that the role of fisheries research institutions in organizational and institutional capacity building in fishing communities is still marginal compared to other services provided.

Providing various advice (advisory-support) to communities for the selection of the best operating techniques and appropriate inputs.

Box 6: A public agricultural research institution: The Institute for Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) of Cameroon

Type and Mandate:

i) A public administrative establishment (PAE) with a national mandate for programming and implementation of research in diverse areas: agriculture, environment, agro-allied, agro-industrial, fisheries.

ii) Institution under the double supervision of the Ministry for Scientific and Technical Research and the Ministry of Economics and Finance (financial supervision).

Subjects broached in the area of fisheries (artisanal and industrial):

i) Resource evaluation
ii) Biology and dynamics of species harvested
iii) Development
iv) Conservation of balances in eco-systems
v) Socio-economics of fisheries
vi) Technology of fish processing
vii) Fish farming

Scientific staff (discipline): 07 researchers out of a total of 230 in the institute:

i) Biology: 03
ii) Socio-economics: 01
iii) Fish technology: 01
iv) Pollution: 01
v) Aquaculture: 01

Links with policies and communities (Users):

i) Absence of a formal framework (institutional platform research - policy - fishing professionals)

Capacities in development research:

i) A regional institution with centres and research stations covering the agro-ecological regions of the country.

ii) Some partnerships with the Ministries in charge of extension work and with some development organizations. (SOWEDA).

iii) Absence of an enabling environment for demand-driven research (poor motivation for developing the participatory approach).

Source: Cameroon national report

Box 7: A Non-governmental organization conducting Fisheries Research: CREDETIP - in Senegal

Type and mandate:

i) A sub-regional non-governmental organization (NGO) (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone) - institution with a mandate for research and development.

Subjects broached in the areas of fisheries (artisanal inland and inshore fishing):

i) Support for the development of exchange of artisanally processed goods in local and subregional markets.

ii) Promotion and utilization of efficient technologies.

iii) Diagnostics, institutional support, and research and development.

Personnel (discipline)

Economy and management: 01; Sociology: 01; Social services: 01.

Links with communities and policies:

i) Involvement in numerous exchange and decision processes in the field of fisheries: National Quay Management Committee, national consultations on fisheries.

ii) Preparation of themes (Bonga, Economy and Humanism, Samudra, Fisheries and Development, Galgui).

iii) Support for the emergence of professional fisheries organizations (CNPS).

Development research capacities:

i) Existence of an output-based incentive system for staff.

ii) Development of various partnerships with public research and funding institutions (CRODT, ITA.).

Source: Senegal national report

As regards PIPs in particular, it goes without saying that it is the field in which fisheries research has contributed most in the different countries, despite the slim resources often allocated to the sector.

Some research institutions like IMROP have even been established with a mandate to provide the supervisory Ministry facts to assist in decision-making. The example of the contribution of Fisheries Research to policies, institutions and processes is illustrated in Boxes 5 and 8 with the cases of Mali, Senegal and Nigeria.

Box 8: Examples of contribution of social sciences
Case of Nigeria: Contribution of socio-economic research to political decision-making

The provision of knowledge and technologies has assisted decision-making in the area of management and regulation of the exploitation of fisheries resources:

i) Recommendations made by the Nigerian Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR) for the use of a “3 inch. Mesh-Size” led to the drafting of regulations on inland fishing in 1983.

ii) Recommendations made by the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) on fishing zones taken into account during drafting of decrees on fisheries in 1992.

iii) The German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in collaboration with NIFFR was behind the review and signing of the law promulgating sustainable management fisheries resources of Lake Kainji in the States of Niger and Kebbi, and in other water bodies.

Case of Senegal: Contribution of socio-economic research

The generation of a critical mass of knowledge and technologies contributed to the SLs of communities and provided assistance in decision-making:

i) Knowledge about costs and revenues in artisanal fishing enabled the identification of factors impacting the profitability of investments in this subsector.

ii) Knowledge about shortcomings in the management of purse seiners and long liners.

iii) Information on constraints related to rational landings. This led to the preparation of marketing aid projects.

iv) Monographs on major distribution markets. This permitted the identification of key factors in product price formation and the socio-economic characterization of marketing officers.

v) Information on constraints hindering the development of the processing sectors.

vi) Bi-annual statistics from fishing units and fisheries-related infrastructures.

vii) Information on cephalopod based fisheries. This led to the establishment of a data bank on major macroeconomic aggregates dating back to the origins of this type of fishing in Senegal.

viii) Information on macroeconomic policies. This informed decision-making regarding increased government support to the fisheries sector.

Source: Nigeria national report and Senegal national report

In all the participating countries, fisheries research played a role by contributing technologies and information necessary to enable politicians to take decisions in matters pertaining to the regulation of the exploitation and management of the resource and the fisheries. This has often been reflected in concrete terms by the passing of laws, decrees or various texts and also through clarifications given during negotiations of fishing agreements.

6.2 Particular contribution of social sciences

The scientific disciplines, which are grouped under social sciences, are, for example, sociology, economy, anthropology, law, political and institutional analysis. Each of these disciplines has potential influence on decision-making in the area of fisheries management and/or livelihoods improvement. But the capacities in social sciences of research institutions in the countries studied are generally limited.

The importance of social sciences (taken in the widest sense of the term considering all socio-economic aspects) in fisheries research institutions varies depending on the country. This variability takes into account situations in which social sciences seem to play a background role (as is the case of Cameroon), and situations where, despite relative marginalization, the social sciences make a valuable contribution to the research mechanism (this is the case for Senegal).

Generally speaking, and whatever the situation, social sciences have gathered an enormous amount of information on wide range of areas: fishery production systems, statistics, product marketing, product processing. These achievements have not only led to direct improvement in the living conditions of the communities, but have also contributed to decision-making at the policy formulation level.

An illustration of the contributions of social sciences is found in Box 8 with the cases of Nigeria and Senegal.

6.3 Links between Fishery Research (FR) and the needs of artisanal fishing communities: partnership between fisheries research and artisanal fishing communities

In the framework of this study, some examples of partnership between research and the fishing communities have been analyzed. From the point of view of procedure, such partnerships are generally built around an expressed “request” from the users and on the basis of which organization is put in place by the research institution with a view to providing an appropriate response.

In the framework of this study, the few partnership cases analysed (see details in Annex 4) give rise to the following:

(a) The “requests” or needs, basis of partnerships often come through intermediary organizations represented by projects or development societies (case for example of SOWEDA in Cameroon, OPM in Mali or PNBA in Mauritania) NGOs (case of SAILD in Cameroon, OCEANIUM and UICN in Senegal), or even research institutes. This situation encountered in most countries partially indicates the low capacities of professional fisheries organizations to clearly formulate a request and to contract services.

(b) Some partnerships have been built on the basis of clearly expressed “demands” of the users. This is the case of Mali with the RCU on “Tinéni” oil extraction and conservation techniques in Nigeria in collaboration with NIFFR - communities for the development of low-energy technologies for smoking and drying of fish, and from Senegal with the collaboration of CREDETIP - CNPS for the development of the «mutualist» system, the partnership CNCR-MANOBI for the establishment of information systems on markets. These partnerships illustrate situations where the communities through their professional organizations possess a real capacity to analyse their environment, production and negotiation with a view to contractualization of services. Box 9 illustrates the concrete examples of this type of partnership in Nigeria and Senegal.

(c) But in most cases, there are very few direct partnerships Research - Communities in the fisheries sector. This situation (experienced in some countries like Guinea) reflects the existence of negative factors, inter alia:

i) The low capacities observed within professional fisheries organizations, more especially, at the grassroots level. More often than not this is due to inadequate organizational, institutional, strategic capacities (ability to analyse and develop a vision for the future), and for negotiation with other partners. This was all exacerbated in many countries by the extremely high rate of illiteracy within the artisanal fishing communities.

ii) The absence or inadequacy of national development research policy. This situation observed in the area of fisheries appears somewhat paradoxical in some countries like Guinea where “Demand driven research” is already in full swing at the level of agricultural research. (This is case with numerous partnerships and service contracts between the Institute for Agronomic Research in Guinea (IRAG) and professional organizations of producers such as the Federation of Fouta Djallon Farmers (FFDF) or the National Federation of Coffee Planters of Guinea (NFCPG).

iii) The inadequacy and, in some cases even absence, of formal mechanisms by which fishing communities ensure management of research activities.

iv) The absence of appropriate mechanisms for the dissemination of fisheries research results: extension mechanisms often absent in the area; traditional extension structures taking little account of the concerns of the fishing sector; perception on the fact that it is extension work that is to assure linkages with the users. To this should be added human resource constraints at the research level.

Box 9: Examples of partnership Research - Fishing Communities

Case of Nigeria: Partnership between NIFFR and the fishing communities along the Kainji and Jebba Lakes for the introduction of solar dryers and ovens for smoking fish.

Relevance of the operation

i) A request from fishing communities.

ii) The request constitutes a real concern of communities confronted by the degradation of forestry resources, and the reduction in the availability of firewood.

Relevance of the approach

i) A participatory approach was used at all stages of the process.

ii) The research institute (NIFFR) played the role of an observer and a support role, thus giving the communities the precedence.

Impacts and sustainability

i) The partnership led to the development (adaptation) of technologies for cheaper processing with much lower consumption of firewood.

ii) The appropriation of the results of the partnership by the communities constitutes a sign that it can be replicated in other contexts (especially in the Sahel) where the problem of availability of firewood is acute.

Case of Senegal: Partnership between the CREDETIP, CNPS and the CMS for the development of “mutualism” to the benefit of the CNPS

Relevance of the operation

i) The request comes from a well organized, well-structured professional organization.

ii) The request reflects a need felt by the members of the CNPS for funding of their fishing activities.

Relevance of the approach

i) The requesting professional organization has played an active role in the process of this research i.e. action, providing training and sensitisation for GIEs.

ii) Other actors (CREDETIP, CMS) have played a support role, namely, as regards IEC (Information, Education and Communication), and dissemination of results of the research-action.

Impacts and sustainability

The results of the partnership have led to autonomy of the CNPS in the crucial area of funding its fishing activities.

The operation is sustainable because it is based on a priority need of the profession. It can be repeated in contexts where professional organizations possess real capacities for organizing and mobilising its members.

Sources: Nigeria national report and Senegal national report

6.4 Factors influencing the contribution of fisheries research to the SLs of communities, and policies

Despite the performances recorded in most countries in the study, fisheries research still encounters enormous difficulties limiting its contribution to the improvement of livelihoods of fishing communities and to policies.

Although the nature and the importance of these limiting factors vary from one country to another, the general analysis reveals the following:

(a) Factors relating to institutions and policies. These have been identified as being the most important and include, inter alia:

i) The absence or inadequacy of sustainable funding mechanisms for research institutes. The excessive dependence of institutions on external funding diminishes the Institution’s ability to act and also affects the focus of some research enterprises (often far removed from the real concerns of the communities).

ii) In many countries fisheries research institutes are given a low level of priority. This leads to infrastructural, human resource, material and financial inadequacies which affect the responsiveness of research institutes to requests from the artisanal fishing communities.

iii) In some cases, the inappropriateness of the constitutions of fisheries research institutes vis-à-vis concerns about development-focused research. Provisions under the PAE do not permit the encouragement of an entrepreneurial approach nor ensure flexibility in management. This constitutes a serious limitation for some fisheries research institutes.

iv) The inconsistency of some policies, namely those relating to fishing agreements. This sometimes favours further over-capacities in fisheries, the dysfunctionality of the system of inter-fisheries management (spatial competition between artisanal and industrial fishing), breakdown of the marketing mechanism.

v) The low-level, even absence, of development of linkage mechanisms between Research, Communities, and Policies.

vi) The institutional instabilities observed within some research institutes weaken their organization and makes the establishment of a coherent research policy impossible.

vii) Absence of specific relay structures with a mandate to promote the exploitation of fisheries research results for the benefit of fishing communities.

(b) Organizational problems within communities

This concern, found in almost all countries, does not facilitate the adoption of development-focused research.

Similarly, and following the disengagement of the government from certain functions, the inability of professional fishing organizations to manage issues of funding, supply of factors of production, marketing of products, does not aid in the development of technologies developed by research.

Another important reason for the ineffective direct partnerships between Research and Fishing Communities is also due to the poor organizational capacity of the latter.

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